Small businesses that made it through 2021 need to plan for the coming year. Now is the time to prepare for a successful 2022.
In the aftermath of the 2020 shutdowns, 2021 was a difficult year for many businesses. If your business was able to get people back to work and find success amid such challenging times, now is the time to look ahead to 2022. With the right preparation, you can be ready for whatever 2022 may send your way.
What can I do to prepare my business for 2022?
If 2020 and 2021 taught business owners anything, it was that businesses need to be flexible. However, no matter what circumstances 2022 brings, the best thing you can do to prepare your business is to set business goals to keep moving forward.
To set business goals, you first need to determine what you want to accomplish or achieve. While every business wants to make money or sell more products or services, try to set your sights on more specific achievements. Perhaps you want to break into a new market, launch a new product, or increase sales by a certain percentage. Even if you are only looking to sell more, or make more money, set numbers that are achievable.
Once you have some concrete goals, set target metrics that you can reach each month or quarter. Setting metrics will give you a way to measure how successful you are at meeting your goals. If you find yourself falling short, readjust as needed each month or quarter. Regularly tracking metrics makes it possible to establish deadlines for milestones and achievements, while also providing a layer of accountability.
Finally, make a plan to meet with your team regularly to assess your progress. You may want to include these goals as part of your Employee Evaluation Form. It can be helpful to work with your employees to make adjustments along the way. You may find that changes are needed to the goals themselves, or to specific strategies.
What lessons from 2021 should inform my business practices in 2022?
As 2021 comes to an end, your business needs to reflect on the lessons learned. While many insights will undoubtedly come from your actions navigating through the pandemic, others are likely to emerge from more recent day-to-day operations.
One important lesson that businesses learned in 2021 is that you cannot wait around for the perfect time to launch a new product or post a job opening. You have to take decisive action when opportunities arise. The businesses that took smart chances during 2020 and 2021, even during the height of the pandemic, are many of the businesses that succeeded. Knowing when and how to pivot is critical.
This year has also highlighted the importance of digital business to overall growth. If your business has been slow to embrace digital, now is the time to make it happen. A strong digital presence may prove essential as consumers and clients have come to expect digital, virtual, and remote services when possible.
Lastly, we all saw just how quickly personal and commercial economics can be upended. You may want to collect on past due accounts as soon as possible. Preparing a Collection Letter and Statement of Account to send to clients behind on their accounts can help keep money flowing.
Will 2022 be a good year for business growth or expansion?
Economists expect to see strong growth in 2022 for the businesses that made it through the pandemic. Demand for products and services is on the rise, and some companies are having a hard time keeping up with that demand. Thankfully, people are ready to get back to work, the labor market is improving, and businesses are making the return to work appealing.
That said, supply chain issues and global inflation may stifle growth for some businesses as they head into 2022. To move forward and prepare for growth in 2022, businesses dealing with these issues need to have a strategy.
How do I measure success and improve business operations in the midst of historic change?
To be successful in 2022, small businesses will need to learn to adapt. Though the business world is poised for growth, growth may not look the same as it did pre-pandemic. It is vital that you stay flexible and alert to changing market and growth trends.
Some metrics that you will want to track as you head into 2022 include:
- Cash flow – Cash flow remains an important metric to track moving into 2022. Positive cash flow is a good indicator that a small business is growing.
- Accounts receivable – Are your Invoices getting paid on time? This metric can help you determine the health of your business and the resilience of your customer base.
- Customer satisfaction – The businesses that made it through the pandemic successfully are the ones that listened to their customers. Learn to measure customer satisfaction through referrals, retention rates, testimonials, and surveys. Do not forget to track these metrics and continually adjust to improve customer satisfaction.
- Employee performance – How well are your people working for you? Do they follow your Employee Handbook? A crew that does what you expect, and does it well, is a sign of a strong business. Consider using employee reviews to help you stay in communication with your employees.
Flexibility and creativity are going to be key tenets as you improve business operations. Some small businesses are finding that they need to combine efforts as they move forward in a new business climate. Joint Venture Agreements and Co‑Marketing Agreements may help small businesses navigate the new normal in the days ahead.
Others are finding they have assets that no longer fit their demographic or current service offerings. The Sale of Business Assets Worksheet can help you work through how to sell off those assets and get the right amount of money for them.
As you prepare your business for 2022, remember that the pandemic is ongoing. You may need to pivot as the world around you changes. Make sure you have an Emergency Action Plan in place and communicate it to your team members. If you need to shift to remote work suddenly or take other drastic measures, an Emergency Action Plan may be indispensable.
The upcoming year may bring unexpected challenges. If you have legal questions about your rights and obligations as a business owner, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable legal advice.