In 2022, small businesses are coming off of the most turbulent year in modern history. The COVID-19 pandemic was incredibly challenging for small businesses. Some businesses had to just hang on during the pandemic while others had to pivot to find success. Still others just got off the ground and don’t know what a non-pandemic year looks like.
Whatever the case is for your particular small business, the year 2022 is a year to regroup and focus on growth.
There is no silver bullet for growth. Success is driven by all types of factors from the industry you’re in, to your physical location, to changing consumer demand. While there is no single right answer, there are a few things that almost all small businesses can do to grow this year.
Here are five great tips on how to grow your small business in 2022.
1. Know your core customer
Knowing who your core consumer is, what their challenges are, and what your business can do to help meet those challenges is a key to any business. In 2020, it wasn’t uncommon for businesses to lose focus on this core market and do what they had to do to survive. For newer businesses, it may be a matter of never having defined this primary client in the first place.
This is the year to paint a complete and comprehensive picture of who this customer is. What do they do? What do they need? Where are they? What else are they considering?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help inform every other move you make in 2022. Making a marketing or a branding decision, adding SKUs, or deciding on the best retail mix can all be made easier when you know who the person is you are targeting. Defining this core customer will even make executing the other tips on this list easier and more effective.
2. Use the RIGHT social media
Social media is a blessing and a curse for small businesses in 2022. This medium allows you to reach people small businesses have never been able to reach in the past. It also allows small businesses to compete with the “big guys” in their industry on equal footing.
On the flip side, social media can be confusing to customers or even off-putting if done wrong. It can also lead to companies throwing good money after bad in the hopes of having a viral hit.
The first step to executing a great social media plan is to be on the right platforms; the platforms where your core customers (see above) are.
If you are a B2B business, spend your social media time and budget on LinkedIn. If you are targeting an older crowd, work Facebook as hard as you can. For younger consumers try Instagram or – if they are even younger – TikTok. There are very few companies, especially small businesses that should be engaging on all these platforms so choose wisely for success.
3. Design a great website
It’s 2022. If you don’t have a killer website, you’re missing the boat in a huge way. Don’t worry if you don’t have the capital to hire a big web design firm, these days make a great website is easy enough to do yourself or in another affordable way.
You need a website that is functional and looks professional, not homemade (even if it is). You can find plenty of affordable themes on WordPress that will help you design a site that accomplishes just that. WordPress themes start at $50 and, with a little research and time, you can purchase one and create a great site.
If you don’t have the time or know-how to build your own site, that’s not a problem these days either. You can head to a freelancing site like Fiverr and find a talented pro to help you set up your site, even with a very limited budget in place.
4. Educate and train
Education and training are key elements for growth. If you are a one- or two-person operation, take the time to educate consumers on the features and benefits of your projects. You can make videos, hold webinars, are create marketing content that focuses on education.
If you have distributors or resellers involved, make sure you invest in educating them about your product and training them on how to best present it to consumers or retailers. A well-trained sales advocate is worth their weight in gold.
The same goes for employees. As an entrepreneur, your time is incredibly valuable and your days are packed to the brim with all the hats you wear. This can make it easy to not train employees as well as you should. Any time and money you spend on training, though, will make that employee so much better at their job and, it will make them more confident, fulfilled, and easier to retain which helps with growth.
5. Think about scalability
Executing these tips can lead to tremendous growth. The question is, once you grow, now what? Creating a business that can handle success and growth with the proper scalability is critical.
It can be easy to push for growth without having the proper systems, equipment, or personnel in place but your growth plan will ultimately backfire in the long run if this is the case.
They say you have to spend money to make money and, while this is overly simplistic, it is true at its core. Make the capital investment as early as you can in the tools you need to scale with growth. It is the only way (other than dumb luck) to sustain long-term growth.
Make 2022 not just another year you survive, but a year your business truly thrives. If you focus on knowing your core customer, using the right social media, making sure your website is best-in-class, educating and training, and scaling properly, there is no reason this year can’t be your best year in business yet.