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Hackernoon logoStartups Need to Make These 4 New Year's Resolutions by@dariasup

Startups Need to Make These 4 New Year's Resolutions

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@dariasupDaria Leshchenko

CEO of SupportYourApp, Support as a Service for tech. Co-founder of Label Your Data

2020 is gone and businesses put a lot of hopes on 2021. But the reality is that many issues will stay with us in 2021 and part of "the new normal" may become our permanent normal. What will businesses have to focus on and what New Year’s resolutions do businesses need to make in 2021 to succeed?

1. Take care of mental well-being at the workplace

Businesses lose around $1 trillion in productivity due to depression and anxiety among professionals. The COVID-19 only worsened the situation: 53% of Americans reported deterioration of their mental health after the pandemic broke out. Lack of communication and WFH only adds to this pressure. 

So every business in 2021 should commit to preserving mental health at the workplace by the following steps:

  1. Develop a strategy of mental well-being at the workplace. Long-term problems require long-term solutions. Mental well-being can’t be established with a one-time action, but with a set of activities that build up awareness within the team. By introducing a mental health strategy you demonstrate a commitment to improving your team’s life and send a message: mental health is on the corporate agenda. 
  2. Set up a streamlined communication flow. Be accessible and proactive. Among 50% of people reporting a mental health lapse at work, only one-third reached out to their employer. Don’t wait for people to report a problem, reach out and ask about it. Organize regular check-ups with your team, make sure any issue could be reported to you. Emails and messages are great, but don’t underestimate the importance of a personal conversation. Some things are just easier to talk through and discuss in person. 
  3. Work out an alternative plan for team-building exercises. 2021 is full of hope of returning to an old normal with social gatherings and in-person hangouts. But with the increasing popularity of remote work, founders should provide for alternative ways of socialization for the teams that cooperate virtually.

These are the questions every founder should address in 2021.

  • How to make online gatherings effective and comfortable?
  • How to organize safe social interactions for geographically scattered teams?
  • How to keep the teams motivated and mentally fit?

It’s time to move from words to actions to save your teams from burnout in the time of unending stress.

2. Implement cloud technologies

Cloud technologies used to be optional, but became a must-have for businesses in 2021. The advantages they provide for remote cooperation are hard to beat but easy to sell: it is easier to install and run, data could be accessed from anywhere in the world, prices are flexible due to as-a-service model. 

The main concern for cloud adopting businesses is still cybersecurity. However, it could be successfully addressed if the service provider has appropriate data security certifications like ISO 27000, HIPAA, or PCI – depending on the type of data you’re storing. 

How can your business prepare for cloud integration? 

Choose the right solution for your business. 

Small businesses with little data to store should opt for the most flexible, storage-based payment package. 

Seasonal businesses operating within the e-commerce or hospitality segments might want to look at subscription-based clouds. These can be turned on when needed without ‘eating up’ a lot of resources out of season.

Bigger companies want to look into renting permanent cloud storage like Microsoft OneDrive or iCloud. 

Prepare the team for working in the cloud. 

  • Explain why the changes are important;
  • Provide appropriate training if necessary;
  • Establish inner cloud-related policies and regularly check your team’s knowledge on them;
  • Review your needs once every 2-3 months.

This way your team will be on the same page and you will never waste money on the technology you don't use to the fullest extent.

3. Embrace flexibility

From the workplace to service packages, flexibility will be the most valuable business asset in 2021 that will define the winners.  

Start with the workplace model. Even before 2020, companies that allowed remote work saw 25% less staff turnover than those that didn’t. The pandemic contributed to this number even more. 

40% of people say the ability to adapt their schedule to their daily lives is the greatest benefit of working from home. Some companies go completely remote, others may implement a hybrid model. One way or another, if your company doesn’t provide for more work flexibility, you risk missing the top talent. Whatever way you take, do not forget to support corporate culture and conduct offline activities with remote work options.

Talking about customers and clients, both B2B and B2C startups should revise their pricing and service packages. Businesses and consumers are more cautious with their expenses and are less willing to make long-term commitments. By introducing more relaxed subscription conditions, allowing to postpone or split the payment, or providing additional services per request, you will earn the loyalty of clients. Otherwise, you risk losing them to more flexible competitors. 

4. Focus on people, not tech

Chasing the latest technologies, startups sometimes lose grip of reality and forget about the substance of their business — people. 

Social isolation made us appreciate people’s connection even more. So why deprive your customers of it? Two-thirds of consumers say that companies have lost the human touch of the customer experience. The majority of them want more human interaction in the future, not less. 

Take customer service as an example; 70% of customers want to interact with a human consultant instead of a chatbot. It’s especially true for complex issues when the number of people demanding a live agent is twice as big than with basic requests. 

Businesses need to address customers’ need for communication and shift their attention from tech towards their human resources. Invest in knowledgeable people, customer service and sales reps that can sympathize and listen. Pay more attention to empathy and developing a personal relationship with customers. 

A good way to humanize customer support and improve CX is gathering feedback and implementing it into your product. 50% of customers believe that businesses ignore their feedback which is not an acceptable number in 2021.

To ensure the quality of service and its product startups should: 

  • Conduct training on customer communication;
  • Introduce regular customer surveys;
  • Organize direct cooperation between customer service and product development departments:
  • Ensure the quality of customer service through regular and thorough QA.

The beginning of the year is a great chance to introduce long-postponed changes. The nature of your startup may be different and require additional commitments than mentioned in the article. But, remember, that the most important thing about New Year resolutions, personal or business ones, is to stick to them. 

Good luck in the New Year! 🙌

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