Well Hello There January! Nice to see you again. Oh and I see you brought a whole new decade with you. Welcome to 2020!
If you run a small business you are probably aware of the blind spot in the market for companies like ours. When searching for small business inspiration for things like Small Business New Year’s Resolutions you will see a whole lot of, what I call, growth porn.
All these blogs, articles and talking heads outlining how to earn $6,000 on your laptop from the beach or how to grow your social media following to a point that Kylie Jenner is asking you for Instagram advice or worse poorly veiled MLM sales pitches promising to help your business.
Well I say enough. We here at The Clever Catalyst are all about breaking the mold and doing things our own way - without the shame. So let’s talk small business goals for those of us that aren’t trying to take over the world.
Realistic Resolution #1: Engage with your Audience on Social Media.
If you aren’t yet using social media for your small business, that should be your #1 goal this year.
Businesses have changed so much since we rung in our last decade. More and more consumers are interacting with small businesses online. Specifically on social media.
You do not need 100,000 followers to see the benefits of using social media. A couple hundred followers are more than enough to start seeing a valuable rate of return.
Please don’t be intimidated by the big players on social media. There will always be bigger accounts with flashier features, and what seems like more perfect content.
Who cares? They aren’t you.
Even if you’re completely new to social media you can do you and your brand better than anyone. Just be honest. Post pictures and captions that are relevant to your brand. Engage with people - even if they aren’t customers - help the world understand who you are and what you do.
The goal here is just to get the message out there. That’s all you can do. The rest is up to them.
Realistic Resolution #2: Keep Learning.
Knowledge is power. And nothing ever stays the same forever. This is extra true if you’re operating in the digital space. If you haven’t brushed up on website best practices, or social media trends in more than a month you’re comically out of touch.
Take some time this year to continue your learning for the sake of your business. There are countless free or paid courses online you can take. You can listen to podcasts while working or even just take a few hours every Sunday to read some articles.
The goal here is to stay in the know. This doesn’t mean you have to be trendy and use all the new information but it never hurts to at least be aware of it.
Realistic Resolution #3: Master your Calendar.
I run a small business, homeschool my kindergartener, run a household (at least half of the time), and actively make time for family and my husband. My Google Calendars are my LIFE!
If you haven’t mastered your calendar yet - you need to. And when I say master your calendar I don’t mean scheduling all your time for vague work tasks. I mean really mastering your calendar.
Here’s how I recommend starting:
Step One: Set General Business Hours
Step Two: Block Tasks Into those Business Hours
Sunday afternoons are great for this. You already know when you are working. Now you can go in and assess what items need handled this week and assign them to days and times DURING your business hours.
Step Three: Review
Make sure you have breaks scheduled, you are not underestimating the amount of time any given task will take, & make sure to have time blocked for last minute priorities.
Step Four: Work that Calendar.
Make adjustments throughout the week if needed. But in general work the calendar as set on Sunday.
During business hours my calendar is awfully chaotic. But that’s okay. A chaotic plan is still a plan. I plan on being busy when I’m working. When the business hours have concluded my calendar is much more open. And that’s intentional.
Ps. If you don’t have enough time to fit in all your tasks during working hours you need to hire help. Which brings us to …..
Realistic Resolution #4: Hire Help.
If there is one thing I can bet you struggle with it is hiring help. As a small business owner- I know - it is so scary to bring another person into the fold. Your business is your baby, you pour so much time and care into it. There is no way another person can care about your business as much as you do right?
Yep. You are right. There will never be another person in the WORLD that cares as much about your business as you do. They can’t. It’s your baby, not theirs.
The good news is you don’t need another person to care as much as you do. You just need another person to care enough to do a good job. And I can promise you, you will never be able to grow if you’re trying to do it all yourself. At least not without letting other things in your life fall to the wayside.
Make a goal to hire help. Assess what areas of your business that you yourself have to handle and then look at what’s left. Those are the things that can be outsourced.
Realistic Resolution #5: Systemize Something.
What is one thing you do a lot in your business? Like all the time. Systemize that thing. Systemizing something means making a routine for how that thing is handled.
Let’s try an example: You get a new blogging client.
Maybe you have a certain set of onboarding questions you want to ask. Build a questionnaire as a template. Now it can be duplicated for every new client from here on out.
Then maybe your develop a content calendar for that client. Make a template of the calendar that can be used in the future. Then you make a schedule for when the client can expect the first drafts and when you need it reviewed. Now you have a system.
You don’t need to devote brain space to remembering what to ask a client on the onset. You don’t have to wonder when you have to submit the first draft because you know it’s always on x day of the month. Imagine what you can do with all that extra brain space.
Setting up a system can be a great way to focus your efforts and save your future self incalculable amount of time.
Be A Goal Digger
A lot of people are hard on New Year’s Resolutions and goals because more often than not they are not fulfilled. But to that I say: Phooey! That’s just quitter talk. Even if you set a bunch of goals and work towards them only to fall short - think about how much farther along you were than when you started.
Goals are amazing. They give the ability to decide what’s important to us and the excuse to focus our energy on those priorities. The important thing is to set goals you care about and that are realistic. The goals I listed above are just some I find a lot of small businesses need help with but maybe you don’t.
Make meaningful goals that can be obtained and work that shit until you make your dreams come true. But please for the love of all that is sacred in this life don’t let the talking head decide your goals.
You don’t need to set up an expensive social media ads campaign if you don’t want to. You don’t need to wake up at 6:00am and hustle your life away if you don’t want to. You don’t have to be anything bigger than a small business if you don’t want to.
Your business is enough. Your goals are big enough. Let’s not let ourselves be small shamed anymore.