Updated: Jun 24
For small business owners everywhere, 2020 was the year of tumultuous and trying turbulence. Significant stressors, catastrophic challenges, and un-ending upheavals plagued small businesses - and the people dedicated to their survival - for ten relentless months. Yet, with a year of panicked pivots behind us, we look to 2021 with a tremendous promise: continued reinvention and substantial growth.
With brighter days for businesses ahead, it’s time to consider the essential checklist your small business can leverage for a healthy, happy, fruitful new year. So let’s take a closer look at the 7-step essential checklist to growing your business in 2021.
1. Set Actionable and Specific Goals
Goal setting is a powerful strategy with documented success - but many business owners struggle with dedicating themselves to the regular practice of identifying and executing. Moreover, following a year of tremendous shifts, it can be daunting to set anything ‘in stone.’ Yet, if possible, setting both short-term and long-term business goals is more crucial today than ever before. It may invigorate internal teams, boost morale, encourage a rhythm, and work towards steering your small business successfully.
Before setting goals, consider a SWOT analysis to review business operations: identifying positives and negatives to highlight, eradicate, and work towards in the new year. SWOT stands for: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths could be loyal customers, dedicated employees, or competitive pricing. Weaknesses could be high turnover rates or lower profits. By identifying weaknesses, strengths, opportunities, and threats, you and your internal team can have a clear-cut path to actionable, specific goals.
Consider setting short, medium, and long-term goals. If 2020 taught us anything, things undoubtedly can and will change - and we need to be prepared. The days of long-term goals or bust are over. Fast-tracking short-term and attainable goals can keep internal teams motivated with early wins and sets your business up for more measurable successes.
Use shared goals to encourage collaboration - by setting departmental or team-level goals. Allowing internal teams to put them collectively rather than handing them specific action items may differ between a new team and a burnt-out team.
Be as specific as possible. Get into the nitty-gritty and granular details - down to percentages, dollar amounts, and dedicated time needed - and consider breaking down by quarter.
2. Take Time to Consider Key Trends
We may not be heartbroken to see 2020 go, but its hard-learned lessons won’t be forgotten any time soon: most pointing towards critical learnings and key trends for businesses in 2021. The ramifications of such a year will be felt well into this year and beyond, so it’s crucial to consider them when preparing for a fruitful 21. So let’s take a look at some pandemic-driven shifts that can be a permanent change for better business.
Customer connection has gone digital. From so