As entrepreneurs and business owners look back on 2021, many may be excited to leave the challenges, transitions and unpredictability of the year in the past. Over the past two years, the challenges and obstacles placed on small businesses have been numerous and diverse. From implementing policies to follow quarantine and social distancing guidelines to emphasizing a digital marketplace, small business owners have continued to demonstrate their adaptability and strength amid an ongoing worldwide disaster. Much like personal New Years’ resolutions, BBB recommends business owners take the time to craft and strategize a few New Years’ resolutions focused on their continued professional success. To form these resolutions, business owners must look back at the previous year and pinpoint elements within their business structure that they may need to focus on. These elements may be external, such as marketing, or internal, such as obtaining additional employees, which will position the business to make the most of 2022.
Better Business Bureau provides the following ten business New Years' resolutions that you may want to consider for a successful 2022.
Increase your online presence. Help attract new customers and build brand loyalty by strengthening your digital footprint in 2022. Now is the time to audit your website and social media pages to ensure user-friendliness and accuracy. Take the time to determine if there are new services your business offers that have not been listed on your website or take advantage of online appointment systems that many social media platforms provide. By establishing a stronger foothold online, customers will be able to engage and purchase from you directly without ever walking into your store.
Maximize your agility. Small businesses have a distinct advantage over large corporations by adapting quickly in an unpredictable climate. A small business owner can make business decisions immediately that may take weeks or months of meetings for a larger entity. Be flexible and open to shifting your business's focus, maximizing the agility of your business to respond to an evolving environment. Use 2021 as a learning experience and start planning for different scenarios based on your business and customer’s needs.
Engage with customers. Bolster your customer service skills. Communicate with existing customers by emailing them business updates, promotions and sales. Ensure that you're responding to customer inquiries and comments on social media in a timely fashion and seek out user-generated content that you can share on your social media page. Keep in mind that most consumers expect a quick response when communicating with a business online; 79% of customers expect an online response within 24 hours.
Embrace technology. Consumer expectations continue to evolve in response to the coronavirus pandemic with a greater demand for speed, convenience, transparency and customer service. Embracing technology and making it easier for customers to communicate with you online can help build trust and lead to more business. Take the time to research new technologies or programs that would benefit your business, both internally (a project management system) or externally (digital appointments or consultations).
Reduce costs. Save money wherever you can do so without compromising quality. Roughly one-third of small businesses fail because the owner runs out of money and encounters a required cost they can no longer afford. 2022 could be a great time to reduce overhead, develop a reasonable budget, and go green to cut costs. Visit BBB.org for seven ways your business can reduce costs heading into the new year.
Foster a positive workplace culture. A strong and thriving workplace culture is essential for maintaining employee satisfaction and high performance. With many employees working remotely, doubling down on company values, transparency and communication with team members are three key ingredients to help keep the workplace positive. Consider some strategies that you can implement to help new employees working remotely meet their coworkers outside of their official work duties.
Leverage customer reviews. Reputation can mean everything, especially for a small business owner trying to attract and retain customers. You want to tell customers that your business is trustworthy, ethical, and transparent – and what better way to illustrate that story than through online customer reviews. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on BBB.org or other platforms by offering discounts, rebates or branded merchandise. Often, just asking for a review is all that is needed.
Exercise transparency. Operating with transparency builds relationships that turn curious browsers into buyers and buyers into raving fans. Always be transparent, from admitting missteps and correcting them to inviting your customers to engage with you online and through social media. Authentic interaction with your clients goes a long way to building customer trust.
Invest in the community. By giving back or helping your neighbors, you can build relationships and show that your company takes pride in the community. Consider volunteering in 2022 and getting more involved in your area or sponsoring a community event. These are great ways to strengthen your company's reputation among the local population and generate leads to other opportunities. Share moments on social media, and don't be shy about how your brand is committed to helping make a difference.
Establish Trust. Customer trust can mean everything for an online business. With the internet flooded with information about every product or service, buyers can effectively make a purchase decision with just a few clicks. Finding a way to establish a foothold in a competitive market can be the biggest challenge for many small businesses. Giving your business a step up over the competition is always something to desire, and aiming for BBB Accreditation is a valuable way to do this. Accreditation requires the utmost trustworthiness, customer respect, and integrity, which can help your business stand out.
The BBB Standards for Trust remain at the core for BBB and its partners, and the current marketplace presents an ideal opportunity for online retailers to elevate their brand, build trust, and commit to excellence.
For more information about BBB and its Standard for Trust, visit BBB.org/Standards-For-Trust.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico.