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How To Plan & Prep Your Small Business For Success in 2021

How To Plan & Prep Your Small Business For Success in 2021

2021 is here and if you’re like us, you have no idea where the last year went. The time has flown by and although 2020 has been quite a tough year it doesn’t mean we can take a break. Only 50% of small businesses have a marketing strategy in place for 2021 and that has to change! So let’s start your 2021 strategy planning today!

Now’s the time to start planning and prepping for the year to come. It’s time to make 2021 an unforgettable year for your business (for all the right reasons)! 

It’s time to set yourself some achievable goals, make a clear plan for your online content, and stick to your plan for success throughout the year. 

So, let’s take a look at how you can prepare and plan ahead for 2021. 

2021 Strategy Planning

How to set SMART goals for 2021 Strategy Planning

Hold up, first things first – what are SMART goals?

SMART goals are the key to your success in the year ahead.

They’re goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Setting SMART goals will help you stay motivated and achieve your business goals in 2021 – and let’s be honest we could all use help after 2020. 

Create specific goals

Having goals are great, but try to stay specific when coming up with what you want to achieve in 2021. Your goals should be fleshed out enough that you know exactly what it is you want to achieve when thinking about them. 

It’s easier to achieve something that’s specific than something that’s vague, here are a couple of examples:

  • ‘Make my website better’ is vague – ‘update my website with a lead funnel and email campaign to increase my conversions by 50%’ is specific.
  • ‘Update my LinkedIn profile’ is vague – ‘Add an optimized bio, add past portfolio pieces, and update my work history’ is specific. 

Don’t forget to take into account social distancing, travel bans, or event-cancellations in your goals. 

We might have been surprised in 2020, but now that we know about the possible restrictions we can come to the table better prepared for 2021. 

Have measurable goals

If you don’t have an end point in mind for your goals, you won’t know how well you’re doing, what you’ve already achieved, or how much you have left to do. 

Try to track your progress using analytics and data collected throughout the year. For example, if you’d like to increase the number of visitors to your site by 30% this year then keep an eye on your Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting each month during 2021. 

If you’re not noticing much of a change then you’ll know your current marketing tactics aren’t working so it might be time to change it up a bit to hit those targets.

Make goals achievable & realistic 

We’ve put these together because you can’t have unrealistic achievable goals, and we’re pretty sure you can’t have realistic unachievable goals either! 

There’s no point in setting a goal for yourself and never being able to reach it. That’s just going to make you feel demoralized and unmotivated. 

The best way to figure out if your goal is achievable and realistic is to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you have the resources available to achieve this goal?
  • Does the goal fit with your financial plans?
  • Do you have the time available for this goal?
  • Does it match up with what you want to accomplish?
  • Is it relevant to the growth of your business?
  • Does it benefit your business?

If you’ve got a resounding yes, your goal looks good to go on this front!

Time-bound goals

The last part of creating a SMART goal is to make sure it has a time restriction. By setting a timed goal you’ll be more accountable which means your goal isn’t going to slip away from you and just become another lost dream or ‘to-do’ item. 

If that sounded a bit dramatic to you it’s because it was dramatic – don’t lose sight of your dreams! Or your goals for that matter, and add a definitive time frame to them so you’ll know when you need to complete them by. 

Start building your content calendar

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, content is king and to survive and thrive in 2021 you’re going to have to get ahead of the curve and start planning your content out for the next year.

By planning out your content in advance you’ll be able to make sure that you’re producing top quality content every week. This will keep your audience entertained and solidify your presence as an expert in your niche. 

Having a content strategy helps you:

  • Produce high-quality, relevant pieces of online content
  • Avoid rush posting and getting it wrong or making mistakes
  • Organize themed content to come out during holidays and celebrations
  • Create a schedule that you’ll be able to stick to
  • Write consistent content that keeps your audience entertained
  • Get to know your target audience better
  • Improve your brand’s reputation and reach
  • Improve your SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Make delivering content easier
  • Save time by creating content in batches, before it’s due to publish

When you’re planning your content be sure to write down the different topics you’re going to write about, potential blog titles, what times your content will be published at, and where you’re going to promote it. 

You should also take SMART goals into consideration when planning out your content for the year – your entire 2021 marketing strategy should be a cohesive machine. 

