Small business resolutions look different for everyone, from the local auto shop looking to open a new location to the chicken-biscuit innovator who is dreaming up an expanded menu. But no matter what shape they take, it’s clear that setting these goals and celebrating wins is crucial for growth.
Get inspired by small business leaders across the country as they share their proudest moments from 2021 and their New Year’s resolutions.
Expanding business operations
Wesley The Keeper, owner of Akron Honey
Urban honey brand in Akron, Ohio
During 2021, we began showing the world how different a honey brand can be—how much we can keep our users, our honeyloves, at the center of our story with every decision we make. During 2022, I’m excited to take that pedal and push it all the way down to the floor. Not just in those ways, but also how we can scale and create a more relevant space for us in the food space.
Nahuel Hilal, owner of Iris Tattoo
Tattoo and piercing shop in Miami, Florida
After the uncertainty we went through in 2020, we entered 2021 with high energy and hopes. The team excelled in regaining our spirit, and we came back stronger and more united. It was a very emotional year that confirmed we are on the right path.
In 2022, I hope for expansion. It will be the year to explore new cities. [The past two years] showed me I have a very adapting and solid business and a committed and engaged team of wonderful people. I’m very excited to bring the Iris experience to Delray Beach and Tampa.
Emily Chavez, owner of Emily’s Garage
Small chain of auto repair shops in Washington state
My proudest moments of 2021 are all the people we hired. Every person on the team is part of the Em’s family. Also, growing our small business together during this pandemic. We had historic sales in 2021.
The biggest excitement for 2022 is that I signed a new lease [this month], and there will be a new Emily’s Garage location in Burien, Washington, which is six bays and our biggest shop to this day. So the big boulder goal is to launch Burien before the spring.
Shawn Walchef, owner of Cali Comfort BBQ
Restaurant and bar in San Diego, California
In 2022 we will continue to pursue the consistent, persistent pursuit of our potential of building the Amazon Prime of BBQ in San Diego by opening up additional Ghost Kitchen locations and finalizing our master smokehouse and media center.
Last year was full of proud moments for Cali BBQ Media, including opening our first Ghost Kitchen and creating a new video podcast series in collaboration with Yelp and Entrepreneur. The Restaurant Influencers podcast is sponsored by Toast, our point of sale partner at Cali BBQ. In Fall of 2021 we were also lucky enough to be invited to the New York Stock Exchange to join Toast at their IPO.
Misty and Dennis Akers, co-owners of The Candle Pour
Custom candle-making shop in Tampa, Florida
Develop a more comprehensive and detailed operations plan and training program. As we expand locations and our team, we would like to have more material for them to learn from and follow. Increase our presence on social media and provide more content for new and existing followers. Continue to build on our culture and do more activities as a team outside of the business. Refresh and revamp our website to be more customer interactive and friendly with e-commerce and in-store experiences.
What excites us most in 2022? Opening our second location in St. Petersburg and the challenge of being able to duplicate our process and successfully add another location. Having the opportunity to operate for a full year. In 2019, we didn’t open until late April. In 2020, we were shut down for five months due to COVID. And in 2021, we expanded our location and had to close for three months. Our team has been resilient through everything, but we are ready to see what a full year can bring!
Proudest moments of 2021? Watching our employees become a team. We lost almost our entire staff at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. Despite being new to the business and one another, they came together to build the foundation of the amazing team we have today. We were challenged throughout the year with COVID protocols and having limited capacity, as well as having to shut down for three months while we expanded into a new location. They never gave up, and they all stepped up to help us continue to run the business, outside of our normal operation, including markets, mobile pour events, and two pop-up operations.
Fine-tuning the customer experience
Jove Meyer, owner of Jove Meyer Events
Wedding and events planner in Brooklyn, New York
Focus on quality, not quantity. We want to work on a limited number of amazing events for those who dare to be different. Personalize the details, create unforgettable experiences, and bring joy to our clients and the world!
[My proudest moment of 2021 was] creating our Ally Pledge and having so many vendors sign and support it. We want to make the events industry a more loving and inclusive one and our Ally Pledge was a step toward that.
Megan and Tom Gibbings, co-owners of West Coast Animal Hospital
Veterinary practice in San Diego, California
What excites us most about 2022 is focusing on optimizing our customer and employee experience. We want to make our animal hospital as pleasant as possible for all involved. Once we have fine-tuned our experience, we will then be ready to replicate that experience with additional locations.
