This last year continued to be a challenging year for many businesses and business owners. While we certainly hope and are cautiously optimistic that 2022 will be a better year, there are some proactive steps we can take to try to better ourselves and our businesses. Here are five steps you can take to make 2022 your year to shine.
- Reduce wasted time
One of the major changes with the shift to remote work was more time spent in meetings, and this is an opportunity to figure out whether all of the extra meetings are actually serving a purpose. Look at your calendar and see where you can trust and delegate and what meetings can be removed altogether. To learn more about which meetings are valuable, solicit feedback about the quality of the meetings and whether they’re the best use of time. Send out anonymous surveys about some of the recurring slots on your calendar and ask other participants whether they gained anything from the meeting, how useful the meetings are at accomplishing the intended results, what changes they would make and if there is a better vehicle for communication.
- Figure out what should be outsourced
Small business owners and leaders end up wearing many different hats. Along the lines of step 1, see where you could be better spending your time. If you’re spending a majority of your time handling HR issues instead of providing client service or new business sales, you might be hurting your business more than you’re helping it. Think about what you’re currently spending time on that can be easily or readily outsourced and decide what is the best use of your time.
- Get serious about strategy
If you don’t have an actual or recently reviewed business plan, marketing strategy, sales strategy or company purpose then you need to take steps to get those refreshed or completed before you get too far into the year. You have ambition, but strategy will give you focus, help you make informed decisions and make you a better leader.
- Identify ways you can improve service
Look at what your biggest gaps are in the service you provide and identify solutions for improving your customer experience. Making small investments into service can be one of the biggest enhancements you can make to your business and its viability. Customer satisfaction leads to customer retention, and improving customer retention by just 5% can improve profits by 25%-95%. When you provide great customer service you’re also more likely to get new customers through referrals, so an investment in good service provides an excellent ROI.
- Measure success
It is easy to forget about your resolutions and goals if you don’t keep them top of mind. Identify what success looks like for each resolution and then come up with a method to check in with yourself on progress. That could look like finding another small business owner to act as your accountability partner or blocking out time on your calendar at the beginning of every month to reflect on progress and what needs to be done.
Whatever your resolutions are for this next year, I hope that 2022 can be the year for all businesses to grow and thrive.