Small businesses that made it through 2021 need to plan for the coming year. Now’s the time to prepare for a successful 2022.
What can I do to prepare my business for 2022?
If 2020 and 2021 taught business owners anything, it was businesses need to be flexible. However, no matter what circumstances 2022 brings, the best thing you can do to prepare your business is to set business goals to keep moving forward.
To set business goals, you first need to determine what you want to accomplish or achieve. While every business wants to make money or sell more products or services, try to set your sights on more specific achievements. Perhaps you want to break into a new market, launch a new product, or increase sales by a certain percentage. Even if you’re only looking to sell more, or make more money, set numbers that are achievable.
Once you have some concrete goals, set target metrics you can reach each month or quarter. Setting metrics will give you a way to measure how successful you are at meeting your goals. If you find yourself falling short, readjust as needed each month or quarter. Regularly tracking metrics makes it possible to establish deadlines for milestones and achievements, while also providing a layer of accountability.
Finally, make a plan to meet with your team regularly to assess your progress. You may want to include these goals as part of your employee evaluation. It can be helpful to work with your employees to make adjustments along the way. You may find changes are needed to the goals themselves, or to specific strategies.
What lessons from 2021 should inform my business practices in 2022?
Your business needs to reflect on the lessons learned over the last year. While many insights will undoubtedly come from your actions navigating through the pandemic, others are likely to emerge from more recent day-to-day operations.
One important lesson businesses learned in 2021 is you can’t wait around for the perfect time to launch a new product or post a job opening. You have to take decisive action when opportunities arise. The businesses that took smart chances during 2020 and 2021, even during the height of the pandemic, are many of the businesses that succeeded. Knowing when and how to pivot is critical.
Last year also highlighted the importance of digital business to overall growth. If your business has been slow to embrace digital, now’s the time to make it happen. A strong digital presence may prove essential as consumers and clients have come to expect digital, virtual and remote services when possible.
Lastly, we all saw just how quickly personal and commercial economics can be upended. You may want to collect on past due accounts as soon as possible. Preparing a collection letter and Statement of Account to send to clients behind on their accounts can help keep money flowing.
Will 2022 be a good year for business growth or expansion?
Economists expect to see strong growth in 2022 for the businesses that made it through the pandemic. Demand for products and services is on the rise, and some companies are having a hard time keeping up with demand. Thankfully, people are ready to get back to work, the labor market is improving, and businesses are making the return to work appealing.
That said, supply chain issues and global inflation may stifle growth for some businesses as they head into 2022. To move forward and prepare, businesses dealing with these issues need to have a strategy.
How do I measure success and improve business operations in the midst of historic change?
To be successful in 2022, small businesses will need to learn to adapt. Though the business world is poised for growth, growth may not look the same as it did pre-pandemic. It’s vital you stay flexible and alert to changing market and growth trends.
Some metrics you’ll want to track include:
Cash flow remains an important metric to track. Positive cash flow is a good indicator a small business is growing.
Are your invoices getting paid on time? This metric can help you determine the health of your business and the resilience of your customer base.
The businesses that made it through the pandemic successfully are the ones who listened to their customers. Learn to measure customer satisfaction through referrals, retention rates, testimonials and surveys. Don’t forget to track these metrics and continually adjust to improve customer satisfaction.
How well are your people working for you? Do they follow your employee handbook? A crew that does what you expect, and does it well, is a sign of a strong business. Consider using employee reviews to help you stay in communication with your employees.
Flexibility and creativity are going to be key tenets as you improve business operations. Some small businesses are finding they need to combine efforts as they move forward in a new business climate. Joint venture agreements and co-marketing agreements may help small businesses navigate the new normal in the days ahead.
As you prepare your business for 2022, remember the pandemic is ongoing. You may need to pivot as the world around you changes. Make sure you have an emergency action plan in place and communicate it to your team. If you need to shift to remote work suddenly or take other drastic measures, an emergency action plan may be indispensable.
The upcoming year may bring unexpected challenges. If you have legal questions about your rights and obligations as a business owner, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable legal advice.