As a peculiar and tumultuous year draws to a close, it’s time to take a step back and reassess what your business will look like in 2022.

It’s clear from the business landscape in Australia that you may need to radically replan and renew what you do and how you do it. Your survival may depend on it.

Take serious stock of the data

If you do nothing else, do this.

The first step to a refreshed look at your business is to interrogate your data.

Sit down with your accounting software, CRM, social media, Google analytics, tracking pixels and start creating meaningful reports.

What’s the data telling you?

  • What was selling and what wasn’t?
  • Where were your main sources of income?
  • What were your biggest expenses?
  • How were people buying from you? Has this changed?
  • What was your most valuable marketing campaign?
  • How are people finding you online?
  • Where do your website and store visits come from?

By creating not only sales and cash flow reports but reports on consumer behaviour (and how this has changed) you can create meaningful predictions.

Forecast what your data tells you next year may look like. Now act on it.

Do you need to retire poorly performing products or services? Do you need to focus on one marketing avenue? Do your selling methods need to be revaluated?

You’ll already have a great snapshot from your own business data on what the current and emerging trends look like. Time to take a broader look to gain even more insight.

Research dependable and professional reports from serious sources around emerging business and consumer trends.

For example, through resources such as Australia Post we know that,

“Australian online shopping reached an all-time high in 2020, with online purchases growing 57 per cent year-on-year. An average of 1 million additional households shopped online every month compared to 2019 – reaching $50.46 billion total spend at the online checkout.”

By extrapolating this knowledge into the future, you can paint a very useful picture of how your business will fit into the emerging world.

The big question here is, ‘how can you respond to these trends and remain relevant?

Renew your business plan

Your business plan should be a living, evolving document. More than ever, you need to renew it and create a revised business plan for 2022.

  • Refresh your sales and marketing plans in response to what your data told you.
  • Do a fresh competitive analysis and find your unique value and who your new competitors are.
  • Review your investment and expenditure to trim fat and invest more wisely.
  • Lay out your financials and look at ways to improve cash flow, reduce expenses and maximise your investments.

Do a COVID-19 competitor analysis

Competitor analyses should be a regular part of your business year. Sometimes it’s easy to let this slip if you aren’t feeling outcompeted. Now is no time to be complacent.

There are two particularly formative questions in a 2022 competitor analysis:

  • Which competitors survived COVID-19 and why?
  • Which competitors closed their businesses during COVID-19 and why?

You may find that a fair portion of your previous competitors, whether a local competing business or an online alternative, may have closed their doors.

The pressures of COVID-19 have shuttered the many otherwise viable businesses. What can you discover about why they closed? Take note of what not to do before you look at what you can do.

Now you need to do a revaluation of the current state of competition. What you’ll be looking at are the survivors. So, take particular note of who they are, what helped them weather COVID-19 and what they are doing that you aren’t. Check their websites, branding, social activity and marketing. What can you learn?

It will be a fresh competitive landscape, so be sure you position yourself for success by learning lessons on both sides of the fence.

Employee review and retention

Take stock of your employees. Do you have underperforming staff that need attention or dismissal? Do you have exemplary staff that need rewarding?

If you have a fantastic team that stuck with you during trialling times and continues to perform, be sure you look at what you can do to reward and retain them.

It’s often around this period that employees look to the upcoming new year and decide whether a new job is on the cards. An employee lost is a black hole in your business. New staff will take a lot of time and money to hire and retrain up to a high standard.

Don’t let great staff go unnoticed and unrewarded, especially during the holiday season.

Do a business facelift

Depending on how your business operates, it’s time for a business facelift. This can mean:

  • a brand refresh
  • a full rebrand
  • new or updated website
  • updated social media pages
  • new imagery
  • new messaging or taglines

This is particularly salient if you made any significant changes to your business model. If you have a new way of doing business, or simply wish to be competitive and on point for 2022 – take a little time to give your business a facelift.