5 small business owners share their resolutions for 2020

With the end of the year approaching, this is a time to celebrate the successes of 2019 and set small business resolutions for 2020.

In your personal life, maybe you’re setting new year goals to exercise more or learn a new language…but what are your new year resolutions for work?

We checked in with some of the guests from our Small Business Stories podcast to see what real entrepreneurs are shooting for next year. Whether they’re starting the new year with ambitious objectives or small-scale goals, here are their new year resolution ideas for 2020. Check out what they're doing and get excited about your own resolutions for next year.

Top small business new year resolutions:

  • Improve customer experience
  • Hire new employees
  • Value yourself
  • Look at the big picture

1. Improve customer experience

Stuart “Tommo” Thomson, founder and CEO of Skuna (formerly HotTug), says that his resolution for 2020 is to “spend more time perfecting our customer experience so it is truly the best.”

Tommo’s on to something—according to American Express’s 2017 Customer Service Barometer, millennials are willing to spend as much as 21% more for an excellent customer experience. Plus, a quality experience can turn new customers into regular visitors, ultimately adding value to your business.

Give customers the right tools

Create a seamless customer experience by making your information easy to find, whether via an FAQ highlight on your Instagram Stories or a contact form on your website. It should always be easy for customers to get in touch with you and find the info they need (like your business hours and service rates!).

Go the extra mile

Improve your customer’s start-to-finish experience by going above and beyond. Does a shopper want to purchase one of your T-shirts in a color you don’t currently offer? Does one of your customers need a batch of custom cupcakes in less than 24 hours? If you’re able to provide the service they need, do it.

Reward your regulars

In Vistaprint's recent study about small business goals for 2020, nearly 30% of business owners said they want to generate returning customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is with a rewards program. Give frequent customers a VIP-level experience with loyalty programs, special discounts, and exclusive events. Creating a memorable experience sets your business apart from the competition. Alice Mayor, owner of We Built This City, a London souvenir store that celebrates local arts, is an advocate for rewarding her regulars.

“Our regular customers are always invited to new pop-up launches and sales ahead of the general public. They’re also on a database that receives exclusive launches of new, limited-edition collections.”

2. Hire new employees

Charlie Spokes, founder of My Friend Charlie, has specific growth goals. “My big resolution is to take on two new area managers to run events in two new cities. We've hit a high growth stage and are ready to capitalize on the traction we've generated.”

Angela Marenghi, owner of Little Bird Events, also wants to focus on expanding her team—more specifically, hiring support staff in 2020.

For small business owners, hiring a new employee (maybe your first-ever employee!) is a benchmark moment. Here’s how to make sure you find the right person.

Decide what kind of help you need

Your business is your baby…what can you trust an employee to do?

Start by asking yourself some questions. Do you need full-time help or just someone to come in a few hours a week? Should they be highly-skilled, or someone you can easily train? How much can you afford to pay them?

Define the role

Once you’ve figured out what kind of help you need, start crafting the job description. Make sure the title accurately describes the role—this will help you receive applications from relevant candidates. In addition to specifics about the position, include information about your company and the kind of culture you want to create.

Find the right candidate

Though you should post the job in all the usual online places (like LinkedIn and Indeed), consider also taking a word-of-mouth approach. Maybe someone in your book club has a niece with free time on the weekends, or knows a neighbor that was just laid off. Hiring someone through a referral is an easy way to ensure candidates are vetted.

Do the paperwork.

Legally, the most important of hiring someone is the paperwork. Make sure you have a contract in place that outlines the responsibilities and conditions of the role. Meeting with a lawyer now could save you time, money, and headaches in the future.

3. Value yourself

Angela Marenghi, owner of Little Bird Events, wants to charge what she’s worth in 2020. Offering lower prices than your area competitors can be a smart business tactic…but not if you don’t feel like you’re earning what you’re worth.

Compare your pricing

Take a look and see what competitors in your area (and beyond) are charging. If your prices are below market value, think about charging more—Score.org suggests starting by raising prices on your most popular products and services.

Understand your own value

You’re an expert—maybe you’ve started taking your skills for granted, and now, you could be losing out on revenue. To understand your value, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much did it cost you to become skilled at what you do?
  • How long did it take you?
  • How long have you been doing what you do?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself when you first started?
  • How would you rate yourself now?

Once you understand your own value, you can better communicate it to clients.

Add a guarantee

Give your services or products more credibility by backing them with a guarantee. According to Entrepreneur.com, a guarantee strengthens your business, increases your value, and can ultimately translate into higher rates. Plus, customers are more likely to accept higher prices if they’re getting something extra…like a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

4. Look at the big picture

Heather Yunger, owner of Top Shelf Cookies, wants to work on saying “no” in 2020. “I say yes to almost everything and I’ve gotten away from being mindful about where we spend our time. I need to do a better job at looking at the larger picture.”

Remember why you started

Whether you started with a side hustle or went all-in on a brick and mortar space, most small businesses are fueled by passion. But once the “honeymoon phase” is over, it’s easy to get bogged down by stress, lack of stability, and a poor work-life balance.

Last year, we asked small business owners how they reignite their passion…the biggest takeaway? Challenging themselves to try something different.

Say “no.”

Steve Jobs famously said, “Innovation is saying “no” to 1,000 things.”

As an entrepreneur, you might feel obligated to take every opportunity that comes your way even if it’s not particularly lucrative. Learning to say “no” is about valuing your time, establishing boundaries with your customers, and focusing on your long-term goals.

But when you say “no,” do it in a way that keeps the door open. Explain that you don’t currently have the bandwidth to take on the project, or that you can’t operate at the price they’re requesting.

Leave your comfort zone

Brit Wilkins, co-founder of Freedom Found Co., is ready to take her business to a new level. “This year in 2020, we’d like to stop “hiding” in our talents and natural comfort zones. I sit in that place that makes me feel cozy instead of getting up and doing some of the things that scare me or would elevate us to the next level.”

Here are some things you can do to get out of your comfort zone:

  • Try a trade show. This is something Heather wants to do—specifically, attend a competitive show with other businesses in Dallas.
  • Host an in-store event. Bring people into your retail space with a customer event. Send personal invitations with a special offer, and make sure they leave with a branded souvenir.
  • Partner with another small business. Partnering with other businesses in your area is an easy way to increase your visibility, learn from your peers, and form lasting alliances.
  • Build a new website. According to our study, one of the top ten small business goals for 2020 is to build a new website, or update a current one. Creating a website can be a major undertaking, but our Design Services team is here to help.

Each Small Business Story is unique...just like you and your business.

Vistaprint's small business podcast shares candid tales of the struggles business owners face and the tips they'd give others who are thinking about starting a new venture.

Whether you're starting your entrepreneurial journey or have a handful of successful companies under your belt, Small Business Stories offers an honest glimpse into what it takes to succeed.

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