NCET helps you explore business and technology.
The New Year arrives in a few days, so consider these resolutions for your business for 2022:
As we enter the second year of the COVID pandemic, a business plan is more essential than ever. You wouldn’t drive to Florida without a map or bake a cake without a recipe, and you shouldn’t have a business without a business plan. It’s your “road map” to business success.
Business plans come in many shapes and sizes, and your format will depend on how you’re going to use it. What’s most important, however, is the process by which you create your plan, as most of a business plan’s value comes from the thought process you go through while writing it. If you need help with your plan, organizations such as the Nevada Small Business Development Center, SCORE and many others offer counseling and programs that can help you create or update your plan.
If you don’t have a business plan, create one now. If you have one, update it to ensure you’ve addressed changes you made to your business — or will need to make — due to COVID.
Your marketing plan can be either a part of your business plan or a standalone document. In either case, your marketing plan helps you understand your product and services, your customers and competitors, and how you’re going to advertise and sell your products and services. As with your business plan, you should revisit and revise your marketing plan on a regular basis. This is especially true as we continue to deal with COVID.
Find new revenue sources and control your expenses
A successful business owner focuses on both revenue and expenses and tries to ensure there’s more of the former than the latter. If you have a restaurant, for example, can you generate more revenue — and deal with staff shortages — by focusing on takeout and delivery rather than dine-in services? Can you generate more revenue by driving more lunch traffic by offering daily specials? Resolve to look for new revenue opportunities and to review every penny you spend to find ways to save.
These are closely related to your revenue and expenses resolution. You can’t evaluate your expenses and revenues unless you’re able to run understandable and actionable reports. QuickBooks, for example, provides a wide range of reports, but you must know what to ask for. And your books need to be accurate and in order, but that’s a whole separate set of resolutions.
Most small companies are started by someone who’s very good at something, such as accounting, photography or web design. That same person, however, might not be as strong in finance, marketing or legal matters. The good news is that Northern Nevada is home to a tremendous number of professional development and continuing/community education resources. These range from UNR, TMCC and WNC, to professional organizations such as the American Marketing Association, Professional Saleswomen of Nevada, Nevada Realtors, Nevada Society of CPAs and many, many more.
Social media is a very inexpensive way to promote your business. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and other services allow you to promote your business in a very cost-effective way. Many local organizations, including NCET, offer free or low-cost workshops on social media.
Board of advisers
As with professional development and continuing education classes, a board of advisers can help you round out the skills you may lack. The role of your advisers is simple: to give you someone to bounce ideas off and to provide advice and feedback. Having a second opinion can be very valuable, so you should select a board of advisers with backgrounds different than yours. If you’re a photographer, for example, someone with a finance background might be a great adviser. You need people who will be completely honest with you, so avoid friends, family or your spouse, as they might hesitate to be completely candid.
Good luck with all your resolutions, and best wishes for a successful 2022!
Dave Archer is president/CEO of NCET (www.NCET.org), Northern Nevada’s largest member-supported nonprofit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore businesses and technology.