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End-of-Year Questions To Help Scale Your Small Business in 2023

Small business owners on laptop.

End-of-Year Questions To Help Scale Your Small Business in 2023

2023 is only a few short weeks away! And if you’re like us, you’re ready to wind down for the year.

Many businesses take a well-deserved breather before launching into the New Year - either for a couple of weeks or just a few days.

If you’re one of our clients, you’ll know that we’ve booked our annual Holiday Shutdown from December 19th to January 2nd. This break allows our staff some time to spend with their loved ones over the holiday season. And we are so grateful for the opportunity to do so!

Whether you’re planning a holiday breather or readying your business to transition right into the New Year, there’s something you need to do first.

Reflect on your 2022 business year!

Before you close out for the year, take inventory of yourself, your team and your business. This helps you appreciate all you’ve gone through, learn from your mistakes and move forward in the right direction!

We’ve listed 10 year-end questions below to help you reflect on the year before launching into 2023!

What are some of your 2022 business accomplishments?

When the New Year comes around, many business owners immediately start thinking ahead.

New goals. New dreams. New accomplishments.

And while it’s important to look ahead to all that you hope to achieve, it’s also crucial to look behind you at all you’ve already accomplished.

What are some things you’ve accomplished in the last year? These could be things on your list of 2022 business goals. Or it could be something else entirely!

The key here is to not compare.

Just make a list of the things that have helped move your business forward!

We’ve included a list of examples below to help give you some ideas:

  • I completed 5 large-scale projects without any setbacks.
  • I received lots of positive feedback from happy customers.
  • I didn’t surpass my spending goal.
  • I onboarded 7 new clients.
  • I expanded my team with 2 new hires.
  • I learned a new skill.
  • I hired an affordable digital marketing company.
  • I took my vacation time when I needed it.

Nothing is off the table here! Just keep listing everything you can think of - big or small!

How did you implement or improve your work/life balance?

Healthy work/life balance is something our team at OSM has had to really focus on this year.

We switched entirely to remote work almost a year ago and have loved the flexibility it brought! But with the work-from-home adjustment has come the difficulties of separating our personal lives from our work lives.

While it has given us more time with our families, it can be hard to leave the computer at the end of the day and focus solely on our personal lives.

Some of the ways our team has implemented a healthy work/life balance while working from home include:

  • Using a separate work laptop.
  • Setting aside specific times in the day for meetings.
  • Avoiding work emails and messages after hours.
  • Creating routines around their family’s schedule.
  • Clearly communicating their working hours with their family.
  • Limiting work discussions at home.
  • Taking lunch breaks away from their work devices.

All these small changes can drastically help improve the work/life balance at home.

Have you taken steps to improve your work/life balance? Have they worked well for you, your family and your business?

If so, keep going! But if not, try implementing some of the above tactics! Keep in mind they may not be practical or applicable to everyone. So be sure to pick and choose what strategies work best for you!

Did you get support when you needed it?

How many roles are you juggling right now? Social Media Coordinator, SEO Specialist, Financial Advisor, Accountant?

As business owners, it’s only natural for us to want to take the lead. But there’s power in knowing when we need more support.

The three most practical ways of getting support are:

  1. Expanding your team.
  2. Learning how to delegate effectively.
  3. Investing in a business coach.

Each of these strategies plays a role in supporting you as the business owner.

Let’s face it, as business owners, we can easily get sucked into working IN our businesses. But once that happens, the growth of our company is no longer the priority.

Getting the support we need can help reduce our workload, ensure we’re moving in the right direction and free up our time! So we can keep focusing on growing our business rather than just keeping it afloat.

Did you get support when you needed it this past year? Or were there some areas that you tried to carry all the weight yourself?

What worked well? What didn’t?

At the beginning of 2022, you probably came up with a series of business goals you wanted to achieve by the end of the year. Maybe they applied to finances, time management or performance.

Then, over the year, you’ve implemented numerous strategies to help you achieve those goals.

When looking back over the year, can you identify some of the goals and strategies that worked well for you? And which didn’t?

For example, maybe you made a goal of onboarding 10 new clients in 2022.

If you succeeded, was your team able to handle the additional workload?

If you didn't succeed then what was holding you back?

Knowing what works for you and your team can help you create realistic future goals.

What is your biggest disappointment?

