10 Small Business Essentials for 2022
Whether you’re planning to launch a new small business or grow your current operation in the new year, you might be wondering what you’ll need to ensure your efforts are a success. You require some small business essentials.
There’s a lot to think about, which can feel overwhelming and leave you wondering where to begin.
But there’s no need to stress.
Here, we’ve curated a list of small business essentials to help you start the year strong despite the challenges of the pandemic and how it’s impacted our daily lives.
1. A Business Plan
Starting a small business is an exciting endeavor, particularly when you’re passionate about what you do. But passion alone isn’t enough to generate long-term success — you need a sense of direction.
That’s where your business plan comes in.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a seasoned business professional to make a business plan.
With a bit of strategic thinking, you can create a vision for the development of your business to help guide your startup through 2022 and the years that follow.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Small Business Plan?
While motivation and drive are valuable, the success of your business depends on having an actionable roadmap for how you’ll achieve your goals.
A business plan for a company of any size outlines specific plans for how you’ll generate income and plans for growth based on your projected revenue.
Why Do I Need a Small Business Plan?
There are many excellent reasons for creating a solid business plan.
Here are a few of the things a small business plan helps you do:
- Identify your target market and figure out how to reach them
- Map out how you’ll generate revenue
- Allocate your financial resources in a strategic way
- Establish trust to score investor funding
- Understand when and how to scale your business
- Forecast future opportunities for growth
2. Small Business Insurance
All businesses need insurance, regardless of size.
While no one wants to encounter mishaps, conflict, or other unexpected problems, these things happen. Small business insurance is essential for protecting you and your employees from the potentially negative impact of unforeseen situations.
Let’s explore some of the basics now.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance covers a wide range of circumstances, but each policy varies depending on the price and coverage terms.
When shopping for general liability insurance, look for a policy that includes these critical elements:
- Bodily injury coverage
- Property damage coverage
- Allowance for legal expenses
Professional Liability Insurance
Depending upon your industry, you may want to consider getting a professional liability insurance policy in addition to general liability insurance.
This type of policy can offer several benefits:
- Specialized coverage in the event of copyright infringement or patent violation
- Help with legal costs if bodily or non-bodily (psychological or emotional) injury occurs
- Financial protection in lawsuits related to defamation
Add-Ons for Small Business Insurance
Always review the coverages and costs of a plan before committing to paying its premium.
If you’re purchasing a policy through a broker or commercial website, be sure to ask any questions you may have so that you fully understand what is and isn’t covered.
If needed, you may be able to customize your small business insurance policy or add some of these additional coverages if they aren’t standard inclusions:
- Commercial property insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Commercial vehicle insurance
- Disability insurance (for you as an individual)
3. HR Tools
Larger companies typically hire in-house Human Resources associates to handle the part of their business that involves taking care of their employees.
But it’s rarely financially feasible or necessary for small businesses to have HR staff onsite, mainly if there are just a few employees.
Fortunately, some small business owners can manage their HR duties by using software or outsourcing to a third-party provider.
Depending on the software or HR provider you select, you can enjoy HR benefits like these:
- Employee engagement programs
- Time-tracking tools
- Payroll processing and services
- Employee resources
- IT support
- Support from HR professionals
4. Accounting Software and Support
Keeping track of your numbers is critical for managing cash flow, expenses, and planning for the future growth of your small business.
But if you don’t have a professional accountant and such services aren’t affordable with your current budget, you may be concerned about how you’ll handle this essential part of running a small business.
Here’s some good news:
There are many software programs designed to help you manage your accounting tasks.
Let’s unpack a few of the features that the most popular accounting software programs offer.
Quality accounting software programs (like Quickbooks or NetSuite) simplify and streamline the process of tracking expenses. Some even help you stay on track with bills by automating payments and payroll.
Even though software makes it easy to manage most of the accounting work yourself, you may still have questions.
5. Tech Protection
You’ll make various investments into your small business that are necessary for daily operations, like office supplies, furniture, shipping materials, and printers.
But one of the most expensive (yet essential) investments you’ll make is your tech.
That includes laptops, tablets, and phones — some of the items you rely upon for managing nearly every aspect of your business.
What would you do if something happened to these devices or the data they contain?
Protecting your tech assets is the best way to avoid catastrophic scenarios that could potentially put your business in danger.
Start by adding these small business essentials security measures:
Opt for the Warranty
When you purchase devices for your small business, don’t pass on spending a little extra cash for an extended warranty, manufacturer insurance, or retailer protection plan.
Opting for these low-cost protection services can help you avoid unexpected expenses should you need to repair or replace a device due to functionality issues or damages.
Get a VPN
Any device connected to the internet is susceptible to hacking, which can put private information into the wrong hands for misuse.
But, protecting your business website, browsing history, transactions, and private information is easy and affordable using a virtual private network (VPN).
You’ve got the passion and a vision. You set up your workspace, hired a team, and are ready to start offering the world your incredible services. Now, you just need to get the word out and attract some customers.
It’s all about marketing.
When you make your brand visible to the right people at the right time, you increase the likelihood that viewers will become customers (and make better use of your marketing budget).
A thoughtful, personalized approach to marketing can not only generate new customers but also create a relationship with them, giving you a better chance of earning their continued loyalty.
Small businesses use a few strategies for advertising, generating brand awareness, and achieving long-term engagement with their customers.