One of my proudest moments [of the year was] having multiple team members approach us with stories about how they were considering leaving the field, and we were their last attempt before looking to do something else. We were able to renew their enthusiasm in the field because we have a positive work environment.
Brian Batch, co-owner of Bird Bird Biscuit
Breakfast and brunch restaurant in Austin, Texas
Our main goal in 2022 is to invest in our relationships. We have found that most success and fruitfulness comes from healthy and enduring relationships. These could be built over many months or years or happen in an instant of sincerity and kindness. Both our relationships with our guests and very much our relationships with one another as a team at Bird Bird are what we plan to put lots of intentional effort into cultivating in 2022.
Consistency is another one of our mantras for 2022. We want to strive this year to be as consistent as possible. Whether that be the sandwiches we serve, the hospitality we provide, or the atmosphere we create, we intend to focus on providing a promise that inspires people and upholding that promise in as many moments as we are able.
Jackelyn and Monica Madrigal, co-owners of Color Me Chula
Hair salon and facial spa in Fresno, California
I feel 2021 was a year of compassion and community. All of us were hit time and time again with different trials in so many different areas of our life. I feel we couldn’t have gotten as far as we have without support and compassion from our community.
Now that we have made it into 2022, I see so many people and so many businesses really re-evaluating their pre-pandemic lives and becoming one with the present, more raw, and more aware. We as a business hope to lead 2022 with more intention, appreciation, and vulnerability.
I know those words may not sound like a typical way to describe a business, however, we’re human, and we want people’s time here in our little botánica to be the experience they desire, giving them the space they need. We were never in this for the transactions. We’re in this for the opportunity to make good things happen, the relationships, and the creative energy we all hope to share and celebrate.
Focusing on values
Richard Narins, owner of Power Wash Seal
Power cleaning company in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
Every year we set out to exceed the previous year’s revenue—it’s why beginning a new year invigorates me. Particularly in light of the past two pandemic-ridden years, our company has focused on our values, which include delivering quality work with efficiency and transparency, but also treating our staff with empathy and kindness and prioritizing their safety. Our 2022 resolution is to continue to deliver on our commitment to providing our customers and employees with a 5-star experience.
Additionally, as a seasonal business, an ongoing resolution is to continue looking for opportunities to leverage the talents of our full-time employees and diversify our revenue streams off-season.
Nic Faitos, owner of Starbright Floral Design
Florist in New York City, New York
We are a bunch of crazy optimists. We love what we do and our heart is in the right place. After all that our great city has been through in the past two years (and the whole world really), we see nowhere to go but up. We will keep doing what we have done for almost 30 years now, and we know that things will improve. We are super excited that travel and tourism are coming back and new hybrid work models are being created. Companies and individuals are finding new ways to be productive. The past two years have taught us a lot about our own priorities. A work-life balance is important to maintain for ourselves and our teams. It’s a whole new ballgame, and we are ready to play!
2021 was a year of rebuilding and a year of refocusing of our priorities. We directed all our efforts to the not-for-profit organizations that we support. We donated flowers for events and even virtual galas. We even had a ticketed event for a virtual floral design class where the proceeds went to the charity. Fashion Fights Cancer, Hearts of Gold, and many others were the beneficiaries of our partnerships. This is an effort we are extending into 2022, and we fully expect that this model will be a part of our permanent future.
Chris Goode, owner of Ruby Jean’s Kitchen & Juicery
Juice bar in Kansas City, Missouri
Our proudest part of 2021 was launching our cold-pressed juice as a pilot program into Kansas City Public Schools for a first-of-its-kind partnership introducing fresh juice to children in a public school system! For 2022, we want to expand the footprint of our brand and continue to show extreme fortitude during a tumultuous time in our country, while at the same time expanding our impact and adding tangible context to our slogan: “We make juice for a reason.”
We want to ensure that gratitude for where we are today resonates at the core of our tone even as we seek growth. What we realize is that many of us as individuals and businesses feel like we’re weathering never-ending blows. Ultimately, our resolution and what excites us is the opportunity we have to be a bright light during a dark period that authentically encourages more self love. So many of our industry peers have closed or are struggling, and we are simply grateful to have the opportunity to remain.
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