The January Checklist for Small Business Owners

January marks the start of a new year, and the opportunity for small business owners to make a lot of positive changes. Unfortunately, most new year’s resolutions go unfulfilled because we fail to plan and take on these challenges with conviction.

That’s why we’re here to help with a handy checklist that small business owners can use as they enter 2022. On this list, you’ll find everything from practical management tips to improving your brand’s social media presence and cleaning out cobwebs in your workflows.

There’s something for everyone on this checklist, and all the points will apply regardless of your industry, the size of your company, or other variables. These tips come directly from entrepreneurs who made major leaps in 2021, so they’re worth your time! Let’s begin.

1. Reflect on the Year Past

Before you start thinking about how to dominate the new year, look back on 2021 and give yourself (and your business) an honest assessment to set a strong foundation for the future.

“Take stock of what went well in the past 12 months, and what areas of your business came up short of expectations,” said Matt Miller, Founder and CEO of Embroker. “This requires the ability to self-criticize and can be a difficult exercise, but the insights you discover are highly valuable. Get your team members and other stakeholders involved too, so you get the full picture instead of just a singular point of view.”

2. Refocus on the Mission

It’s the nature of the game to stray away from the business mission. January is the perfect time to reiterate those core values and get back on track with the vision of the company.

“Unexpected events and pivots can send the trajectory of your business in a slightly different direction, so this is the time to reorient with the principles that you started with,” said Jaymee Messler, CEO of The Gaming Society. “Acknowledge where you may have gone off course and aim to align once again with your mission. This can mean reviewing the main reasons why your business exists or the mission statement you wrote at the beginning.”

3. Check in with Employees

Employees are invaluable, and their feedback is also vital. Be sure to set aside some time to speak directly with employees and hear them out before entering the new year.

“People are sometimes more willing to speak openly about their feelings and ideas around this time, so seize the opportunity to gather some useful feedback if you can,” said Brandon Lurie, Marketing Director at Y Meadows. “Schedule one-on-one meetings if you want, or send out a survey to staff and automate the process. Don’t hesitate to ask some tough questions and get the real answers you need to improve your business in the new year.”

4. Seek New Opportunities

Apart from reflecting and reminiscing, you’ll want to reach out and grab new opportunities as they emerge in the new year. If there’s a new pathway to make money or build an audience, why not take the chance and potentially reap the rewards?

“A successful business owner focuses on both revenue and expenses and tries to ensure there’s more of the former than the latter,” said Dave Archer, President and CEO of NCET. “If you have a restaurant, for example, can you generate more revenue – and deal with staff shortages – by focusing on takeout and delivery rather than dine-in services? Can you generate more revenue by driving more lunch traffic by offering daily specials? Resolve to look for new revenue opportunities and to review every penny you spend to find ways to save.”

5. Rethink Partnerships

The average small business works with plenty of contractors, suppliers, service providers, and other partners. Take this chance to review and see which ones are worth continuing.

“Things were shaken up heavily on the logistics front in the past year or so, and many companies are taking this time to review partnerships with greater scrutiny,” said Daniel Tejada, Co-Founder of Straight Up Growth. “Run the numbers on all of your business partners and see if you’re fully satisfied with the service you’re paying for. Alternatives may be limited, but just making a few small changes can be massively beneficial in the long run.”

6. Reduced Unneeded Overhead

Expenses pile up throughout the year, and you’ll want to enter the new year with a clear view of all costs. Any money you can save on overhead is simply an added bonus.

“One hidden benefit of the new remote work era is that businesses are saving a lot of money on overhead, but there are even more ways to save if you look closely,” said Daniel Osman, Head of Sales at Balance Homes. “Run through every recurring item on your expense list and see if every single one is necessary. There is bound to be some service or subscription plan that can be trimmed or at least suspended for a year before you even realize you miss it.”

7. Declutter Software Assets

Too much software can quickly turn into a burden with steep costs and upkeep requirements. Use this opportunity to do some early spring cleaning and get rid of unnecessary software.

“Software tends to accumulate in the corners of a business like knick knacks in an attic,” said Armando Roggio, Senior Contributor for Practical Ecommerce. “Before anyone realizes it, four SaaS offerings do the same or similar tasks. In 2022, get rid of software clutter. Audit all the company’s licensed and SaaS programs. Learn who is using them and why. Then consolidate or eliminate. Aim to cut 2022 software expenditures by 30%.”

8. Spruce Up that Website

Your company’s website doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate, but it does need to be functional and provide a good user experience. Improve your website ASAP if it’s lagging.

“It’s always a good time to improve your website, but January just makes sense on the calendar and represents a fresh start for all,” said Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO, and Nurse Practitioner at Skin Pharm. “Pick one or two goals to start then take on bigger objectives. Maybe user interface is your top priority, or you want to deliver faster speeds to visitors. Maybe you need better pictures of your products or a brand new customer review system. These are all worthy initiatives, but you need to prioritize and be deliberate.”

9. Sharpen Social Media Presence

So much small business activity happens on social media nowadays, from marketing and sales to customer service and more. Get smart about social media before the new year hits.

“At this point, any company that isn’t active on social media may appear outdated or out of the loop to the current generation of customers,” said Mehdi Marrakchi, CEO of Mob Hookah. “This is not the reputation you want. Do at least the bare minimum and post weekly on the major platforms with updates or fun, random content will inspire people to comment and like. Establish a rhythm of posting and you’ll develop that audience over time for sure.”

10. Leave Bad Management Habits Behind

Nobody is a perfect manager all of the time, but we can all do things to improve the way we interact with employees to create better business outcomes. Identify those bad habits and try to turn over a new leaf.

“We’re often not aware of our own shortcomings as managers, so we need to look at specific instances and case studies to think about how we acted – and what we could have done differently,” said Ely Khakshouri, Founder and CEO at Retrospec. “If you really want to shock the ego, ask team members for feedback about your managerial skills. However, the most effective practice here is self-reflection and the ability to change our management approach based on what we’ve discovered about ourselves.

11. Commit to Customer Engagement

An engaged customer base is an invaluable asset to any small business, since they will keep returning and buying from you for years to come. Ramp up engagement, and everything else will come more easily.

“Every audience wants to be informed, entertained, and made to feel like they’re part of something unique, with a dash of exclusivity for good measure,” said Rachel Jones, Head of PR at Hope Health. “If you can nail those three things consistently through social media, newsletters, and other forms of communication, you’ll be golden. Just don’t go over the top or be overbearing.”

12. Ready Yourself for Risk

What better time to take some business risks than right at the start of the new year? A few calculated risks can pay off in a big way, so don’t be afraid to get out of that comfort zone.

“The business cycle is a bit slow in January, so take this time to brainstorm ideas and come up with that next big winning product or marketing campaign,” said Katie Lyon, Co-Founder of Allegiance Flag Supply. “If it’s a flop – so what. At least you put in the effort and learned something for the future.”

This checklist covers a lot of ground, so you better get to work! Keep this list for years to come so that every January is better than the last.


The post The January Checklist for Small Business Owners appeared first on 360PRWire.

Adam Ali