Written by Stacey McIntosh
Looking to grow your business in 2022?
That could mean a number of things. Perhaps you’re looking to launch new products or services to generate more revenue.
Maybe you wish to enter a new market and provide your offerings to a new group of customers.
Or you might want to increase headcount (or employ someone for the first time) to keep up with demand or push on to greater levels of success in 2022.
Having a clear plan in place will help you achieve your goals. Getting support from your fellow business owners can help you here, too.
With that in mind, in this article, a group of business owners – our Sage Business Experts – share details on how they’re growing their businesses in 2022 (which might provide food for thought), and offer advice to help you do the same.
Plus there’s a series of tips on recruiting and supporting your employees – doing that well will help with overall business growth and meeting your company goals.
Here’s what we cover:
Our business experts
- Sue Keogh is the founder of digital marketing agency Sookio.
- Antonia Chitty is the creator of business advice blog Family Friendly Working.
- Noreen Cesareo is the founder of strategic marketing and communications advisory firm Market Accents.
- Bobby Lane is the CEO of business support company Factotum.
- Janice B Gordon is the founder of customer growth business Scale Your Sales.
- Amanda Webb is the founder of digital marketing support business Spiderworking.com.
- Delia Goldring is the director of HR consultancy Performance Options.
How our business experts are growing their companies in 2022
Sue Keogh, Sookio: “We going to be catching our breath after a period of expansion in the second half of 2021 and an incredibly busy workload, to really look at the figures and see which sectors and which projects are really helping us grow as a business so that we can make our sales strategy much more streamlined and effective.
“We’ll be relaunching our website too, and repositioning ourselves slightly in line with the bigger clients we’re hoping to attract.”
Antonia Chitty, Family Friendly Working: “We are looking to focus on two particular areas: sustainability and equality, and diversity and inclusion.
“Both are must haves for 2022, and I have been assessing gaps and making plans.”
Noreen Cesareo, Market Accents: “Digital is still very much the way forward. International trade is as valuable as local markets and once you are on the internet, you are global.
“Our market is similarly global, so we will be developing new products and services for emerging markets for strategic, digital and marketing consultancy.
“We will be investing in more digital across our functions, including finance and ecommerce.”
Bobby Lane, Factotum: “We launched just before the pandemic and although we have grown successfully, it has been much slower than anticipated.
“Following the ending of restrictions and the ability to get the core team back into the office, we experienced a period of explosive growth.
“The ability to share ideas, brainstorm and work together in an office was the fundamental difference.
“While we anticipate more restrictions in the near future, we are more prepared to confidently grow in 2022.
“We will be announcing two new significant client wins early in the year and will continue to grow our remote team, which will enable us to have an excellent resource of expertise for current, new and potential clients.
“We have a set of fantastic case studies from client work that we look forward to sharing at new business meetings and we will continue to look for networking opportunities to grow Factotum.
“The key areas Factotum will be looking to grow in 2022 will be our accounting, marketing, HR and IT departments.
“We have invested heavily in building an exceptional team that will be able to work with new and existing clients, as the demand for our services will undoubtedly increase.
“An increasing number of business owners are hearing about our unique offering and are keen to work with us. It is going to be an exciting year for the Factotum team.”
Simple tips to help you grow your business in 2022
Sue Keogh, Sookio: “Think: ‘is this scalable’ about everything you do.
“So, you hire one person. Guess what, one day you’ll hire someone else. And someone else might leave.
“What processes can you put in place early on that saves you duplicating effort each time this happens?”
“Because it will.
“Same with the accounts. Right now, you might only send out a couple of invoices. In the future you’ll be sending out dozens.
“So how can you get into a rhythm with it early on and get the tools in place that make the whole process as efficient as possible?
“It’s a bit like babies, where it’s hard to look at them and imagine them as teenagers, but with a new business it can be a useful exercise.
“So think about your business in five or 10 years’ time and think, what are the processes I put in place early on that I’m thanking myself for right now?
Antonia Chitty, Family Friendly Working: “Look at what you’re not doing right now. If you are behind on invoicing, lacking expertise on diversity, or need to become more sustainable, who could help you?
“Partnering up with a freelancer or consultant could help you fill a gap and move your business forward in 2022.”
Janice B Gordon, Scale Your Sales: “The reality is that there are many more opportunities than challenges for new and growing businesses in 2022.
“Customers have a vested interest in your business being sustainable to continue to supply them.
“Be honest and transparent in your interactions with them and actively introduce them to thought leadership and potential opportunities that may not bring you custom directly.
“Know your customer intimately, interview them and consistently gain feedback.
