These are all things to keep in mind, no matter what 2021 throws at us:
1. The vaccine is being rolled out, so keep calm and carry on. Even IF a future mutation isn’t covered by the current vaccine, with the new technology we are talking minor tweak as opposed to starting from scratch, so an updated version would be available in the shake of a lamb’s tail.
2. Support your local microbusinesses and SMEs. Whether in your personal life or your business life, where you place your business makes a huge difference to the health of the overall economy. Over 99% of businesses in the UK are micro or SME, they are the backbone of the economy. So, supporting them helps the overall economy to grow quicker for all of us.
3. Pay your suppliers on time. Cashflow is absolutely key for businesses, so pay on time or even early. It fosters loyalty, great customer service and gives the supplier confidence in the future.
4. Fortune favours the brave. Have you been considering setting up a business? Striding out on your own? Scared about the downturn being the worst time to start? Well, it isn’t, there are large household names out there that started in downturns – Uber, Cisco… If you need the certainty of an income how about testing the water with a side hustle or moving to part time paid work so that the bills are covered whilst you get set up. There are lots of places to get help from, don’t be afraid to ask!
5. Expect to get what you pay for. During 2020 we’ve had to help out various companies who had entrusted someone on UpWork or PeoplePerHour to write a business plan or marketing schedule, but it wasn’t good enough. Sites such as those may give you a low price, but then the content is lacking. The work then has to be redone which costs in two ways – the replacement work cost and the lost opportunity cost of the time that passes whilst you realise it is not good enough and then the time spent having to redo it / have it redone.
6. Smile as you answer the phone. A smile can be heard. It portrays confidence and success as well as happiness. If you sound happy then the prospect / customer can hear that and has subliminal reassurance that you will deliver for them too.
7. If you’ve received good work – whether someone internally or externally to your organisation – say thank you. It doesn’t cost anything, but it is invaluable to the receiver when it is heartfelt.
8. Don’t be afraid to walk away from business. Most of us have had a tough 2020, and maybe have agreed to do work that we wouldn’t normally do to pay the bills, BUT if you have a client who when an email comes in your smile evaporates, or someone wants to pay a fraction of the normal rate for work, DON’T be afraid to say no. It may be a short-term hit, but energy drained by the wrong type of client or work is not healthy. You will feel much better and one of the reasons that you have your own business is so that you can control what it is that you do. Use the time released by “sacking” the client or prospect to find more of your ideal clients!
9. Invest in yourself. Training to keep your skills up to date can be free of charge or paid for. For some careers to keep the accreditation training has to be done, for others CPD (continual professional development) is optional but is best practice. In order to best serve your clients, you have to be up to date, so time spent on training is not wasted time at all.
10. Take time off to recharge your batteries, to relax. Yes, running your own business can be all consuming and stressful, especially so during years like the one we’ve just had, but remember that if you over do it you could burn out and where will that leave your business? You have to take care of both your physical and mental health. Don’t be afraid to take a break – it will benefit your business!
11. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Outsource or delegate the tasks that you can’t do or really don’t enjoy. It can be hard to trust others with your business, but it will benefit both your business and you. Asking experts in their fields to help you allows you to spend more time on clients and prospects.
12. But most of all, ENJOY 2021! There will be bad times and good times, but remember to enjoy life, from the little things up, no matter what it throws our way.