As we said a hearty farewell to 2020, we embraced 2021 with a heightened sense of confidence and optimism. However, when I look back at my naive resolutions in 2020, I am also reminded how I had to scrap them in March 2020 and put all my plans on hold.
I was encouraged by business owners' optimism in December through the surge of posts on social media about New Year's resolutions for 2021 made me revisit my 2020 plans and draft a new set of resolutions I aimed to stick with.
However, in the UK 2021 has carried on in the same way 2020 left us as we have to close our business doors once again, furlough staff and embrace home-schooling. If you're a small business owner trying to juggle, you are likely to delay some of your plans for this year; however, there are some resolutions you could make and keep even through a lockdown to help make progress in your business.
You don't need to try all of these resolutions. If there's one that piques your interest, try it out and let me know!
Follow up with networking contacts
Networking changed in 2020, with many businesses shifting from in-person events to online gatherings and conferences.
It's still critical for business owners to establish a strong network. A professional network can help you grow your business, provide personal growth opportunities, and support you through the ups and downs of business ownership.
Networking will not matter if you don't follow up with the contacts you meet. Set reminders up and keep alerts on for groups you are part of and post consistently on your favourite social media platforms.
Clear out your inbox of people waiting on you
In the middle of all your unread emails, it is likely someone is waiting to hear back from you: a lead, a potential client, or even a business connection with a tip.
Inbox zero is a goal for me every day. Still, it isn’t always achievable for everyone, try prioritising responding to humans at regular intervals and set a reminder in your calendar to review your inbox to review essential emails so you can star or label so you can keep in touch with everyone you need to.
When you need to respond, each email doesn't have to be original take some time out to create a few email templates.
You never know might happen!
Expand your learning
Whilst writing this post, I am supervising my children do their homeschooling and although I enjoy revisiting some topics I haven’t looked at in school, in downtime why not look at the development of your skills.
There are many free courses available from the Open University from finding out more about environmental sciences to Psychology and languages.
The government are also providing free courses for adults in the spring, so look out for these.
Follow up with customers
The work is not complete once you've acquired a customer. You need to keep them happy, and if they are satisfied with you, they need to tell people.
There are many ways you can build this relationship. One is to sign them up for a newsletter for updates on promotions or ask them to review you on Google or LinkedIn. Maybe you could leave a review for a business associate you have worked with and ask for a review in return.
Nothing's more powerful than word of mouth!
Audit an existing finance process
As an accountant, I would always recommend taking any opportunity you can to review your finance processes.
Take this time to get a grip on your numbers and have a look at what they mean and how they compare against other businesses by looking at your monthly figures. Check up on KPIs like debtor days and profit margins and cashflow (if you need help with cashflow, I have an offer for you below).
How do you look after your business finances? Are you embracing the cloud platform and use Xero or QuickBooks online? Is there any particular process which takes your valuable time or you dread?
If you regularly lose track of receipts and invoices, why don’t you look into how to process your invoices and expenses to save you time with systems like AutoEntry, ReceiptBank or Hubdoc (Xero) to streamline and automate your financial processes.
2021 might still be bringing similar challenges as 2020; even if we cannot change the world, we can always make progress every day. If you have tried out any of my points, let me know, I would love to hear from you!
If you need help forecasting your cash flow, I can offer free cashflow forecasting software Float until 31 March, just contact me for more information or to find out more about Float click here