Think about new ways of working for 2021

Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 has seen an increase in working from home. This has caused a lot of business owners, just like you, to rethink the way they run their business. Continuing to work in the office and on-site is an advantage but it might be worth considering what is best for your business and your team. 

Has working from home been a positive experience for your business? 

Ask yourself whether you’ve benefited from your employees working at home or if it has had a negative effect on your workplace. 

Working from home is known to improve staff well-being and retention rates, plus it can decrease your company’s overheads. 

However, working from home might not work for some. If your staff members are less productive at home or don’t have the proper set-up to work comfortably at home, then you might have to accommodate them with an in-office space. 

Talk to your staff and make a plan of what to do regarding work in the future. With the likes of Slack, Zoom, and eCommerce platforms being so user friendly and widely available, your company has all the things it needs to thrive online. 

Don’t set it & forget it

The last important thing to remember when preparing and planning for 2021 is to follow your plan. There’s no point in developing an awesome plan for the year only to forget about it a couple of months in and go off track. 

Not following your plan means that you’re not going to be able to accomplish your goals. You might lose out on potential clients and you could end up falling behind your competitors. 

If you don’t want your competitors to get all the attention then be sure to stick to your 2021 plan!

The end of one year and beginning of a new one can be a stressful and panic-fuelled time of the year for any small business but don’t worry there are ways you can get organised and stay on track for the new year!

If you’d like help organizing your 2021 plan then get in touch today, we’d love to help you out

How your small business can benefit from using Pinterest

How your small business can benefit from using Pinterest

How your small business can benefit from using pinterest

If you’re thinking that your business has enough of a social media presence with its Facebook page, Twitter account, or whatnot, then why on earth should you consider opening a business Pinterest account? You’re obviously already reaching everyone with your established media presence – or are you?

With well over 40 million users, 80% of which are women in the 19-35 age range, Pinterest is quickly gaining a strong foot-hold in the social media game, so you might want to consider some reasons why a Pinterest account could enhance your business.

Get Your Company Noticed

Having a Pinterest account is a good way to get your company noticed – especially if your target audience is women. Women are the primary decision and buyers in households. They hold much more power than most think when it comes to decision making and budgeting.

If your business is a product-based business (retail, ecommerce), then you can increase your exposure by including price tags in your products’ images, which tends to generate more likes. Since 75% of Pinterest activity ismobile , your followers can find you online while shopping. Win, win.

Pinterest is a search engine

Most folks don’t realize that Pinterest, above anything else, is a search engine. People are not just pinning for fun or social media, but they are searching for things to purchase including physical products as well as digital and services.

Everyone knows about Google and they’re playing the SEO game there. I don’t dismiss that at all. SEO is important, but Pinterest isn’t nearly as competitive. You can start seeing traction much more quickly than the slow crawl of google ranking.

Connect with your Audience

You can also use your Pinterest account to build rapport with your audience. By responding to all commenters or answering any questions that are asked, your potential customers will trust you to be on their side. Wouldn’t you rather shop with a company who acknowledges your concerns and appreciates your interest?

One company that is famous for always engaging with their audience is Target, who never lets a comment get away without a response, thus building customer loyalty. A little recognition can go a long way.

Communicate What Matters

Having a Pinterest board is a good way of communicating what matters to your company. You should pin whatever your target audience might like to see. Think content, not sales. Think about what might interest your audience, and pin it to your board. If you concentrate too much on advertising, then you are bound to lose interest rather quickly.

But if you open your board to include common interests with your audience – even if they aren’t directly related to what you’re selling – that can go a long way to showing a more “human” side to your company. You want people to pin images from your board, which will get their friends seeing your company, repining these pins, and next thing you know, you have another pinner and potential customer. Voila!

What Is Your Competition Doing?

You can also use your Pinterest board to see what your competition is doing. What are they pinning? What are other people pinning from their boards? What else are their pinners pinning? What is trending? (See above about pinning what matters to your company.)

From there you can start to build your own Pinterest strategy to engage with your audience and build a following and community.

Track Your Pins

There are also tools available to track pins (and views of pins) from your site. (http://pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com) You can use these tools to see what is catching your audience’s collective eye. What works, what doesn’t work, what could use a little more work? Maybe you need to stock up on something that’s getting a lot of attention before the holiday rush. And don’t forget about the tools that will add a “Pin It” button to your website, to make it easier for your audience to pin to their Pinterest boards.

