Never Go Back to Business as UsualMay 04, 2021 06:21PM ● By Kristian Grant
The pandemic has changed business forever. While many of us have uttered the phrase, "I can't wait until everything is back to normal," the truth is, our world cannot go back to pre-2020. However, a new year is a new reality that brings the opportunity to continue growing professionally. Here are seven ways we can all maximize success in 2021.
Connect with Support Groups
Online business communities offer a vast opportunity to learn and safely connect with diverse individuals. Establishing new relationships with others who are facing similar business obstacles is extremely beneficial. Whether you're looking for tips on increasing business credit, learning about tax requirements or forming new business allies, there's a Facebook group or online business forum to help. National and international communities offer a chance to connect with people worldwide, while hyperlocal groups can help form relationships with those in your community.
Find a Coach or a Mentor
Whether they know it or not, I think of my business coach as a business therapist of sorts. Some weeks our calls are about a specific issue I need to address, while other weeks are a cathartic venting session where I can be vulnerably honest about the challenges I'm facing. However, no matter my mindset, I always value the time I set aside to talk to someone who has a different perspective. Together, we learn from each other and find solutions.
Make New Goals
2020 sucker punched the economy so hard, many people abandoned their original goals and focused solely on surviving. This instinct is natural, but a new year is a time to make new goals based on your current position. Review your 2021 goals and establish new metrics. Goals can be related to serving more people, marketing initiatives like advertising and content creation or improving your financials. Setting SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based will have significant results for your business. Once you establish your goals, map them out, hold yourself accountable and, most importantly, give yourself grace when you experience setbacks.
Continued social distancing doesn't mean you have to conduct business alone. There are countless companies and entrepreneurs around you who provide complementary services or products. Be intentional about connecting with these individuals and find mutually beneficial ways to help each other. Collaboration is a great way to leverage each other's audiences and share resources, leading to increased reach and sales.
Tell Your Story Better
It's easy to feel like the loudest voice in the room is the most heard. However, it's the most transparent and consistent voice that people want to listen to and interact with. Reexamine your brand story. Highlight who you are, what you do, why you do it and the challenges you've encountered. These are all opportunities for your customers to form a relationship with your brand. Share your story openly and consistently in a way that provides chances for customers to engage with you.
Take time to learn and master your lane; it's worth it. Every day the world is changing. Set aside time for continuing your education. Use the time to research emerging industry trends, online groups to join or what your competition is up to.
Take a Vacation
That's it. That's the advice. Avoid burnout by taking a well-deserved break. Even if you're not flying to an exotic destination, pre-planned vacation days are an opportunity to unplug from your phone and computer and enjoy time with family or close friends in a safe way. Spending a day without your schedule revolving around your business allows you to return to work with renewed focus and clarity.
Instead of longing for the past, entrepreneurs, businesses and nonprofits must find ways to serve their customers and community better and stay connected to them, no matter what the future holds.
Kristian Grant is a Grand Rapids native and entrepreneur. She created the Game Plan Lifestyle Planner as a resource to help busy entrepreneurs like herself track their schedules and map out goals for the year. Kristian currently serves as a trustee for the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education, as well as a board member for several economic and community development organizations.