This question isn’t meant to be a downer or to make you feel guilty. It's to help you reflect on the previous year from an honest, productive perspective.

Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for in the past year? Whether that be a mistake or something you weren’t able to achieve?

Mistakes are normal. And as a business owner, the ones you made this year probably won’t be your last. These mistakes or unexpected turns of events are how we grow as flexible, problem-solving business owners!!

In the words of Thomas Edison,

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

Forgiving yourself for any of the disappointments in 2022 can put you in a better mental mindset for the new year!

What are you most proud of?

This question can apply to any number of things - like an award or even a personal sense of accomplishment.

We can truly be our own worst critics, which is why it’s vital for us to learn how to appreciate ourselves.

Is there a moment in the past year that made you particularly proud? Give yourself some credit for it! You deserve to appreciate these moments!

What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of 2022 after seeing how the year actually played out?

This one is a doozie, but it’s incredibly impactful!

Reflecting on the previous year gives you a great vantage point. You can now see things from the big picture perspective rather than bit by bit.

Would you remind yourself to be more optimistic?

To have more faith in your team?

To spend more time with your family?

To give yourself more grace?

Try to apply the advice you would have given yourself in 2022 to this year! This bigger-picture perspective is a great way to enter 2023.

 

A Time To Look Back And a Time To Look Forward

Looking back with the wisdom of today gives you a valuable perspective for tomorrow!

Once you’ve had a chance to look back at the incredible moments of 2022, you can move forward into the fresh, open canvas of 2023!

What will this year have in store for you?

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7 Genuine Steps To Business Success From a Business Owner's P.O.V.

Quinte business owner Joshua Edwards shares his point of view on business success.

7 Genuine Steps To Business Success From a Business Owner's P.O.V.

The idea of growing your small business exponentially as fast as possible is exciting. But, in most cases, it’s also very, very difficult.

Especially if you don’t have the tools or resources to get you where you want to go.

Bet you think we just crashed and burned this article, right?

Well, that depends on how you look at it!

No, this is not a typical 10 Steps To 6-Figure Success Guide.

at Georgian Downs when you travel to Innisfil.

I’m not giving you a list of things to spend money on or fill up your schedule.

In fact, everything I talk about in this article is 100% free.

This article is about building a sturdy foundation for your business to grow on. One that withstands the unexpected. From high winds to seemingly never-ending pandemics to unflattering budget cuts.

It’s about the roots.

So, here’s the honest truth:

While I’m a big believer in business success, I'm not a fan of the typical route it takes to get there.

I don’t dream of hustling 24/7 and climbing my way up a rickety ladder to a reality that’s…to be real…exhausting at best.

That’s just not for me.

And if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing it’s probably not for you either.

Our WHY goes a lot deeper than deep-pocket goals, which means we have to root our marketing strategies in something deeper too.

Let’s camp there for a bit.

What is your business success rooted in?

In my eyes, business success is about having:

  • A strong team,
  • A joy for the job.
  • A genuine curiosity to keep learning.
  • A passionate community to lean on.
  • Practical tools to get you where you need to go.
  • Implementable habits that support your goal(s).

These are the things I always come back to at the end of the day. And I believe they are the life-changing "6-figure success tips” that will actually help businesses succeed in the long run.

And, if you notice, none of them has to cost a dime!

1. Build a Team That Upholds Strong Values

You can’t grow a successful business without first building a team that’s strong enough to uphold it.

That’s just fact.

But what makes a strong team?

  • Defined Purpose
  • Shared Trust
  • Appreciation For One Another Individual Skills
  • Empowerment
  • And Fun!

A team with aligned values, purpose and passion is a force to be reckoned with!

2. Prioritize Your Joy For The Job.

This isn’t a popular opinion, especially in the corporate world. But I highly recommend prioritizing joy at your job.

As business owners, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the reasons we launched in the first place.

At the start, everything was exciting. Challenging. Scary. And thrilling!

But after running the business for a few years, things start to settle into a rhythm.

My advice?

Never stop doing things that bring you joy in your business. Prioritize them. Make them a part of your daily or weekly routines.

3. Create Implementable Habits

Habits are what stabilize the rungs on your ladder to success.

They are the practical, steady, dependable staircase you can take to reach your goals!

Remember in my last article when I mentioned the groundbreaking truth? That habits actually outweigh goals in the business world?

In that article, I mentioned how I actually love goals. But it's the habits we build and implement that have the bigger impact.

