Photo by Dan Burton from Unsplash

Let’s state the obvious: this year has been difficult for small businesses.

Many of my clients were laid off, or their partners lost their jobs, or suffered other hardships. I noticed a big uptick in members for my Startup In 60 program as people decided to start their own business for extra income.

My business is still going strong, but I did have to shift my strategy from live retreats and events to more digital products.

In the United States, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 small businesses will close their doors forever because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, it’s a similar story all over the world. 

If you’ve been able to stay afloat this year (thank goodness!), then now is the time to think about how you’re going to grow your business next year.

You don’t need to have a huge budget to grow your small business, especially if this year has been hard on your finances. 

Here are a few ways to help you regroup and be successful in 2021 and beyond.

1. Understand Your Audience

The most important thing any small business can do is to understand their customers.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store or restaurant, consider the kind of people who come in and want to shop with you.

If you have an online business, consider the kind of people visit your website and social media accounts.

What are they looking for? What do they need that you can provide? Is there anything you should change to fulfill those needs? 

It never hurts to ask your audience what they’re looking for, and encourage feedback as much as possible. By understanding your target audience, you can hone in on what they truly want from you and create a better experience for them. 

2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Speaking of better service, it’s essential that anyone who works with your business comes away with a positive experience.

Word-of-mouth advertising is unbeatable marketing, and you want your clients and customers to share their positive experiences with friends and family. 

Many of my clients were referred to me by previous clients, and I love to share testimonials from happy customers in my blog posts, on sales pages, and on social media.

One way to make sure you’re always available is to use virtual services to grow your business. Answering services can help to make a positive first impression with your customers, rather than sending them to voicemail. It’s a small addition that can make a big difference. 

3. Get Social!

If you want to run a better business, make sure you’re using social media. This is a no-brainer idea for all types of businesses!

Social media is a key way to cut through the noise and actually connect with your specific audience. 

Use social media to “humanize” your business because there’s a real person running the show (that’s YOU!).

Engage in conversation, post behind-the-scenes content, answer questions, and share photos and videos. The idea is to form connections and relationships with your potential customers. In doing so, you’ll build trust, and they’re more likely to choose your business over a competitor’s. Check out Startup In 60 to learn more about the “know, like, and trust” factor.

Set up Google Analytics on your website to see where most of your traffic is coming from. Then choose 2 social media platforms to devote most of your time and attention. Different platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram all have slightly different audiences so don’t waste your time on platforms where your unique client doesn’t hang out.

A social media management tool like Buffer or HootSuite can make it easier to keep track of multiple accounts all in one convenient location.

4. Set Realistic Goals

I know there are still a few week’s left of December, but set your 2021 goals now!

When you choose specific goals, map out a plan for how to achieve them. What projects have the highest chance of leading to those goals? Your daily tasks should always have a purpose in your goal plan.

As you sit down to design your goals for the new year, make sure you’re giving yourself time for self-care (or white space as we say in life editing). Your goals should be realistic and attainable, not outrageous and impossible. They should motivate you, rather than make you feel exhausted before you even get started. 

I’m rooting for you, business owner! Let’s regroup and make a fresh start for 2021. Keep these tips in mind to grow your business quickly next year, so you can find the success you deserve.

NEXT STEPS: Want more help getting your business back in action? Join Startup In 60.

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