As we head toward the new year, small business owners and entrepreneurs like yourself are already making a business plan for 2022. If you haven’t started to think about the year ahead, now is the time to start planning. Over the past year, earth-changing shifts in the business world have led to unprecedented opportunities for those looking to capitalize on upcoming trends.
So what are the best business tips for the new year?
From sustainable business practices to seeking freelance support, this article will take you through the top five business tips to make the upcoming year the best yet for your business.
#1 Move toward sustainability
No matter what business you’re in, whether it be video marketing or a small holiday card shop, we’re all operating in a shared environment—planet earth. Today, prioritizing sustainability isn’t just a positive way to help our planet, it’s a business-savvy approach that can net you more sales and expand your market.
According to market research, sustainability-marketed products grew 7.1x faster than products not marketed as sustainable. With a 700% boost, it’s no wonder more companies are looking for a means of riding the wave of sustainable business practices.
As a business owner, create a concrete plan in your annual business review to add eco-conscious benefits to those using your products or services. If you’re looking for inspiration, try out some of these ideas:
- Cut down on C02 – While travel is frequently a necessity for businesses, decreasing air travel, carpooling, or using greener transportation can go a long way in reducing your C02 emissions. Today, businesses also have the option of using telecommunication services and video conference software to meet anywhere in the world via the internet. Why travel when you don’t have to?
- Make use of eco-friendly office products – When possible, opt for recyclable and refillable over disposable. Whether you’re buying printer cartridges, cups, or paper, there are plenty of sustainable options that offer the same (or an even higher) level of quality for you, your team, and the environment.
- Go local – By sourcing your products from other local small businesses, you can do your part to lessen the environmental impact of shipping and importing. While you may not be able to locally source everything you need, you might be surprised to learn what you can find from those in your community.
Christine Sorich, a small business owner of the Chicago-based grocery store Tinyshop has put a significant emphasis on renewable and sustainable products. When people are more mindful about their buying habits, she says, “The impact they have on the Earth is much larger than perhaps everyone thinks when they just grab and go.”
By marketing your company as sustainable, you can unlock a new demographic and help the environment while doing so. Sustainable business practices are here to stay, so opting to make the switchover today could advance you within your industry and lead to business success.
#2 Host digital events
As we’ve already mentioned, digital teleconferencing tech can make meetings and gatherings a more sustainable practice. Allowing the option to host these digital events puts attendees at ease with the pandemic still around. But it’s also a clever way to leverage increased success for your business. How so?
Consider organizing a digital event to connect with a larger customer base both locally and nationally, and you may experience a few of these additional benefits:
- A wider audience – By eliminating the need to travel for your event, you can welcome a wider audience looking to learn more about your products and services, network, and share expertise. Whether you want to meet with industry insiders or expand a conversation about your business to as many voices as possible, a digital event could be the best way to exceed your expectations.
Real estate agency The Ribble Group has a headstart on this tip. The Denver-based organization hosts digital bingo nights for their community, complete with prizes. Agent and founder Gaye Ribble explains:
“For each bingo night, we do three bingo games and give prizes. The first game prize is $50, the second game is $100, and the third game is $200. Our in-person events are a lot more expensive than that, so we figure we are still saving money by giving away prizes.”
The result? An event the entire community looks forward to as well as an opportunity for The Ribble Group to make new connections.
- Decreased spending – While in-person events can be time-consuming and expensive to organize, digital events offer a budget-friendly option for businesses of any size. There’s no need to rent an event space, pay for catering, or book hotel rooms, allowing your business to participate in a big way on a small budget.
- Diversified skill set – Digital events encourage your business to stay at the cutting-edge of technology. You can unveil your newest projects or show off your new interface with the freshest available data, keeping your company current and up to date in the world of tech.
Make sure to check out our 2022 small business marketing trends to learn more about how virtual meetups can help grow your business this new year. Strong communication is always a benefit for businesses, no matter their size. Your digital events might be the pillar of your digital marketing outreach next year. You can even track your outreach abilities with digital tools, like vent marketing software, to discover exactly how much of an impact your events are making.
#3 Explore automation
Business is still about making personal connections, but with the advent of advanced automation, you may find new ways to run your business more efficiently.
With 2022 on the horizon, your business can use automation to find a new competitive edge. Restaurants, eCommerce businesses, and local retail vendors can all benefit from updating their tech to maximize their potential.
Consider the following opportunities to automate your business, including:
- Email marketing – If you use email to stay in contact with customers and source potential leads, consider automating your marketing emails to save time and money. You can design emails to be sent when specific actions are triggered, test different email campaigns, and create set intervals for content delivery, all through simple automation tools.
- eCommerce – Do your customers interact with an online store or purchasing platform? Consider using automation to simplify payments, inventory, and notifications to deliver your customers a better buying experience.