Our daily attitude, routines and behaviours are what create that strong foundation for our company's growth - one rung at a time!

4. Network With Heart

I love building lasting, meaningful relationships. In fact, it’s one of my favourite things about being a business owner!

The opportunity to connect with other businesses in Quinte and surrounding areas has made such a big difference in my life.

That’s why I started Shop Talk Quinte! A platform built for meaningful, intentional, authentic conversations with entrepreneurs and professionals alike!

(Pssst…if you haven’t guessed it, this is one way that I prioritize joy in my job!

To be honest with you, these conversations have taught me the real way to create a community in business.

They’ve taught me how to network with heart. And how to allow people to see the real me. And to be brave enough to share my genuine answers with them. Just as they are brave enough to share theirs with me.

Even though it’s uncomfortable (because it can be)!

This leads me to my next point…

5. Get UNcomfortable

We all have a comfort zone. And that’s not a bad thing!

Being confident and comfortable in what you do is so valuable. Especially in business!

But there’s also unique value in being simultaneously confident and UNcomfortable. Strength in knowing you have to do something and being willing to give it your best shot - regardless of the doubt creeping in.

As business owners, we’re given challenges like this almost daily.

Maybe it’s initiating a difficult but necessary conversation with another team member.

Or maybe it’s downloading TikTok and making your first video.

Whatever your UNcomfy is, I encourage you to embrace it! To get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

6. Stay Curious

This is something I encourage my whole team to do.

To stay curious. To keep learning new things and pursuing excellence in their unique niche.

It doesn’t mean you have to go back to school or take expensive courses. But it does mean having a willing mind and a teachable spirit.

7. Be Okay With Losing

We have to learn how to be okay with losing.

Not everything we try is going to work. And sometimes, we just have to try a whole host of different things before something really sticks.

Whether that's a career choice, a campaign, a product design etc.

Instead of becoming discouraged, we can become empowered to keep going.

Because in the words of Thomas Edison,

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

And isn’t that what learning is all about?

 

Let’s Keep This Conversation Going!

As I mentioned above, I love having these intentional conversations. And I hope they are as impactful to you as they are to me.

Let's continue this discussion online!

Sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss our next post. And don't forget to visit our socials! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

- Josh & The OSM Team

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5 Powerful Lessons That Every Business Owner Should Learn

Josh Edwards, owner of OSM in Belleville, Ontario offers 5 valuable lessons he learned as a new business owner.

5 Powerful Lessons That Every Business Owner Should Learn

Being a business owner is hard.

Now, don’t get me wrong! I love it. I love the creativity and talent I see every day in my team. I love the passion I see in our clients. I love the daily challenge I’m presented with to lead and grow my business to new heights. And I love having flexibility with my family to live a life I love.

And while these things don’t necessarily make my job any easier, they do make it so incredibly worth it.

So, while I could give you all the helpful business advice on how to start, grow and accelerate your business - I’m not.

At least, not today ;)

Because what I want most for you is deeper than that.

I want you to enjoy what you do wholeheartedly. To wake up on a Monday morning and start your day with excitement and confidence.

I want you to be unafraid to lead your business forward with the vision you have for it. And I want you to build healthy habits and relationships with your team.

I want all this for you.

So, in this article, you won’t find fluffy encouragements or empty sentiments. Mostly because I don’t believe you can stand firm on fluff. And also because everyone knows you can’t go very far on an empty tank.

Instead, I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes look at owning a business - the pretty and the not-so-pretty.

I hope you learn some of the most impactful lessons I have had to unpack and digest over the years. Because I believe It’s truths like these that impact our success the most.

 

The Buck Stops With You

This is one of the first things you’ll learn - and it’s not a fun one. It is, however, necessary to understand.

As a business owner, the buck stops with you.

In other words, your business is your responsibility. So whether the result is good or bad, you must be willing to accept the criticism - regardless of whether that critiquing is constructive or not.

Nobody likes the blame game. And frankly, it will get you nowhere.

So while nobody likes to hear the words “it’s all your fault”, sometimes that's what we have to accept. Only then can we take the necessary steps forward to healthy reconciliation.

My advice? Be the bigger person.

 

Kind Candour Is Necessary.

Who here loves confrontation and conflict resolution?

(I’m not expecting a lot of hands to go up)

If you’re like me, the resolution part is easy! But getting there is less than fun.

