While many individuals are ready to say goodbye to 2020, there are still lingering doubts about what 2021 could hold. After all, will the next year really be that much better for startups? With a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon and the potential for the world to return to relative normality, the new year holds a lot of potential.
However, you can’t expect 2021 to do all the heavy lifting on your behalf. Instead, it would help if you were a bit more proactive with your business plan. Whether this means choosing some new software platforms for your team members or upgrading your home office, there are ways to give yourself a competitive edge. If you’re ready for an outstanding 2021, here’s what you need to know.
Invest in user testing.
If you want to know how to become a successful entrepreneur and business owner, you need to ensure that your products meet higher standards. Too many brands believe they’ve developed a killer app or winning prototype and rush it to market without adequate testing. On top of that, some companies fail to incorporate market feedback that could help them make tweaks and adjustments. As a result, it’s harder for their products to succeed in the long-term. While this seems like a basic business mistake, you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs make it. To really give yourself a leg up on the competition, you need to incorporate constructive criticism effectively. One of the fundamental steps revolves around user testing or a usability test.
User testing commonly impacts the tech sectors. For example, if you’re developing a new mobile application, you’ll want to know how to implement a user testing program to gauge performance and find different areas of opportunity and growth. User testing programs can also help brands spot common bugs, UX issues, and UI improvements. When you combine user testing with direct consumer feedback and different application iterations, it’s much easier to develop a winning product that can provide true value to your target audience. If you’re unfamiliar with user testing, there are plenty of software platforms and programs that streamline the process on your behalf. That way, you can focus your time and resources on growth and expansion.
Trim the operational fat.
If you don’t have a clear model of best practices for your operations, you’re likely to face a great deal of hard work as your small business scales. While it may seem redundant in some cases, the first step is to have clearly defined procedures for your daily tasks and operations. In many ways, it’s beneficial to streamline your business operations. This means reviewing your current performance, trimming out unnecessary components, and adding tools that can enhance your workflow. Otherwise, you’ll have a much harder time keeping pace with your direct competitors. Of course, operational growth can seem a bit vague, so reviewing some examples is important.
For instance, if you still rely on spreadsheets to track your inventory management procedures, you’re probably losing time managing the files and money due to all-too-real human errors. Instead, you could switch to a digital inventory management system that can automate some more mundane and time-consuming tasks. With digital platforms, you could invest more in general automation. As the system tracks which products aren’t selling, you can set alerts for low stock amounts and automate the ordering process.
Naturally, this works for various industries, even if you don’t handle physical inventory or simply offer services. There are always ways to rethink how you approach your daily workload. In some cases, you’ll need an outside eye to help you determine areas of improvement. You can do this by hiring a consultant or partnering with a firm that can recommend key upgrades and initiatives for your brand.
Dress like a professional.
It’s important to make sure that your outward appearance reflects your internal drive. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a business wardrobe that shows you’re ready to take your brand to the next level. While you don’t have to wear a suit and tie each day you’re in the office, you should at least have a wardrobe filled with business-casual outfits. High-quality denim, wide width flats, and a solid blouse make a perfect business outfit. You also don’t have to reinvent the fashion wheel or empty your wallet if you’re looking to revamp your style.
You can even do some thrifting if you prefer. It’s a great way to save some money. Plus, you never know what you might be able to find at a consignment shop or a secondhand store. Don’t be afraid to do some experimenting, either. You never know what pieces will and won’t work for you and your brand until you try them on.
Amp up your office.
Due to COVID-19, many businesses are operating remotely. This comes with its fair share of challenges. After all, unless you crafted your brand as a remote business, you’re probably dealing with an at-home space that wasn’t designed for brand management. Often, this process involves remodeling your home office. You need to carve out a space that gives you room to focus on work. If you’re constantly juggling distractions or you don’t have adequate room to focus, you’re going to struggle.
When you’re revamping your home office, start by investing in a high-quality chair and a standing desk. Your chair should have lumbar support to protect your back while you’re sitting. A standing desk can also help get you on your feet now and then. While it won’t make up for a regular physical activity, it doesn’t wear on your body as much as constantly sitting.
If you want to grow your business during 2021, you need to set yourself up for success. Growth takes many forms. For one entrepreneur, it might mean spending some capital on a new software platform. For another, it could mean spending more time on social media, customer service, and the testing process to reach target users. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth the investment.