The coronavirus brought about staggering challenges not just on the personal level in 2020 but for businesses as well. Businesses around the world and in all industries had to weather a tremendous crisis, and now that we’re in 2021, the pandemic isn’t over but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
For many businesses, on the heels of the release of several vaccines, it may be time to start looking forward and thinking about building or perhaps rebuilding a stronger and more efficient business in 2021.
If that’s true for you, consider the following tips and strategies to put into practice this year.
Automation and similar terms like AI can be intimidating, particularly if you’re heading up a small business, but they shouldn’t be.
The reality is that automation, like paperless and touchless AP platforms, can create a business that is more efficient and less prone to errors. When you start relying more on automation, you’re developing a scalable foundation for your business, so you can easily grow because you have the best tools and processes in place.
Revisit Your Goals (Or Set Them)
The coronavirus pandemic left many people rethinking things personally and professionally.
You may have had to restructure the way you do business, which could have included laying off employees and perhaps cutting out certain service areas.
Now, as we’re in a new year and you’re looking forward, you might need to revisit your business goals and update them if necessary. You want to get everyone on the same page and realigned as far as what your business looks like currently, which could be much different than what you thought you’d be facing this year.
You might need to rethink not just strategic goals but more specific goals as well, such as your fiscal goals.
It could be that you actually identified new sources of revenue or innovative ways to be more competitive because of coronavirus, so start implementing these things into your business in a more specific way as you realign or reset your goals and objectives.
The more you can drill down and be granular in your goals this year, the better.
Take Feedback Seriously
There is no way that you can operate a successful business if you’re not taking customer feedback seriously and integrating it into nearly everything you do.
As part of your goals to have a stronger and more efficient business, look at ways to gather, assess and incorporate customer feedback.
Business owners will spend time and money trying to figure out what customers want and what they could do better when really the best information is free and readily available to them in the form of customer feedback.
Tailor your business to the feedback you receive.
Along with providing generally better service, customer feedback can help you stay innovative because you can get a feel for what demand is and how you can better serve your customers. You want to be a problem solver, but knowing how to do that is tough if you don’t actually have a clear idea of what the problems really are.
Learn to Embrace Change
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you can never fully prepare for the unexpected, but what you can do is stop fearing change and embrace it instead.
Change is going to happen, no matter how you feel about it or deal with it, so you should learn to accept that.
Having an agile business will allow you to be better equipped to deal with change.
In order to be agile, take time each quarter to go over what you’ve achieved, what your goals are, and what changes you need to make to meet those goals.
Revisit Your Audience
The best way to be efficient with your time and money and effectively grow your business is to know your audience inside and out and market to them specifically.
Data and analytics facilitate a deeper understanding of your audience than you might have ever had access to before, so take advantage.
When you know your audience, you can streamline your marketing to those people, and that means you’re maximizing your budget. You can identify those segments that present the most opportunity for growth, and you can go to where they’re most likely to be.
You’re also able to be more innovative and create new products and services that appeal to your audience.
When you have a clear idea of who your audience is and how to reach them, you can focus on maintaining loyalty, which is cheaper and more efficient than always trying to get new customers.
Stop Doing Things That Aren’t Working
This sounds simple, but you may not even realize how much time and resources you’re putting toward things that aren’t working. You may not have done an audit on many of these strategies in years, and if you’re on autopilot, you’re not efficient.
For example, are you spending money advertising in places where you’re getting no return?
Are you continuing to work on building your Facebook presence even though your targeted audience isn’t spending as much time there?
Don’t do things just because—do everything with intention in your business.
Strengthen Your Team
Finally, make 2021 the year you build and strengthen your team of employees. Make sure that you have the best possible people with you, and nurture them because they are your biggest investment.
Identify skills gaps and training issues and remedy them.
Don’t let weak employees take down your growth this year, and be selective in who you hire.
It’s better to have a few great employees and low turnover than to have a lot of mediocre employees.
Then, if there’s another crisis situation that hits, you have a team that’s lean and efficient and ready to tackle it, so you don’t have to think as much about laying off weaker employees.
We’re all reeling from a tough 2020, but make it a priority to build or rebuild your business this year with a fresh perspective.
Interesting Related Article: “Industrial Process Automation: A Game Changer for Industry 4.0“