I used to shy away from confrontation because it seemed like a more peaceful solution.

But if you want to build a successful business based on your and your company's core values, you must face the issue head-on.

Otherwise, what started as a simple disagreement could lead to a very unnecessary argument.

In my experience, learning to be upfront and kind is the best approach to confrontation - AKA cultivating kind candour!

 

Your Best Work Comes From a Place of Rest.

Do you ever feel guilty for taking a break?

For setting a strict boundary on your schedule?

Or for limiting how much time you spend at the office?

You’re not alone!

In North America, we are taught to EARN our rest.

In our fast-paced world, getting as much done in as little time as possible has become more than a social norm. It’s become the goal of most career-focused individuals!

But in reality, this mindset is causing increased stress, anxiety and burnout - especially as businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a CFIB and Nexim Canada study, 66% of small business owners are close to burnout.

And this burnout is precisely why boundaries and rest are so necessary.

To work on and in your business effectively, you need to learn how to approach it from a place of rest - not exhaustion.

 

Habits Outweigh Goals

In my experience, a solid vision and healthy habits always outweigh a goal.

You might be shaking your head in disbelief right about now. After all, how can a company move forward and grow without a goal in mind?

But I’m not telling you to stop making goals.

In truth, I love goals!

But I believe the habits we build and implement in our daily lives hugely impact these goals.

I believe practising core values and implementing healthy routines are the ONLY way to effectively achieve these goals.

Every company has a vision. And everyone in that company needs to understand the direction that vision is taking them.

But what are you and your team doing to get there?

How can we build strong, healthy habits that support our vision?

 

Not Everyone Is Going To Like or Understand You.

We touched on this topic briefly in our 2022 Social Media Engagement Guide. But, as a business owner, I believe this is one of the greatest lessons you can learn.

Here it is:

Not everyone will like you.

And not everyone will understand you.

But, regardless of who does or doesn’t, you must stand firm on your values. You must treat others as you would want them to treat you - with respect.

 

Let’s Keep This Conversation Going!

At OSM, we love connecting with and supporting local businesses. 

Our VISION is to help you cultivate, grow and thrive.

And we make it our DAILY HABIT to give you the practical tools and creative solutions you need to do just that!

You can find these tips on our Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube channels! 

And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter too! We'll keep you updated on all that's happening at OSM, as well as upcoming events and new blog posts!

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Good Web Hosting Services Are Crucial in 2022. Here's Why!

OSM in Belleville, Ontario, explains why web hosting services are crucial in 2022.

Good Web Hosting Services Are Crucial in 2022. Here's Why!

2022 is a crazy time to be alive. And an even crazier time to run a business! If you’re still on the fence about starting a website and investing in web hosting, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for to make that jump!

And we’ll tell you why…

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail world came to a screeching halt. And we’re only just now recovering from the aftermath!

When COVID first hit and brick-and-mortar shops began closing their doors, small business owners had to make an important decision.

Should they stick it out and hope for the best? Or should they follow the rest of the world and shift to a hybrid business model?

While some businesses did decide to stay put and hope that in-person shopping would return, many others made the jump into e-commerce. They purchased a domain name, invested in web design and became a part of the growing online shopping community.

And thank goodness they did! Because online shopping grew by 5.5% that year alone (2019-2020).

And this shift has only continued since then!

Yes, doors did open again, and in-store shopping returned. But the shift to digital shopping wasn’t necessarily a temporary solution. The world was already headed in the direction of incredible technological advancement before COVID.

So, in some ways, the pandemic simply sped up the process.

Today, around 6,000,000 people are online shopping every minute! And 85% of consumers are now using the internet regularly to discover local businesses.

They pull out their mobile phone, type in a few words relating to their search and choose one of the highest-ranking page results on their search engine results page (SERP). All in hopes that the product, service or other information they are looking for will pop up. This process is why SEO (search engine optimization) is so vital in 2022.

But here’s the thing…

Google (or any search engine for that matter) isn’t a wizard. If you want to get found online, you have to show up and fight for your spot! 

But SEO isn’t the only tool used to get you there…

If you want to compete with the other billion or so sites in the world, your website needs to be:

  • Stable,
  • Secure and
  • Fast!

You also need a good web host support team to back you up!

Are you ready to start generating online traffic and business revenue? It’s time to get online with reliable website hosting services!

