It’s been another rollercoaster of a year! As 2021 comes to a close, we can’t help but feel a little stronger and wiser than we did 12 months ago. For many Australian small businesses, 2020 posed a shock, with challenges like none we’d experienced before. 2021 however, was a year for growth. Let’s take a look at the 5 key lessons for small businesses this year.
Step outside your comfort zone
Comfort zone, what comfort zone? It’s likely your comfort zone disappeared into the abyss in the early days of 2020, however this year we saw the power of small businesses being unafraid to try something new. Forced to adapt and evolve, small business owners are now approaching businesses with more creativity and inventiveness.
You don’t need to take enormous risks for your business to benefit. Start small, look at how you can build on what you’re already doing and continue to explore new ideas rather than settling into a ‘new normal’.
Build your digital presence
A businesses’ online presence has become increasingly important in the last decade, however we can confirm it’s now reached a critical point. Even if your service can’t be offered online, provide useful information and create a way for your customers or clients to engage with your brand.
For example, if you own a carpentry business you can use social media platforms to share information about your team and your completed projects. Your website can outline the services you offer, along with useful contact details. You can also utilise digital marketing strategies to build brand awareness and secure more customers.
No matter what industry you’re in, digital tools can be used to your advantage. Whether it’s project management and communication platforms to keep employees connected and on track, or software to boost your online presence and gather valuable customer insights; digital tools will be key in your success now and in the future.
Use storytelling to grow your brand
The support for local business has grown exponentially in the last few years. Many small businesses now have the upper hand over large brands and it’s time to take advantage of the situation by building a strong brand identity.
Your identity as a small business is a great starting point, but storytelling has the power to take your brand to the next level. Use your unique story to inspire your customers. Choose your main idea and create a story that’s emotive and relatable to your audience. Remember that your story has no final chapter; but is instead a journey that you can continue to guide your customers on using your content strategy.
Prepare for the unexpected
There are no shocks or surprises left and we’ve all become experts in expecting the unexpected. The real question is, are you prepared for the unexpected?
Businesses that have a more flexible business strategy in place will have the ability to adapt when necessary. If your business model allows you to scale your business down and up again, you will be fit for survival if the unexpected hits.
Revisit your business values and purpose
Your brand purpose is the foundation of your business. Despite all the ups and downs of the pandemic, your purpose and values remained rock solid. Return to these in times of doubt or when change is on the horizon. Your brand values should guide the decisions you make.
If you revisit your purpose and values only to realise they could be more relevant to today; don’t be afraid to adapt them to ensure they accurately represent your business and the direction it’s heading in.
There’s no way of telling what 2022 has in store for Australia, however the lessons we’ve learned can help to ensure small businesses remain agile, resilient and innovative when it comes to doing business in the future. Are you considering starting a business in 2022? Review our small business checklist to see if you’re ready to get underway.