Is Pinterest right for your business?

There are so many advantages to using Pinterest, but before jumping in, it’s also important to make sure the effort and time investment is worth it.  Like any social media platform, first, see if your audience is there and if they are looking for what you have to offer. Once you know that, then develop a strategy. How often will you pin? What type of content will you share? How will you drive people from Pinterest back to your site and into your sales funnel?

Still not sure?

Our signature M2 Method might be for you. We help you figure out your positioning and brand identity within your niche. That includes identifying your ideal customer and where they are online so you can easily reach them.

Cover photo guidelines for your Facebook timeline

Cover photo guidelines for your Facebook timeline

LAST UPDATED 2.28.19

As of January 2019, according to Facebook, your cover photo displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.

Beyond the size of the photo, there are also some restrictions that Facebook has put into place and that you should know about. This is pretty important and I think also most overlooked by small businesses that don’t necessarily go looking for all the fine print.

Facebook cover photos cannot include:

  • a verified checkmark
  • third-party products, brands or sponsors.
  • Covers must not be false, deceptive, misleading or infringe on anyone’s copyright.

Source Facebook Pages Product Guide

What should you do with your Facebook cover photo:

  1. Create a cover photo that matches your brand
  2. Upload the correct size cover photo
  3. While there’s no 20% text rule anymore, you still want to keep things as visual as possible and keep the hard selling for someplace else.
  4. It may be tempting to put direct calls to action and arrows pointing to the buttons in the bottom right. Fight the urge because on mobile it’s never going to appear correctly. And new visitors to your brand are not yet ready to take action.
  5. Speaking about our mobile users, their experience is going to be different so try to incorporate a cover that works for both desktop and mobile.

Is your brand consistent on social?

This is one of the biggest issues we see with service businesses which is why we’ve created our signature Brand Canvas Method. We can help you align your message and brand identity in less than a week so you can start to get traction right away, not months from now.

Are you ready to level-up your brand?

Social Media – You say Tweet, I say Blog

Social Media – You say Tweet, I say Blog

Is a blog considered “social media”?  We answer that question and a whole lot more.

When most people talk “social media”, I’ve noticed that it usually revolves around Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or FourSquare.  I’ve even read numerous times, “I’m quitting social media, but you can still read my blog!”

Say what?

Before there ever was a tweet or a friend on Facebook, we blogged and people read and commented and interacted not only with the blogger, but the readers too. Then social “networks” popped up and people started using Twitter and Facebook to connect with each other; in new and different ways.  There’s nothing wrong with Twitter and Facebook; LinkedIn, Foursquare, Bebo, Flickr or Vimeo.

These are great tools because they allow you to be where your customers are and to have an open dialogue with them. We use these tools every day and we use them right along side our favorite social media tool…the blog!

But, blogs are dead!

Not so much.  Blogs may not be the “new” social media and eventually Facebook and Twitter won’t be either.  That doesn’t mean they die.  They still provide value and I recommend starting a blog to most of my clients. 


Get Your Blog On!

Here are my top 10 reasons to blog:

So, get your blog on!

There are a ton of great websites about blogging and you could spend hours just building a list of them.  Here’s my quick list to get you started:

Share your thoughts…

Do you have any blog tips or advice on blogging?  Leave a comment below and let us know.  And if you are a blogger and would be interested in participating in our ‘Awesome Blogger’ series, please get in touch with us—we would love to interview you!

Did you like this article?  Please feel free to tweet about it or share it on Facebook!

  1. Keeps your website looking fresh, interactive and fun!
  2. Allows you to easily reach out to clients and potential clients
  3. Building readership that could turn into new clients or recommend you to friends and colleagues
  4. Easily share news and information about the business or employees
  5. Provide tips, how-to’s and support which in turn builds trust and makes you an authority in your field
  6. Makes you and your business more approachable
  7. Helps with Search Engine ranking (SEO)
  8. Provide answers to frequently asked questions
  9. Engage your audience by asking questions and running polls
  10. For me, the number one reason to blog is that a blog will bring a much more personal (“human”) face to your business. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be professional, but people are more inclined to build trust with the people behind a company.  They want to get to know you!