Are you happy with how your business did this year? What are you going to do differently? How can you hire the right people to support your vision? Unfortunately, many small business owners do not spend enough time planning for the future. It’s quite understandable.
Owners must keep pace with the daily demands of their businesses, including payroll, taxes, product/service delivery, and managing customer expectations. In addition to all these usual demands for the entrepreneur’s attention, COVID-19 and its variants have wreaked havoc on the traditional thinking of operating a successful business.
Here we are at the end of the year, a perfect time for a comprehensive evaluation of your business. Albert Einstein once said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Small business must think differently in the throes of a pandemic. What about doing a business checkup? Most people can relate to the kind of checkup they have with their doctor, during which he or she will conduct a variety of tests, including blood, vision, heart, and hearing. This article examines the significance of conducting just as effective a checkup to improve your business’s situation in 2022.
Did the pandemic set your business back? Certainly things are not the same. According to Gartner survey of 129 executives, 22% of corporate leaders have delayed their office reopenings while 34% of these executives have made no decisions about reopenings in 2022 due to the Omicron virus. Additionally, nonresidential construction remains 20% below the pre-pandemic level, while consumer purchases of durable goods soared to almost 30% above the pre-pandemic level noted Deloitte Insight.
Furthermore, the Great Resignation of 2021 brought a worker shortage across almost the entire United States. Small businesses were not immune to labor shortages. According to the JOLTS report in the fall of 2021, the number of workers quitting their jobs remained high, about 4.2 million workers or 2.8% of the workforce. Small and medium-sized businesses accounted for 90% of these job openings.
Today’s small businesses need to retool and innovate products and/or processes so that they can become more efficient and effective. Staying one step ahead of the competition isn’t good enough in the kind of disruptive environment we have experienced over the past couple of years. Eventually customers grow weary of what they perceive as a lack of adaptability in your business, and they will look to find a competitor that meets their needs. Sadly, the shortage of workers doesn’t make your challenge any easier.
So it’s imperative that small businesses must be willing to evaluate their current operations and make the required changes. An end-of-the-year check-up may be the turning point of your business. What constitutes a business checkup or business evaluation? It is one that involves a comprehensive review of the critical elements in your operations, one of which is customer service. By this process, a business can identify its strengths and its opportunities for improvement that can lead it to build a competitive advantage in the market.
In our book, Small Business Marketing, Dr. McCann and I provide a roadmap and simple checklist small businesses can use to evaluate themselves. Businesses must have an effective means of evaluating the internal and external factors that are integral to their operations.
With the appropriate diagnosis, a business can develop more sustainable success. Thus, the right checkup is critical. Below are some critical questions to help you conduct your own self-checkup:
- Do you have a clear vision for your business? What is it?
- Do you know why your customers buy from you and why others do not?
- What results are you getting from your marketing? Do you have an effective online presence on the internet?
- Are you collecting the right kind of data about your customers and competitors?
- Are you keeping pace with your industry trends? If so, what are the key trends?
- How are you measuring results (i.e., key performance indicators like cash flow and revenue)?
- What are your key competitors’ marketing strategies?
- Have you evaluated your strengths and weaknesses (i.e., SWOT Analysis)?
Do you desire better outcomes for your business in 2022? If so, the better results won’t come by accident? Your actions must be deliberate. Thinking outside of the box in a pandemic environment is a neccessity, not merely something on a wishlist. Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
Thus, small businesses that want to succeed in this uncertain environment must conduct a self-evaluation or checkup. This article demonstrated the significance of an effective checkup to improve your business’s situation in 2022. Don’t miss this opportunity. There are various organizations like the Small Business Administration and local universities that can assist in this process. Start the new year with a healthy business checkup. I pray that it isn’t too late.
© 2022 by D. D. Green
About Dr. Daryl D. Green:
Dr. Daryl Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s small businesses. He is a business professor and a small business owner. Viewers can tuned into his talk show, Small Business Marketing on his YouTube Channel. If you would like more information about this article or business assistance, please contact Dr. Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drdarylgreen.com.