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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 14 March 2022
  • Liam Edwardson

10 Tips for Small Business Owners in 2022

Every small business owner wants to meet their targets, realize their dreams and see their business thrive. The effects of the pandemic derailed some small businesses, prompting 92% of small businesses to reinvent themselves to survive.

But how can small businesses start and grow in 2022 and beyond? We turn to rules that have become classics.

fashion designers create a new design

Tip 1: Pick the right business, know your target

Your first step in starting a successful business? Choosing the right business with built-in or existing demand in your target market.

Even the most established companies feel they know what their target customer desires. But they never really know them as well they think they do.

Companies may utilize customer surveys or even hire a marketing research firm. This allows owners to get valuable feedback about what customers like or want and how to improve service. Successful businesses make it a point to carefully listen to and analyze what their customers say. 

Tip 2: Research and focus on your value to customers

All too often, entrepreneurs launch a business because they have a passion or a personal need they want to pursue. But that does not mean there is a market. They think that because they like the idea, others will too. Fatal mistake: If they launch the product without analyzing the demand and sell-ability of it, they may be doomed before they have barely begun.

Before you start, analyze what value you offer and if enough customers would pay for the service or product. You can only create a profitable business if you fill a real need or desire of a prospective customer. Conversing with as many potential customers as possible may lead you to what you can offer and sell.

Tip 3: Concentrate on the core customers

As they say, you cannot please everyone all the time. There is a wide spectrum of potential customers out there, but you cannot realistically appeal to all of them.

Business owners must know their core customers — those who are genuinely interested in your service or products. You may believe you can serve every single customer and devote equal undivided attention to them, but that is simply unfeasible.

First identify the core customers, then prioritize, satisfy, and retain them. 

Tip 4: Begin small, accumulate experience, and grow

It is logical that fledgling entrepreneurs want to target their biggest potential customers first. But one truism holds: We need to learn to walk before we can run. 

Big clients — from midsize companies to sprawling corporations — are the hardest customers to land and retain. You will undoubtedly want to land some small customers here and there, learn what the market wants, and adjust your offerings, pricing and services. And all the while, keep learning, improving, growing your clients, networking and, little by little, getting better at what you do.

Tip 5: Instead of big swings, take calculated risks

Risk-taking is a natural part of every business. But smart small business owners never rush into anything unprepared. They take one measured, controlled, intelligent step at a time while getting their small business off the ground. 

They believe in testing and trying out a strategy on a smaller scale first, finding what is working well and adjusting or scrapping whatever is not. Gleaning, refining, trying again and again. Then focus on the successful strategies that rise to the top and ramp those up.

Tip 6: Implement proven sales strategies

Effective sales strategies are prevalent throughout the internet and include:

  • Making an extensive list of quality leads
  • Exhaustively researching every single sales prospect
  • Setting a goal for each prospect
  • Thinking win-win — for both the prospect and your business
  • Making signing paperwork easy
  • Always following up
  • Selling to existing customers
  • Keeping contact lists up to date

Tip 7: Strive for legendary customer service

Similar to sales strategies, ways to provide excellent service can be found everywhere. Some of the most effective are:

  • Hire employees with superb communication skills
  • Make sure employees know your product inside out
  • Be available on all channels, from phone to emails to social media
  • Respond as soon as possible to all customer inquiries and requests
  • Concentrate on retaining customers
  • Go to great lengths to solve problems
  • Welcome and collect customer feedback after each interaction

Tip 8: Keep business bank and credit accounts separate from personal ones

You will certainly want to open business-dedicated bank accounts and credit lines. You should also strongly consider hiring a tax professional to handle the tax implications of your new business. Keep good, up-to-date financial records and, in case of emergency, keep those records backed up on separate hard drives, on off-site servers or in the cloud.  

Tragically, there were many one-person businesses that did not qualify for COVID-19 relief funds simply because they lacked a business-only bank account. Many small businesses are also out of luck after a fire, hurricane or earthquake because they lacked properly maintained financial records.

Tip 9: Network, learn from and grow with others

Networking with other business personalities can be strikingly advantageous when it comes to exchanging ideas or discussing and resolving common issues.

Taking suggestions and learning from the experiences and/or mistakes of other small businesspeople can bear valuable fruit. Try to glean knowledge from influencers and business owners by joining groups of like-minded people.

Registering with your local chamber of commerce can be a smart first step, as well as finding ways to connect with other small businesspeople. Continue networking through the various channels to build a good rapport. Also, networking can lead to out-of-the-blue, remarkably lucrative business opportunities and partnerships.

Tip 10: Jump into the ring and go

All too often, an entrepreneur will spend an inordinate amount of time, money and resources into getting the perfect website or perfect company name or logo instead of simply getting out there and starting their business.

On the contrary, many small companies can get by on the barest-minimum website that communicates what kind of problems you solve and for whom — and why you and your product or service are best qualified to accomplish the job. And then, all you need to do is tell yourself, “On your mark, get set, and go forth and multiply my customers.”

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