The year 2020 left us with some shocking details to ponder regarding business. Knowledge is power, and this year we need to use the lessons from 2020 and know the changes being made to business administration. This can be in the form of minor restructurings, new customers, tax filing, and so much more.
photo credit: Artem Podrez / Pexels
Read on to find out how small businesses can come out ahead in 2021.
Your Sales Tax Filing
This is important. We can’t structure you here for the changes in 2021. Each business is unique on a normal year, but even more so for this tax year. If you’ve always used an online filing system, then make this year the time you use a business CPA.
The government is slow going. Can you imagine how long you’d have to wait to rectify a mistake this year? On the bright side, you may find more money or sales tax filing breaks that an automated system won’t find.
Be Okay with Change
Be okay with change. There’s a cliché’ saying that there’s nothing constant except change. COVID has left us in a whirlwind of change and has forced small business to do things differently or close. Unfortunately, depending on the nature of your business, you may not have had the chance to do anything at all. We have great faith in our small business owners, and we know you’ll come back with better knowledge and flexibility.
No New Routines Yet
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that things are still amid change. If you settle into a new routine, make certain of what it’s costing you. Do what you can do that won’t be permanent. Health and safety protocol can be an expense, but now would be a great time to scope out other businesses like yours to see what they’re doing to keep their business with patronage.
Poll Your Customers
Think about it. Where is everyone finding their connection? Online. Wherever you can reach out to your customers better than ever before? Now. Poll your customers! Ask them questions. Find out what they want you to do that makes them feel safe to come in? What’s keeping them out of your business.
If you’re an online only business, you can find out what’s keeping them from spending? What do they wish you were doing and what’s your competition doing?
For any style of business, you can go into 2021 and create a whole new marketing research scheme. Your customers are the best source of information to show you what you need to do now and in the future.
Just remember that you must stay within your budget, but your business plan will need to shift a bit for this. For some, it’s more drastic than others, but you can do this with concentration and organization.
Don’t Overload Yourself
The key to dealing with change is to start off in the experimental stage, and that’s small. Trial and error is the key to doing things that don’t wreak havoc with your budget in case there’s failure and a need to adjust. Be okay with supposed failure, too. There’s no such thing, even though it may feel that way. You can’t fail if you’re in motion.
If you have a service that you can teach or show as a visual, do this for people online. For instance, a yoga teacher doesn’t have to teach yoga in person. There are plenty of instructors already online. Just bring what you offer and be different. Remember, they do not saturate online services.
Even if they are, taking a winning mindset to it and learning how to beat that challenge is the key. Remember, you can bring chips to the party, just bring a distinct flavor. Everyone has a tribe and if there are a million other businesses doing what you do online, you have something special to give.
This is a great time to gain more confidence. You can take this time to stand out to your customers. It would surprise you how great things turn out when you’re under pressure.
If you have an email list and a social media channel, it’s now more acceptable to communicate more. Your customers like to feel connected to the outside world. Let them know the changes you’re making and show them in any way you can. Keep them engaged. Give them tips about what they can do to make life easier and more fun. Information that’s not related to your business is of value to them. It’s more likely that they’ll come out and patronize your business.
Remember, think outside of the realm of your business and trying to get people to come in. Think of yourself as part of your community. You are a community leader because you have a business. Act like it.
Some businesses will dominate one channel of communication and neglect others. More people are searching online for what you have to offer, and since everyone is online right now, they all have favorite channels. Going forward, you’ll do better to update all channels that your business is on.
Use this time to expand your online presence
If you only use one channel or aren’t on any, then use this time to expand. Add yourself to more channels or start a page. Google what type of social media is best for your business for 2021. Don’t use old information. Business blogs like Forbes and other reputable news channels can tell you what to use according to your business type.
Use Contact Grouping
What’s that? It’s simple. Each contact you make, whether old or new, is a unique contact. Each time you get a contact, respond in a timely manner and group that contact by type. The customer typing forms by the need of the client or customer.
This is something you may have already been doing. In 2021, this is a bit different in how it’s up to the business owner to keep their customers feeling like they mean something to you. There’s a lot of competition, but remember what we said? What flavor chip are you bringing to the party? COVID isn’t the only thing that will close a business. It’s the way the customers are being treated.
Bottom line If your competition is doing better at engaging the customers when people are picky about who they patronize, then you’ve got to step into action! People are tired of being restricted, but they also care about their health. Is patronizing your business worth the risk? Make it so it’s in your hands.
Stay safe, get organized, be okay with change and employ the professionals when needed and you’ll be ahead of the game.