After a challenging year dealing with the pandemic, hiring and retaining team members and managing supply chain issues, many companies were hoping to heave a sigh of relief saying goodbye to 2021 and moving forward. But it seems we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Logistics challenges remain, talent is scarce and Covid hasn’t become the faint memory we all hoped it would.
But we can take our learnings from 2021 and apply them to challenges we may face in the coming year. Below are lessons we share with our independent distributors around the world to help them thrive and grow their businesses.
1. Stay positive and nimble.
Despite the challenges of the last few years, there are still reasons to be optimistic. Many small businesses found ways to pivot and innovate to keep their business going and growing, so there’s no reason that growth can’t continue.
In the early days of the pandemic our resilient distributors were the epitome of staying positive and nimble. They worked hard to respond to increasing demand for quality nutrition products and to meet the needs of individuals seeking economic opportunity, while adhering to new social distancing requirements. They adjusted how they conducted business, but what they didn’t change was their passion for their purpose—to help others achieve their wellness goals. That positivity and passion is irresistible and translated to their success.
If you feel good about your small business, you are not alone. According to the most recent IPSOS/US Chamber of Commerce Poll, 62% of small businesses say their organizations are in good health—a slight increase from 2021 Q3 (55%) and 10 percentage points higher than at the start of the year in 2021 Q1 (52%). The most optimistic sign is that many small businesses say theirs is in excellent health, or 30% now vs. 20-23% throughout 2021. Being confident about the future is a powerful way to approach a new year and radiate that optimism to your team and clients.
2. Remember what worked and find new opportunities.
A great way to start the new year is by reflecting on what worked well in 2021, especially when the pandemic concerns resurface. Did you find a way to cut costs or streamline your processes? Did you improve client services with added technology solutions? Perhaps with limited in-person meetings, you found new, innovative ways to connect more with customers. You may have set up regular video meetings or email check-ins. Some business owners report finding more profound connections with their clients as they shared more personal information about how they and their families were navigating the challenges over the past two years. Continue to build on what worked to grow your business.
As the adage goes, “when one door closes, another opens.” Though it may seem sometimes that the pandemic door will never close, remember we are making progress on all fronts, and sometimes just progress, however small, can be enough.
For example, when health regulations prohibited in person gatherings, many of our distributors pivoted their businesses to find new opportunities from in-person coaching to engaging with their customers in digital environments. And those who own nutrition clubs pivoted from indoor services to offering curbside shake pickup. Now, as restrictions relax, distributors are finding those pivots to be great additions to help grow their business.
Over the coming year, entrepreneurs can continue to find new ways to conduct their business. For many, 2022 will be a year of creatively engaging with customers and building new relationships when traditional methods are hampered. Ask yourself what your customers need from you and how you can best deliver that product, information or service. As providers of nutritional and wellness products, we know that consumers worldwide are seeking healthy solutions now more than ever. For example, our independent distributors host online webinars and outdoor exercise sessions, and provide valuable health information via emails and newsletters.
3. Practice gratitude.
When was the last time you thanked the clients and suppliers in your life who have supported your business? Now is a perfect time to check in with them, thank them for their support and ask them to share with you their goals for 2022. Being a small business owner allows you to connect directly with the people with whom you do business. Your taking the time to check in with them will deepen the relationship.
I enjoy exercising daily, and equally I enjoy flexing my gratitude muscle. Whether I’m speaking with our distributors, employees, family or friends, I’m looking for ways to express my gratitude. It reminds me of the important people in my life.
There is something extraordinary about starting a new year as we did last month. We have the chance to begin again on a fresh footing. We can learn from our mistakes and remember our achievements. The most successful entrepreneurs are constantly innovating, finding new ways to build connections with clients and provide superior service. There is no reason we shouldn’t look ahead with optimism, creativity and a determination to succeed.