Small and midsize businesses are the heart of BILL. When the pandemic began, our CEO, René Lacerte reaffirmed our commitment to SMBs. Between the pandemic and the ensuing economic disruptions, the past few years have been–well, challenging, to say the least.
But over the last three years, we have seen businesses continue to push through challenges and keep their businesses going strong. Time and time again, these businesses have shown their resilience, adaptability and determination to succeed.
If you’re a business owner, the start of 2023 may be the perfect time to step back, pause, and revisit your business strategy to ensure your company remains resilient, no matter what the future holds. Here are three steps to channel your resilience, boost your confidence, and build momentum to make 2023 your best year yet.
1. Tap into your resilience
Running a business is no easy feat, even in the best of times. Reminding yourself that you’ve already made it through countless challenges—pandemic shutdowns, rising prices, supply chain disruptions, employee shortages, or maybe even previous economic downturns —can put you in the right mindset to face whatever lies ahead.
Resilience is often driven by a willingness to pivot and adapt
The pandemic forced AE3 Architecture + CM to go fully remote–“scary for an architectural firm, which traditionally relies on their office space as a showcase and marketing tool,” says Jennifer Bauman, the San Francisco Bay Area-based firm’s CFO. But with accounts payable automation from BILL, Jennifer and her team moved their finance function to remote operations in just 18 hours, without compromising their productivity.
Resilience demands a willingness to bend, adapt, or pivot. Flexible businesses, like AE3, are more likely to have staying power.
2. Use resilience to boost your confidence
Confidence in your mission and your business can help you to see setbacks as opportunities. Take BILL customer, Redford Township District Library in Michigan. They used the pandemic as an opportunity to transform from neighborhood library into neighborhood lifeline. Because they automated their financial operations, they could focus on providing more resources for their community, including a garden seed library, summer games collection, and more.
When it comes to running a business, mindset matters. Here’s how to get your head in the game as we approach the new year.
Take an inventory of your challenges
Start by taking stock of your challenges, both past and future. Consider questions like:
Why do customers love my product or service?
What were my biggest challenges in 2022?
How can technology help streamline my business operations?
Where did my marketing goals fall short?
What markets remain untapped?
These questions can help you start strategizing ways to gain traction for 2023.
Create a plan
Anxiety thrives in uncertainty. The best way to tackle anxiety—and boost your confidence—is to get a complete picture of your business.
That means taking a hard look at the data. What kind of numbers did 2022 bring in terms of costs and revenue? You’ll want to reflect on these figures, and think about ways to maintain your trajectory or boost your revenue in the coming year.
Now is also an excellent time to update your business plan. Note any high-level changes to areas such as your leadership or legal structure, but pay attention to the nitty-gritty details, too. Your plan might include things like:
Updating or upgrading your website
Refreshing or augmenting your marketing strategy
Planning ahead for any staffing changes
Expanding to new marketing or social media channels
Strategizing ways to reach a new market or demographic
Streamline your core processes
When your business was in its infancy, you could handle many of its organizational processes on your own. But as it expands, these administrative tasks may distract you from doing what you love - serving your customers and growing your business.
When that happens, consider outsourcing. Outsourcing needs like accounting or marketing can save you time, and can cost a lot less than hiring another employee.
Automation is another critical way to save time and money. For example, Arizona Auto Parts used BILL to automate the AP process.
Kristopher Houchin, the company’s controller, notes that when he began working for Arizona Auto Parts, the company relied on paper checks. As a result, they faced lost checks and delayed payments.
BILL offered an ideal solution to “handle the sheer volume of checks we were writing,” Houchin continues. “Plus, it could scale with us as we grew. He describes BILL as, “A lifesaver. It’s worth its weight in gold.”
When you automate your financial processes, you’ll have more time to focus on other business activities. And with faster payments, you’ll have more cash flow to invest in your business.
3. Start building your 2023 momentum now
With the right plan, you’ll be prepared to hit the ground running in 2023. But how can you maintain your momentum throughout the year? Here are some New Year’s resolution ideas that can help you stay motivated from January to December.
Look for ways to improve customer service
Most people start businesses because they love to serve their customers. Your customers are at the center of what you do, and so customer service should be a top priority.
Even if your business has great customer service, there are always ways to build on this. This might include more training for your employees to deliver a top-quality experience. Automation can also help you have a frictionless experience when working with clients and vendors. Automated invoices and electronic payment options make it easy to conduct business, and some platforms can even send automatic reminders to gently nudge customers to render payment.
Happy customers mean happy employees, and a really happy business.
Expand your network
Business is all about relationships. But don’t wait for the right person to fall into your lap. Make it a priority to meet and follow up with new customer leads, business suppliers, or training and learning opportunities.
Setting aside this time will help you prioritize these professional relationships. Depending on your staffing, you might even encourage some of your employees to do the same, which can help you expand and augment your customer pipeline.
Nurture your company culture
You can foster greater employee engagement by focusing on your company culture.
Listen to your employees, and incorporate their feedback into your policies and decisions. Honor their contributions and amplify their wins.
Depending on your industry, you may even offer hybrid work options. The ability to work from home for at least a portion of the week can give your staff a better sense of work-life balance, a perk that can help you attract and retain top talent.
No matter how confident you are in January, you could find yourself dragging by the time March rolls around. As a business owner, you have many responsibilities - to your customers, employees, brand or investors. These responsibilities can seem overwhelming at times.
To maintain a positive outlook and sustain your own momentum throughout the year, find ways to step back now and then to focus on self-care. Automation can be a huge help in this regard, letting you fill your own cup without neglecting day-to-day business tasks.
Finally, remember your “why.” Reflecting on the passion that drew you to your business in the first place can give you a needed jump start.
How can you streamline your financial operations?
Many of these business resolutions revolve around the need for innovation and automation. BILL can help with that. We can streamline your financial operations with our affordable, state-of-the-art digital tools and help you start 2023 on the right foot. To learn more, visit our small business center today.