It’s been 50 years and counting since the U.S. Small Business Administration began
celebrating National Small Business Week (NSBW) to recognize the hard work and dedication
of American entrepreneurs and small business owners. Considering the uncertainty of this past
year, small business owners have shown what it means to truly overcome adversity.
As the world shifts into a post-pandemic landscape, small business owners and entrepreneurs
can take advantage of new information, resources, and support available to help not only get
back on their feet but in a state of profitability and abundance this year.
Small Business Week (NSBW)
Small business owners play a critical role in the development and growth of society at large. They solve problems, stimulate the economy, provide convenient services and desired products, and create jobs for many millions of individuals. Without small businesses, our world would be entirely different.
National Small Business Week showcases the hard work of American entrepreneurs and their ability to show up each day both in good times and tough times. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.” The Small Business Administration highlights the work that these entrepreneurs and business owners do from all 50 states.
This year is unique, as these businesses will not only be recognized for their contributions to their communities but their ability to navigate a global pandemic that swept the nation. Due to the fact that the pandemic is still greatly impacting the economy, there have been small business funding programs available through the Small Business Administration that can help provide additional support for these critical businesses.
Advantages of being a Small Business Owner
As you’ve most likely come to realize, being a small business or entrepreneur in this day and age can be demanding as it requires you to commit most of your time and energy towards the success of your business. With that being said, there was a reason you became a small business owner in the first place and thinking back to these reasons can help you push forward in times of adversity. Some of the perks of being a small business owner include schedule flexibility and expertise in your craft. You are probably very confident in your ability to provide a product or service to your customers and feel passionate about your delivery methods, which is why you can thrive and make a living off of this particular skill.
If you are a professional moving further into your career path, take time to consider if what you are doing is fulfilling your desire to work, produce, and contribute to society. Even if you work a full-time job, earn a generous salary, have great benefits, and company perks, you might not be as content as you’d like. As a small business owner, you have the opportunity to take a leap of faith to start something from the ground up in an industry that you are fully passionate about.
How to Promote Business Stability This Year
After a tumultuous year, as a business owner, you most likely will welcome stability and consistency moving forward. While this stability may naturally come as we shift into a post-pandemic landscape, there are other ways that you can further promote security.
Set Up Post-Pandemic Safeguards
If this year has taught individuals, professionals, parents, and business owners one thing it’s that you can never be too certain or too prepared. If you felt as though your future financial stability was at risk this year, it’s a good idea to revisit the safeguards you currently have in place or consider setting some up. For example, as a small business owner, it’s encouraged that you have a life insurance policy in place that will allow your business to be safeguarded and your finances allocated properly should anything unanticipated happen to you. Although it’s not the most enjoyable thing to think about, preparing for the unknown is critical and can help protect your family and loved ones from financial burden that they are unable to take on. If you have a lease on business space, have student loans, or have a mortgage, you will want to know that they are financially accounted for should you no longer be around to maintain payments.
Separate Personal and Business Finances
In addition, having separate banking accounts to manage your small business finances should be part of your practices to allow for security and stability. If your business were to fail or unavoidable circumstances were to arise, you want to know that you can still comfortably live and support your loved ones. If your business expenses are tied to your personal funds, there is a greater chance for financial turmoil that can impact your future. Try to organize your finances and gain a clear picture of what you expect to spend and make in the next 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and so on. The better handle you have on your finances, the easier it will be to combat anything that comes your way.
Stand Out and Set Yourself Apart
Now more than ever it’s important to show your value, unique offerings, and find ways to stand out from your business competitors. You’ve made it to this stage as a business owner because you already provide a great product or service. Now that you’ve done the hard part, it’s important that you don’t stop there. There are many variables of your business that you can control each day that will continue to set you apart from your competitors. Providing excellent customer service and sticking to your offers (whether that is free shipping, easy returns, or quick response time), can satisfy your niche by providing the best while servicing the best.
Another important point is to focus on honing your craft in a few areas rather than spreading yourself too thin. This is not new information, but something that you can easily fall into as a small business owner. From trying to appeal to everyone and wanting to satisfy all customer comments, you risk losing what makes your unique business special while trying to fit a mold. Focus on the ways that you can make your business profitable this year and continue to improve your products and services. Remaining confident about your initiatives will promote stable growth while setting yourself apart.
Promote Customer Retention
This is a key piece of your business strategy if you want to make customers happy and encourage them to come back. By having a loyalty program, you can stabilize your customer base and gain a better idea of who is coming back to your business on a regular basis. This helps you identify specific buying profiles and determine if that is who your original target market is. If there are major differences, you can use that information to adjust your strategy and reevaluate for the coming months. This is another way to instill trust and promote a personal connection with your brand and products. When your customers feel heard, they’re more likely to come back or even recommend your business to their friends and family. Keeping your customers top of mind and helping them feel rewarded will provide you with a return in value.
Set Attainable Business Goals
If you are ready to turn your small business around this year, it’s time to set some realistic and measurable goals. What have you been putting on hold for fear of instability? Now is the time to decide where you’d like to grow your business this year and where you need to pivot. If you’ve spent time where you didn’t see a return on investment, try shifting your focus. Being strategic and giving yourself specific goals and timelines to meet those goals can allow you to try new things. Business is all about trial and error so setting goals and ambitions can help you to be more intentional.
Although this past year has been a time of change for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, it has also created a lot of new development and opportunity. Small businesses are a critical piece of the economy and not only provide for customers but create millions of jobs for individuals all over the world. As a small business owner, take pride in the service you provide to your customers and your ability to give back to your community. By taking the time to reestablish your “why” while making plans to safeguard your business’s future, you can focus on growing your passion.