- Payroll – Keeping your employees paid can be a time-consuming process. By automating your payroll, you can eliminate the potential for human error and keep payments coming in and going out reliably.
While automation may create some upfront costs for your business, you can expect these upgrades to be well worth it in the long run. Consider it an investment in your future—for 2022 and beyond.
#4 Consider freelancers
Americans are rethinking their relationship to work, which has meant a shift for many from full-time employees to freelancing entrepreneurs. According to a recent study, about 12% of Americans are now doing freelance work.
While some businesses may require a full-time, in-house team, others may find some distinct benefits from seeking out freelance collaborators. New freelancing opportunities include the fields of Finance & Business Operations, Computers & Mathematics, Building & Landscape Maintenance, and Production & Manufacturing.
A few reasons to consider hiring freelance employees are:
- Expertise – Instead of taking the time to train, onboard, and educate employees, you can instead pull from a pool of highly trained experts in your industry. It’s now possible to find a freelancer with the industry-specific knowledge you need, at a price point that fits well within your company budget.
- Less need for oversight – Because you’re hiring an expert in the field, you can spend less time supervising their work and more time focusing on what’s important. Freelancers are self-starters and self-sufficient, so you can count on them to come to you when a question or concern arrives.
- Higher quality work – While a standard employee’s work may wane, freelancers are driven by the self-determination needed to be their own boss. They rely on the quality of their work to secure further contracts, so you can expect the work done by a freelancer to surpass standard expectations.
Working with freelancers can open you up to a wider range of workers, mitigating the difficulty of finding and retaining competent staff. With plenty of digital resources available to begin searching for freelancers, nothing’s holding you back from putting together a top-notch team in 2022.
#5 Reimagine your website
2022 is going to be all about your online presence. While a small business website is nothing new, current trends are influencing how customers interact with businesses digitally. Your website can be the key to generating revenue, interfacing with your clientele, or building brand recognition.
If you’re an eCommerce business, your website might be the first point of sale. If you run a local brick-and-mortar business or offer local services, your website could be the best way to introduce customers to your offerings. Minnesota tea shop owner, Alana Emmerich, uses her website to sell bulk orders of her specialty tea, bringing a little taste of a local flavor across the country.
If you’re wondering what a website upgrade for 2022 could look like for your business, consider:
- Making it mobile-friendly - While some customers may be browsing on their desktops or laptops, mobile browsing accounts for about half of all web traffic. If your customers are having difficulty navigating your services from their phones, it’s time to consider a digital remodel.
- Optimizing it for speed – Load times can make browsing some websites an absolute pain. If your pages are taking too long to load, you may already be losing potential customers. Consider upgrading your services to ensure everyone can navigate at a reasonable speed.
- Including personalized content – Depending on what your business offers, you may see a boost in interest by personalizing your web content to your clientele. This can mean using geolocation data to discover craft messages aligned with specific needs or using automated cookies to discover web-history data. Knowing what your customers are looking for can allow you to target your services more precisely.
There’s plenty of room to expand and improve on an existing website. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional designer, you can look forward to connecting your business with a quality digital experience.
Nextdoor: Making 2022 your most successful year yet
With a full list of new-year small business tips, you’ll be ready to cruise into 2022 with a carefully considered plan. Next year is already looking bright, but if you’re looking for a sure-fire way to engage with your community and discover what they’re looking for out of your business, Nextdoor is the place to go.
With Nextdoor you can connect and engage directly with local customers - your neighbors. Claim your free Business Page to start building your online presence for 2022 and beyond. There’s no better way to reach out to your most loyal customers than with Nextdoor.
NYU Stern. Center for Sustainable Business | CSB Sustainable Market Share Index. https://www.stern.nyu.edu/experience-stern/about/departments-centers-initiatives/centers-of-research/center-sustainable-business/research/research-initiatives/csb-sustainable-market-share-index
Block Club Chicago. Tinyshop, A Zero-Waste Grocery Store Featuring Locally Sourced Goods, Coming To Logan Square. https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/11/12/tinyshop-a-zero-waste-grocery-store-featuring-locally-sourced-foods-coming-to-logan-square/
Upwork.Freelance Forward 2020.https://www.upwork.com/documents/freelance-forward-2020
SC Times. Spice of Life Tea Shop partners with Lyricality to bring you poetry-inspired tea. https://www.sctimes.com/story/money/business/2021/11/18/st-cloud-spice-life-tea-shop-new-literary-inspired-collaboration-lyricality-sauk-rapids-poetry/6231504001/
Statista. Percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide from 1st quarter 2015 to 1st quarter 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/#:~:text=Mobile%20accounts%20for%20approximately%20half,since%20the%20beginning%20of%202017.Out Front. 6 Virtual Events that Delight and Build Goodwill. https://outfront.kw.com/training/6-virtual-events-that-delight-and-build-goodwill/