If it seems like this year is going by at warp speed, you’re not alone. All of us can see 2022 around the corner, and that means now is the perfect time to start a plan for the months ahead.
Running a small business means wearing a ton of hats, but there are a few methods and tools that might make that easier on you.
1. Start with a strategy!
Don’t kick off any kind of project without developing your strategy first. That means defining your project goals, responsibilities, and resources on hand. It can be tempting to get hit with inspiration and run with an idea … that kind of energy is exciting!
But that ready-fire-aim method can go off the rails pretty quickly. Keep motivated, but pause and determine your resources and next steps first before making an impulsive decision.
TIP: Document your strategy first and communicate that with your team! Using a shared drive (like Google) for your documents keeps all team members on the same page, all headed in the same direction — toward success.
2. Establish policies for communication and project deliverables.
Plan documentation is great because it creates a standard for communication on the team. If you’ve worked in startups, though, it can be rare. So many projects and decisions are made on the fly in the startup world, that it’s easy for stakeholders and employees to lose track of progress.
“When the rubber hits the road, documentation will be one of those things that you’ll be glad that you did. Whether a team member is unexpectedly absent or you aren’t sure how to move forward with an unfamiliar initiative, those records will be an undeniably handy resource,” according to Atlassian.
Set expectations with everyone ahead of time, so your colleagues and crew are on the same page about project responsibilities, communication, and deadlines.
TIP: Tools like Slack help with communication between team members and for any remote employees you might work with. You can share files, integrate with project management software, and send funny GIFs. And Slack helps to take time zones into account if your team is remote (and you don’t want to bug them on weekends.)
3. Use tech to support project planning.
We live in a day and age where project management software — even the free versions — can help you track all aspects of a project. This makes sharing documents and communication with team members easier. (You can find a great list of free project management software programs over on HubSpot.)
The best project management app is debatable, but it boils down to one feature: The best tool is the one that you’ll actually use.
TIP: Start with a free software like Asana before upgrading to something more complicated or pricey.
4. Note your failures and celebrate your successes.
Project management software helps because you’ll be able to note patterns in your progress, frequent setbacks, or where team members might need additional time or support for tasks. Tracking your projects and the goals you set for them helps to establish a metric for success in your company.
And you should be sure to congratulate yourself and your team on successes. “We start our businesses because we dream of the rewards it will bring. But what good is running a business if you never cash in on your accomplishments?” writes Chris Ronzio for Inc. You can celebrate in small ways, with something like a nice card or free coffee. But seasonal bonuses are also a good idea!
TIP: Celebrate successes but don’t gloss over your failures. Setbacks and missed deadlines help to teach us about missed opportunities, and offer a way to grow in your business. Learn from them and move on.
Set Up Your Business for Success in 2022
Growing a small business is a challenge, but working in a community of like-minded people can support entrepreneurs and startups like yours. Include in your plan, joining a coworking community to build your own network of support.
Coworking spaces are dedicated communities built specifically so that entrepreneurs and freelancers can work on their business. Coworking reduces start up costs, provides a built-in community, and opens the door to countless opportunities for people to grow their business.
See how coworking helps freelancers, small businesses, and remote workers find success: Stop by Alkaloid today!