Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, there has been a massive change in the workplace. As many big businesses shut their doors, employees got bored on furlough, and the discovery of working from home became the new normal, things changed a lot. One thing that changed massively was the number of small businesses that appeared.
Not only did these businesses find their feet in a time of global uncertainty, they are still thriving today. If you are one of these businesses, you might wonder what the next steps are and if you can grow your business even more next year. We have some ideas that will help you take your business to the next level.
If your business is growing, you might have discovered that you are having to take care of a lot of busy work that is preventing you from actually running your business. There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s life when they need to hand off some of the jobs to a member of staff. However, you don’t need to hire a huge team.
Even hiring a personal assistant, or even a virtual receptionist service, to take care of the emails and admin tasks can help to lighten your load. If you can get someone that you trust, such as a parent or your spouse to help you out with these tasks, great. If not, you might need to look into hiring a virtual assistant to help you out. As your business grows, you might need to hire more people but outsourcing some of the tasks might help you get moving in the right direction.
How much of the legal system do you actually understand? Probably not as much as you would like to. It is possible to learn the basics of legal research in three steps that can help you run your business more efficiently. You might not think that you need to know this stuff, but there will come a time when it comes in handy.
For example, if you end up in a small dispute over payments, with some basic legal knowledge, you can back up your own case before it goes too far. If you end up needing a legal team (for good reasons or for bad ones) you can also use this knowledge to help you when you are choosing the people that you would like to represent your company.
Get ready to adapt
This might not seem like a big one but it is a necessary one. When you started out, you might have had no idea what you were doing. As time as gone on and your have managed to stay afloat, people have noticed how well you are doing and have started offering advice. Ask yourself this, when the advice was given, how did it feel? If you felt some resistance to what they were saying, even though it was good advice, you might need to work on your mindset.
One of the things that a lot of big business owners talk about is having the right mindset when it comes to business. This is the thing that they are talking about. It is listening to the advice that others are giving you with an open mind. Even if they are giving horrible advice, listen anyway because it might start a spark of creativity. However, good advice, the stuff that you should be listening to is worth its weight in gold. There is a good chance that you will listen, feel that resistance, choose not to follow it, and then find your business is stalling for years until you finally do the thing.
Business banking is about more than having a fancy card for your business expenses, it is the bedrock of your company. If you don’t have a business account, you should consider getting one. Not only does it make balancing the books a lot easier, it can also help you feel more confident about your business. However, if you discover that your business is doing well, you might need to get an accountant in to take a look at things.
This does not need to be a real person as there are plenty of apps available that can help you balance things out. Keeping business accounts in order might not seem like a big deal in the early days but having them in order can help you out in the long run. For example, if you need to remortgage your home, having your business account in order will help to make a stronger case for you and can help with your interest rates.
When you started your business, there is a good chance that you needed an address to put down as your business address. There is a good chance that you decided to use your home address. And, while this was ok a year ago, now the world is opening up and your business is getting bigger, you might need to change it to somewhere else. This might not seem that important but your home address being associated with a business is a big deal.
For a start, if you have registered your company as a Limited Company, your business address will be listed online for everyone to see. That is not a great idea. If you don’t want to hire out a building or office for the sake of a business address, there are other options. It is possible to hire a mailbox address or a virtual address so that you don’t have to list your home address.
Research your competition
For the last few months, you probably haven’t thought about the competition and the people that you are up against. While it might be nice not to care, if you want to compete, you need to ensure that you know what they are doing. This does not mean that you have to spy on them and mold your own operation into a carbon copy of theirs. It is just helpful to know what they are doing. For example, if they have a signature line, there is no point in trying to copy their line. However, you can create your own signature line that is nothing like theirs.
Sometimes the best knowledge that you can have about a business is what they are doing so that you know to do the opposite. People come to your business because of you and your products. If they wanted the other businesses products, they would shop there rather than buy your interpretation of what they are doing. Knowledge is power, and wisdom can take you a long way.
This has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years but there are not many people who can explain what it really means. In the simplest terms, it means that you should focus your company in one area. For example, if you have an online store, make sure that you have a clear focus. As fun as it might be to sell a little bit of everything, it can be confusing to customers to see lightbulbs being sold next to underpants.
We are not saying that you cannot sell lightbulbs or underpants, but it should be one or the other. If you do end up selling both, they had better have a clear connection with each other. Pick the area that you would like to focus on. Examples that you can use are Ann Summers, who sell underwear and related bedroom items; Halfords, who sell accessories for cars and bikes that don’t require a mechanic to fit them; or KFC, who only sell chicken in their signature batter.
Focus on training
The training that you do as a business owner is essential to the success of your business. The type of training that you get is up to you. You might decide to start out with some simple small courses that are run by people within your industry. These types of training courses are considered industry training and can be very helpful. However, there are plenty of other opportunities, including higher education diplomas such as an accounting degree online for instance.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of going for training in case they fail it. But, the important thing to remember is that this training is for you. It doesn’t matter if you fail it, the important thing is that you can get some information from it that will grow your business. Would it be easier for you if you passed every training session and course, absolutely. But, there is value in attending and listening to what is being said.
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways that you can elevate your small business. Some of these ideas will help you move in the right direction, while others could have you kicking off into outer space with potential. Choose wisely, act accordingly, and make good decisions. We hope that 2022 is as successful for your small business as the last two years have been.