Article

Five ways your business can thrive in 2022 and beyond

Brian Moran | Founder & CEO, Small Business Edge

April 25, 2022

We’re midway through 2022, and the world is still dealing with the consequences of the pandemic. Companies of all sizes have had to make hard decisions. Others had to close. And a countless number of people have left the corporate world to chase their own dreams and start new ventures.

Knowing that the second half of this year can go in several different directions, how can business owners put together a plan of action not only to survive, but take advantage of opportunities and thrive?

According to The Worldpay from FIS® 2021 SMB PACE (Performance Against Customer Expectations) Report, three central themes emerged last year for small-to-midsize businesses:

  1. Businesses that started digitalizing to survive will now continue to thrive.
  2. Certain COVID-19 implications accelerated digital transformation, resulting in unforeseen benefits for small business.
  3. Payments will be central to business success going forward.

Below are five ways to increase your probability of success the remainder of this year. It’s important to incorporate these things into your business proactively rather than reactively. Be confident in your decisions, but also have contingency plans in place. Just in case.

1) Create a GPS plan and review it regularly

After you have set your strategic goals for the year (typically a specific number such as revenue or profit), take time to plan out exactly how you will achieve your goals – something called a GPS plan. A good plan includes monthly revenue projections from existing clients and new clients. It also outlines everything you need to do, from marketing to hiring new employees, investing in equipment to opening new locations. A well thought out plan will include every step you should take from today until December 31, 2022.

You must treat your GPS plan as a living, breathing document. Keep a copy nearby so you can refer to it on a regular basis. Set up monthly meetings with key people on your team as well as advisers (e.g., lawyer, accountant, business coach) to make sure you are still on track for the year.

2) Play the what if game

What if you lose a key client? What if your business gets hacked? What if you or one of your partners require time away? This “what if” game addresses many of the unknown issues lurking in the back of your mind that keep you up at night. Often, business owners do not want to address their biggest fears because they do not know what to do if those fears become reality.

Let us address them. If you lost a client or failed to win a contract that you projected to land, you must then commit to either finding a new client or getting more revenue from existing clients. Look into disability insurance to cover your business in the event a key member of your team should need it. Train your staff on cybersecurity measures to provide at least some measure of resistance to hackers. Additionally, keep your data in the cloud and back it up.

Write down the 10 biggest “what if” questions in your business. In a meeting with your employees and advisers, list the top two answers for each question. Then give copies to everyone. This is your response plan if something goes wrong, which should help everyone in your company sleep at little easier at night. Done correctly, the “what if” game can help prepare your business for potentially catastrophic challenges. You may get knocked down, but you won’t get knocked out.

3) Form stronger virtual connections with your customers and prospects

How did your company maintain relationships with customers and prospects since March 2020? If in-person meetings and events were critical to your business, then the pandemic tossed one massive monkey wrench into your plans. Yet if you are still in business today, then somehow you managed to successfully maintain connectivity with the people and companies that played an integral role in helping you hit your goals in 2020 and 2021.

In The 2021 SMB PACE Report, approximately six in 10 companies opened new lines of business or changed their products and services. Technology adoption such as contactless and mobile payments aligned almost seamlessly with the changing buyer behaviors of their customers. More importantly, nearly all businesses in the 2021 SMB PACE Report plan to adopt or improve technologies in the next 12 months.

Until we resume in-person meetings and events on a regular basis, digital connectivity will be a top resource in business. Even after we get back to doing business face to face, virtual transactions and e-commerce will remain vital channels for all companies.

4) Don’t let time thieves steal your most important currency

One of the biggest differences between successful people and those who fail is the way they manage their time. Some people invest their time wisely while others foolishly spend it without getting any kind of return on investment.

How do you manage the time in your waking hours? Do you break it down into sections? Do you have a plan on how you will spend your time each day? Here is a tip: the more detailed your daily plan, the better your chances are for daily success.

Another takeaway I found in The 2021 SMB PACE Report was that 84% of respondents said they used the pandemic to streamline business operations to be more efficient and cost effective. I’m impressed that so many companies, in the middle of chaos, saw an opportunity to improve productivity. I would love to hear more stories about companies managing time more effectively in 2022.

5) Stay on top of your financials – especially the variable costs

If we learned anything from the past two years, it’s that business can be wildly unpredictable. When supply chains became bottlenecked, the ratio between supply and demand grew more unbalanced, and the cost of everything kept going up. Labor, materials, goods and services grew by double and sometimes triple digits over the past 12-24 months.

Without tracking variable costs weekly – and raising prices or rates when necessary – business owners might find themselves in a painful financial squeeze. You could be losing money with every sale you make today.

It is imperative that your bookkeeper or accountant tracks all variable costs associated with your business. They might suggest looking for alternative suppliers, cutting back on certain products or services that have become too expensive or getting a line of credit to deal with the ebbs and flows of your cash flow. The more information you have on your financial situation, the better your chances for success in navigating uncharted waters.

These are my five tips for thriving in 2022. If you have more suggestions or questions about my advice, please feel free to email me at brian@smallbusinessedge.com. Thanks for taking time to read my post today, and best of everything to you and your business in 2022.