Taking Care of Business
Self-care, understandably, has reached an outsize importance in a small business owner’s life. The past year demanded a LOT from us, and somewhere along the way we had to be called to action… for ourselves! We had to remember to stop and breathe and treat ourselves well, so that we could give and serve from a place of strength instead of exhaustion.
Now, as we move forward with hope that the pandemic can improve this year, and perhaps even come to an end, I’ve realized that we ALSO need to step up our game with taking care of BUSINESS—namely, with the pieces of a business that only an owner can do.
Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting we should swing this pendulum back to the extreme and work ourselves into a frenzy. (No way!) But I do believe it’s time to hunker down on giving your business the same level of care you’ve committed to giving yourself. It’s time to dust off the cobwebs of pre-pandemic life, re-write goals, clean up systems, and do the executive work that your business needs to be its healthiest in 2021.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but here’s what I mean:
Get with your attorney and make sure you’re on the right side of the law with employee contracts, handbooks, and hiring/firing procedures. Tighten up your client policies and release forms with a legal thumbs-up. This is an investment well-spent to ensure your business can stand up in a court of law if anything ever happened.
Have a heart-to-heart with your accountant. Review your chart of accounts and financial reports from the past three years. Tell them about your 10 year goals and beyond, like if you plan to expand your locations, hire more employees, or even retire. Ask them to help you plan strategically for the best financial outcome in 2021 so you can achieve the vision you have in mind further down the road.
Contact your insurance agent(s) and look over your policies together. You may need to update enrollment numbers, talk to them about facility changes, or scale your coverage up or down. Review it all with a new, post-pandemic perspective. Now is the time to make sure that what you have in place truly insures what you want and expect.
Audit your technology and facilities. With all the changes you may have implemented in 2020, your studio might have everything it needs—or you may need a Wi-Fi booster or to repurpose that extra webcam. Maybe your HVAC now requires more frequent maintenance or you need to rethink your lobby layout. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing you checked every angle of the physical space for improvements.
Evaluate your team. Whether you regularly conduct employee reviews or not, now is the time to analyze the “seats on the bus” to better understand what’s working well and what may need to change in 2021. Ask for feedback and be prepared to give it too, and use this new knowledge to shape up the roles and organization of your team.
Study your programs and pricing. You may have had three-year or five-year plans in place for tuition changes or new programs, and we all know that went out the window with the pandemic! So it’s time to get back in the saddle again; open those spreadsheets and look at them with fresh eyes. Where might you need to trim an underperforming (not profitable) program? When do prices need to increase for your competitive kids? What does your studio need to thrive?
Get back on track with your goals. As a small business owner, your goals drive the business forward. You are the one who casts the vision; who says, “Here’s what’s POSSIBLE” while working with your team on how to make the possibilities into reality. The goals you used to have for your business might not apply anymore. Maybe they’ve been amplified or even taken a totally new direction. Either way, it’s time to RECAST that vision to yourself and your people!
When you became a small business owner, you knew it would have its challenges. None of us knew, of course, what kinds of challenges would await in 2020! But the best part about challenges is overcoming them… and by taking care of the business, with the work only YOU can do, you are overcoming and achieving like you never have before! Look at this year as a renewal of your entrepreneurial spirit. It’s going to be huge!