How to Keep Your Small Business Thriving Through 2022
Small businesses are facing a lot of challenges these days. A sobering statistic reveals that only 55% of businesses are still around five years after opening, and that statistic drops to 30% after 10 years. Entrepreneurs usually don’t set out with the goal of capping out at less than a decade in business, so what can small business owners do to prevent closing their doors after all their hard work? Here are some ways to keep your business thriving far beyond the typical 10 to 15 years – a point when many businesses close their doors.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Due to the pandemic, many of us are burnt out and business owners are doubly so. Busy work, manual reports, incessant meetings, or zoom calls – all of it exhausts your most valuable resource: you! Wherever possible, analyze the workflows you and your employees use within your small business to find areas where processes can be improved, automated, or even eliminated if you find redundancy. You’re in the business world on your terms, sorting out how to work efficiently and enjoy life. Don’t go down the road of corporate companies that applaud exhaustion and hyper-productivity!
Even if you’re willing to take on every aspect of your business, it’s important to recognize when tasks are outside of your wheelhouse. Too often, small business owners shoulder the majority of the workload to save money. Why pay someone to do something when you can do it yourself, right? Unfortunately, no. You can DIY tasks to a certain extent, but if your knowledge surrounding digital marketing, sales, or human resource management is limited, don’t let your business suffer while you constantly Google “how to run a small business.”
Many potential employees have previously started their businesses or gone to school to fill these important positions, and their expertise will save you countless hours and possibly money! Acknowledge that you can’t do it all, and hire for new or additional positions that are either full-time, part-time, or as contracted consultants depending on your budget. Don’t be afraid to seek out supplemental funds such as a business line of credit to get the people you need on board!
Your small business will not last long if it’s out of touch with current technology or you don’t stay apprised of what competitors are doing. Keep your website up-to-date and optimize it to give your visitors the best experience possible. If a site isn’t user-friendly, your bounce rate will turn away customers or clients that would otherwise have made a purchase or subscribed to your service.
Keeping tabs on your competitors is a great way to increase your sales. By identifying their current practices, you can either emulate their success or learn from their mistakes. Remember, your competitor isn’t just someone locally, it can be another small business across the country that’s reaching the same communities you currently exist in. Make sure you’re thorough in your competitor analysis to identify all potential competitors!
Market and Advertise Your Services
Marketing and advertising have been around for a very long time, but too often, small businesses still think they’ll attract customers purely because they exist. It’s not enough to have a social media presence or a website tied to your company. Now, it’s important to have a thorough knowledge of inbound and outbound marketing to reach and engage your target audiences. If you aren’t comfortable with starting ad campaigns, and just glancing over Google ads or SEO keywords overwhelms you, looking into platforms or services that do the work for you might be a good course of action.
It’s important to keep your business from becoming an island as you seek to measure up or surpass the competition. By increasing your involvement in the community and within local or even national business associations, your company can become a household name in making a difference! It’s important to make sure whatever time or funds your company devotes to nonprofits or other causes are given without ulterior motives. Employees and those outside your organization will be able to see quickly through any attempts to join causes as a performative action.
Look at Your Business as a Long-Term Investment
The business that sees rapid growth is often one that doesn’t last as long as its peers who grew at a steady pace, over time. Quick growth is usually not very sustainable and can lead to a host of problems due to a lack of planning and preparation needed to make sure a company has the endurance to conduct years of business. Small businesses are a real-life example of the tortoise and the hare fable, where slow and steady progress leads to reward at the finish line. Except, in this case, the finish line for a small business (we hope) never comes!
Starting a new business is exciting, but entrepreneurs have to understand that viral popularity or exponential growth are the exceptions, and cannot be the goal. It’s far better if everyone in your company views your business as a long-term investment. If everyone on your team, including yourself, is on the same page, expectations and satisfaction with jobs will stabilize as well, because everyone’s experience within the business is based on reality. Chasing numbers and money for their own sake will never bring the same satisfaction of a hard-won success after an extended period.
Thrive, Don’t Survive!
Having a small business doesn’t mean you have to exist in survival mode. By staying informed on the constant tech changes going on in your industry, your small business will be able to remain alongside competitors in the market. The worst thing that can happen is when a small business is unable to make changes as needed. Staying agile in both tactics and supplementing funds will in turn keep your business in the best place possible to try new things and take risks to scale. While these tips might feel daunting, the possibility of taking your small business from merely surviving economic storms to thriving in the midst of them is worth the effort!