Happy New Year!!!
Small business owners often go into the new year with the goal of strengthening and expanding their business. Like all new year’s resolutions, these plans can be limited when business owners are hit with the day-to-day challenges of life. However, there are some realistic resolutions that small business owners can set and achieve. Here are five of them.
1. Build an Online Presence and Take Advantage of Digital Tools
The pandemic created a need and opportunity to rely more on digital capabilities. The Small Business Roundtable’s annual report said that in 2020 many businesses are using web presence for awareness, customer acquisition, e-commerce capabilities, and digital fulfillment (no touch) where possible. If business owners are assessing whether they have fully implemented digital resources, they should ask themselves if they have a website and ways to receive payments digitally. If they do not, there are many resources to help them make the digital transition. For example, Forbes offers a step-by-step guide for pivoting your small business to online.
2. Create a Caregiving Plan for Your Employees
Covid-19 also highlighted and exacerbated challenges facing working caregivers. Business owners can support employees who are also caregivers by making a plan to adapt their business operations to meet the needs of family caregivers. Incorporate practices like flexible work-schedules, phased part-time, and cross-training to back-stop essential duties and prepare for employee absences due to personal illness or caring for children, senior citizens, and/or ill family members. AARP offers a caregiver guide for small business owners.
3. Get Certified
Business owners who are part of an underrepresented population or operate their business in an underserved community can apply for certifications intended to improve their access to hundreds of corporate representative and supplier diversity professional contacts. For example, the Biden Administration launched new efforts to build Black wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., has created the ByBlack initiative to give Black entrepreneurs access to valuable business resources. In addition, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, Disability: IN, and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council are just a few of the organizations that offer such a certification. Take time to explore what opportunities are available and the process for applying.
4. Get up to Speed on Federal Opportunities
For the rebuilding of the economy and infrastructure post-pandemic, there will be lots of funding going to states and localities from federal legislation, most notably the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. Small business owners should look into these and other federal contracting opportunities to determine if it makes sense to bid on them. The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a Good Jobs Challenge and the Minority Business Development Agency to support small businesses and Women Impacting Public Policy has targeted efforts to increase federal contracting for women business owners.
5. Join a Small Business Organization
Organizations for business owners exist in most communities. Not only do they give small business owners greater connections and leadership roles in their communities, these organizations can also help lead to more business opportunities. Business owners can learn more about the organizations in their cities or towns, such as a chamber of commerce or rotary club, and determine what makes the most sense to join. It may also make sense to become a member of a national business organization, such as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian American and Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, National Association for the Self-Employed, Small Business for America’s Future, and National Small Business Association.
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