Here are a few you can implement today:
Blogs and Articles
You may not be a writer by trade, but you can still create an online presence by providing valuable content to your target audience.
Most businesses do this by publishing blogs on their website that are relevant to their industry and the interests of their target market. Not only will this help you rank in Google searches related to your industry, but it will show your readers that you’re an expert in your field.
In 2021, marketing research found that 1 in 3 people use social media to learn about new products, services, brands, and stores. 1 in 4 of those people use social media platforms to make purchases.
Social media is only gaining momentum, so be sure to leverage its marketing power by creating engaging posts to increase your brand awareness and maintain relationships with your customers.
Email Lists and Newsletters
Before you write off using an email newsletter to market your business, check this out:
Forbes experts still say it’s one of the best ways to generate revenue.
But, you’ll need to do it right to see valuable results.
Try to avoid bragging about the success of your business or your plans for the future in your newsletter.
Don’t think of it as a newsletter — think of your newsletter readers as subscribers to your blog.
Send out newsletters containing engaging content that makes your customers feel that you understand their interests and care about their needs.
Consumers are constantly overwhelmed by aggressive forms of marketing directly asking or pressuring them to spend money.
They are more likely to make purchases when they decide without feeling pressured, like after reading a newsletter providing them with information that’s relevant to them on a personal level.
7. DIY Legal Tools
Can’t afford to have an attorney create custom legal documents for your small business? You’re not alone.
Regardless, every small business owner should have legitimate legal documents for various purposes.
Unfortunately, making your own without the guidance of a lawyer could lead to several problems. For instance, it may contain statements you didn’t know were illegal, or you might unintentionally leave out critical information.
So, what should you do?
Here is how to get the legal documents you need for your small business without paying expensive attorney fees.
Use Legal Document Templates
With a few exceptions, most of the legal documents small business owners need for successful operation are extremely common, so a customizable template is entirely sufficient for such needs.
You can access templates for legal documents using your Alliance of Gig Workers membership perks and customize them to meet the unique needs of your small business.
An Alliance of Gig Workers membership gives you exclusive access to some of the basic legal templates for business operations documents (availability varies by state):
- Client agreements
- Employee contracts
- Tax forms
- Rental forms and lease agreements
- Purchase agreements
Sign up for Gigly today!
8. Collaboration Tools
Poor communication is a problem all small businesses must deal with.
There are a few common reasons:
- Information gets lost in endless email threads
- Team members are unintentionally left out of important threads
- A recipient takes a long time to respond to urgent requests
- Critical emails end up in the recipient’s spam folder
- The sender misspells the recipient’s email address
Efficient team communication and document sharing are critical to making the most of your time. And yet, coming up with the right solutions to keep your team members on the same page isn’t easy.
Here’s some good news:
In recent years, businesses of all sizes and industries have been using collaboration tools to solve these problems so they can focus on whatever it is they do best.
What Are Collaboration Tools?
Whether your team is remote or you’re working together in the same physical space, collaboration tools can help increase productivity by making communication easier.
There are various collaboration software programs and apps available; the one that will work best for your small business depends on your unique needs.
While you research your options, keep in mind that different programs offer different features:
- Instant message apps
- File sharing and storage
- Calendar integration
- Project and task management
- Goal setting features
- Social capabilities like comments and positive shout-outs
- Cloud services (like iCloud or Microsoft Cloud)
9. Data Management
If you previously believed data management doesn’t apply to your industry or business, you’ll want to think again after reading this section.
Data comes in many forms. Your contact list, sales numbers, employee information, and marketing stats are all types of data you need to operate and grow your business.
What Is Data Management?
At its core, data management is how your business collects, organizes, stores, accesses, and protects its data. The practice frequently involves auditing data for accuracy and using the information to inform future business decisions.
Types of data used might include the following areas of small business:
- Finances and sales/transactions
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Logistics information
- Marketing strategies and campaign statistics
- Competitor analysis
How Can I Implement Data Management for My Small Business?
The problem of data management does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. But, there are excellent options for every type of business in all stages of growth.
Explore the available options available for your needs and budget from data management favorites like these:
10. Health Insurance
Starting a new business is an exciting and fulfilling experience. Unfortunately, self-employment does come with the health insurance benefits frequently offered through an employer.
Luckily, you don’t need to rely on an employer to get quality health insurance benefits.
Here, we’ll briefly discuss health insurance options for self-employed individuals.
Get Coverage Through a Spouse or Partner
If your spouse works full-time for a company that offers health insurance benefits, you and your dependents may be eligible to enroll in their plan. Certain companies, states, and health insurance plans allow you to enroll in your partner’s plan regardless of marital status.
Have your spouse or partner discuss your options for health insurance coverage with their employer’s HR department, or call the health insurance company directly.
Use the Health Insurance Marketplace
In 2010, the Obama Administration enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as “Obamacare.”
The ACA made healthcare available to and affordable for millions of American citizens who would otherwise not have access to healthcare coverage.
Using the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov, anyone can shop around and enroll in the health insurance plan that’s right for them.
Starting your own business can feel intimidating.
It’s a huge undertaking, but knowing what you’ll need to ensure success can help reduce some of the stress.
If you’re planning to expand your solo venture or launch a new small business in 2022, Gigly has tools that can save you money and help you succeed. Join today for access to all of Gigly’s incredible benefits.