Two years in, and there’s still plenty of uncertainty when it comes to the pandemic, especially when it comes to small businesses. Many businesses have operated in survival or maintenance mode as we navigated the ups and downs of the pandemic, and many business owners are stuck trying to figure out how to further grow their business. Reestablishing what sets your business apart, capitalizing on your strengths, and knowing your objectives are critical parts to improving your business and ensuring it remains healthy and profitable. Using social media to grow awareness, ensuring you have proper cash flow, and access to equipment financing and leasing, if you need it, are all great areas to focus on. It may seem like your business is stuck in a never-ending cycle with the pandemic continuing to be a significant presence, but now is a time to think about your business and how growing it will look in 2022. Know Your Goals If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Having objectives gives you and your team a direction to go in and allows you to have a benchmark against which to measure your progress. Whether it’s a target you want to grow your digital marketing efforts or increase sales, having no clear target or strategy makes it extremely difficult to gauge how well you’re doing with it. Once you’ve established your goals, it’s important to remember not to get too attached to them. As you work towards achieving your objectives, you may learn and find out new information or new ideas. Don’t become complacent and refuse to pivot when the situation calls for it. Doing so can lead to your business becoming stale. Customer Service is Key Customer service is vitally important for any business, especially small businesses. Listening to customers and dealing with their concerns and complaints is a big part of it, but so is proactively taking the time to show your appreciation to your clients and soliciting feedback from happy customers. Going the extra mile for your customers is something that’s still highly valued in today’s business environment. Excellent customer service also leads to great reviews of your business, which are vital for growing your clientele. Whether it’s an old-fashioned word-of-mouth recommendation or a great online review, potential customers and shoppers are hesitant to work with a company without reviews or recommendations, so keeping customers happy has an added benefit in lead generation. Keep an Eye on Trends Paying attention to trends in your industry doesn’t mean that you need to follow every trend that arises, as they can also fade away quickly. But new developments and events do make a difference to your business, so it’s essential to be aware of what those are. Often new trends can seem like passing fads that won’t have any serious impact on your industry. Keep in mind that just because things work a certain way now doesn’t mean they always will. Change happens. But a common problem with small businesses is that they stay stuck in the familiar and don’t realize they’re getting left behind until it’s too late, so keep up to date with industry trends. Get Help With small businesses, there isn’t always enough of one task or another to justify hiring a full-time employee. This is what’s great about outsourcing specific tasks to freelancers or contractors, especially ones who are specialized in certain fields. Whether it’s hiring a virtual assistant, outsourcing SEO and social media marketing, or contracting out your customer service, getting help with these things can free up your time to spend on bigger picture ideas like finding new markets or expanding your services or products. If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions with small tasks, consider outsourcing these things. Invest in Your Employees Whether you have full or part-time employees, it’s vital to establish a company culture and invest in your employees’ happiness and well-being to have the right people working for you. The greatest businesses are made up of hard-working staff who want to be doing what they’re doing. If you’re a struggling small business, you may not be able to give all your employees that raise they deserve, but you can increase their well-being by offering to be flexible. Whether it’s letting them choose to work at home, being flexible with their hours, or promoting wellness initiatives, happy employees tend to work harder and better for their employer. Hopefully, this advice can help you set goals for your business, reach out to freelancers for help where needed, keep focused on customer service, and invest in new technology and equipment that will help grow your business during this upcoming year and beyond.