“Ask your preferred customer to be your partner in providing better products and services to aid their growth and support their opportunities.”
Amanda Webb, Spiderworking.com: “Focus on the services that are most profitable and easiest to sell.
“It’s time to let go of products and services that aren’t working.
“These are the ones that either no one buys, even though you’ve been doing everything right to sell them, or they make so little profit that it’s hardly worth the time and effort promoting them.
“So look at your sales from last year and find out which of your offerings is delivering the most profit – and focus on it.
“It’s hard to let go of everything else you do but it will leave you with a massive sense of relief – and, even better, more money.”
Bobby Lane, Factotum: “Business owners should take time to assess their past year and plan for ways to improve.
“If 2021 taught us anything, we must all take time to stop and review the appearance of the business, its performance and the tracking of its objectives.
“To help grow, businesses should consider blocking out time each month to review and plan – this is important for both small and larger businesses.
“A new year’s resolution can be a consideration for a business as it’s a year-long commitment, not a short-term effort in January.
“The past 21 months have had a damaging effect on business confidence. To grow a business, owners should remain positive in spite of the recent changes and assess where they can grow and improve.
“Turning as many fixed costs to variable, with flexibility built in, will allow business owners to make changes rapidly as new opportunities or challenges present themselves.
“Business owners should consider their team and to build one that is passionate, excited by the vision and want to be part of the journey.
“Business owners will reap benefits by allowing the team to help shape the strategy and to try new things to help them feel engaged.”
Advice for recruiting and supporting new employees in 2022
Sue Keogh, Sookio: “Don’t underestimate how much time it takes to onboard new people, especially if they are working remotely and everything feels like an extra stretch.
“It’s so important to take time to find the right person. But the recruitment process itself can take up a lot of emotional energy, so the danger is that when you finally get them in post, you just leave them to it.
“But this settling-in period is crucial to them becoming as autonomous as possible, as soon as possible and hopefully staying with you long term.
“When you do have a chance to take a breather in between hiring, look at your processes and see what you can automate.
“Maybe get some induction checklists in place, create online forms to capture all their essential information, or create a central ‘how to’ handbook for your new hire to browse through when they’re between tasks.
“So each time you do it, the process becomes more and more smooth and less and less time consuming.”
Antonia Chitty, Family Friendly Working: “There’s likely to be lots of movement in early 2022. People are looking to change industry as a result of the pandemic, and different businesses are seeing growth.
“If you take on new staff, make plans to support them if homeworking continues.
“It can be hard to feel part of a team you have never met face-to-face, so schedule in time for the softer side of induction, with ‘getting to know you’ and team bonding sessions as well as formal introductions.”
Noreen Cesareo, Market Accents: “Position yourself in the market to attract new business and new employees.
“Your brand positioning is important as is your culture and way of working.
“Live your values and be authentic. New employees are increasingly looking for businesses that walk the talk, especially if they are committing themselves to ESG [environmental, social and governance] initiatives.
“Create onboarding programs and ensure that you have ongoing communications with your staff – but not micro-management.
“Create space to innovate and help them to settle down, especially if they are working remotely.”
Delia Goldring, Performance Options: “Business owners are still finding their way in this new Covid world.
“Over the past year, many have become more comfortable about outsourcing certain services and not having all of their team onsite.
“Flexible working has increased but some employees have not taken this on board.
“If business owners are looking to recruit, retain and motivate a team, they will have to be more understanding and develop policies to support flexible working.
“To support employees in new roles, it’s important to check in regularly with them without them feeling that they are being micro-managed.
“And ensure they are clear on their job role, how it fits in with the rest of the department/company, jointly set targets and ask for their opinions.
“It is clear from the experiences of the past 20 months since the rise of Covid that employees have missed speaking to a real person, so team meetings face-to-face via video platforms should be a regular diary entry.
“It is helpful to allocate another staff member as a buddy, who the new employee can be supported by and answer questions about the ‘way things are done around here’ i.e. the culture of the company.”
Janice B Gordon, Scale Your Sales: “Have the courage to hire people who have different skills, strengths and diversity to you.
“Ensure you do not suppress their abilities and strengths.
“The more you leverage their what you hired them to do and develop, the more your business and customers will benefit and grow.”
Final thoughts on growing your business in 2022
How you look to grow your business in 2022 will depend on what you want to achieve and what your priorities are.
While having a plan in place will help, having access to the right support to achieve your goals can make all the difference.
From working with an accountant to using a mentor or business coach, there are numerous sources you can tap into to help you along the way.
Hopefully some of the insights and advice shared by our business experts will help you in your bid to grow your business in 2022.
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