 

Let’s Start With The Basics: What Is Web Hosting?

If you want a website, you need website hosting. There’s no way around it.

But what exactly is website hosting anyway?

To better understand it, we have to take a bit of a deep dive into the complexities of the internet.

Don’t worry - it’s not as scary as you think!

First Up, Your Internet Browser

In short, internet browsers (or web browsers) are the tools used to scan the internet and present web pages to the searcher. They simplify and convert the code (HTML) used to create websites so that we’re able to see things like text and images.

Your internet browser is what allows you to see the page you’re reading right now!

Examples of Internet Browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Apple Safari
  • Opera
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Vivaldi

The Internet

The internet is a globally connected network system. It can access and retrieve data worldwide!

As you search online, your web browser sends access requests (HTTP requests) to internet servers using an internet connection - a means of network communication.

This communication allows browsers to search for, find and retrieve information for the searcher.

Without the internet, browsers would have no way of accessing the servers that hold all the world’s websites!

Internet Servers

Internet servers are what hold (or host) websites. They receive those access requests from your browser (sent through the internet) and allow your websites to be found and retrieved by the searcher.

When we say your site needs hosting, we’re saying that your site needs a home on one of these servers. Only then can the online community find your business!

Essentially, having your website hosted means that it is safely stored and accessible online.

And that's how web hosting works!

 

Why Is Good Web Hosting So Important For Your Website?

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea of why having your website hosted is so important. But do you know what makes a GOOD website hosting service?

Stability

Server reliability is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a web hosting provider. Why? Because a weak server can boot your website offline - leaving your site entirely out of the internet’s reach.

If this happened, you could lose search traffic, viewership and potential sales!

A good website hosting company has a stable server and has an annual network uptime score above 99.5%.

Security

Strong security is a must for any website, but especially for one that collects or stores personal data.

A secure web host protects your website from hackers, cyberattacks and other potential threats.

A good website hosting company will ensure that your website has quality cyber security protection and regular security updates.

Speed

Load-time is an extremely important aspect of a successful website. When a searcher lands on your site, you only have a small amount of time to make a good impression. And to do that, your site needs to load quickly, your page content needs to be valuable, and they have to find what they're looking for. 

In fact, according to Google, you have about 1-2 seconds for your page to load! Any more than that and you’re risking a high bounce rate and a low Google ranking in SERP. 

A good website hosting company ensures competitive side speed.

Support

Fast, personalized and effective customer service is the fourth and possibly the most crucial factor to consider when selecting a web hosting company.

After all, the stability, security and speed of your website all rely on the support you get from your hosting provider.

Whether you have a self-managed site or have a web development company managing your site for you, a strong support system is imperative.

When choosing a good web host provider, look for the following support criteria:

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Human Support
  • 24/7 Ticket System

Need Web Hosting in Quinte? Browse Our DIY, SiteApex and WordPress hosting packages at OSM!

At OSM in Belleville, Ontario, we’ve been building, designing, managing and hosting websites since 1997!

Over the last 25 years, our Web Development and Support Team have worked with a variety of websites from multiple different industries.

The best part about our job as a web hosting company?

We get to build relationships with incredible companies in our community! Every. Single. Day.

Not only do we get to help build their dreams from the ground up, but we have the opportunity to support those dreams for years to come as well!

Are you looking for reliable website hosting in Quinte? Get in touch with our team!

Top 6 Benefits Of Our Web Hosting Services:

  • We update our servers regularly for improved performance and security.
  • Our servers are uniquely set up for optimized security reinforcement with Firewalls and Mod Security rules.
  • We monitor the install base and usage of each server closely - adjusting as needed to ensure excellent site speed for your visitors.
  • Our servers are constantly monitored via sonar monitoring. If any service fails to respond to a sonar check, our on-site, 24/7 support staff are immediately notified. While problems are extremely rare, this type of monitoring minimizes any potential downtime. It's is how we guarantee 99.9% Network Uptime!
  • We secure each of our websites with TLS 1.2/1.3 connections and basic SSL certificates.
  • Genuine human support by ticket, email, phone and online documentation.

 

Our Web Hosting Packages at OSM:

 

OSM Is Quinte’s One-Stop Digital Agency

Have you made your mark in the online world yet? We've got all the tools and experience you need to get started!

Begin building virtual authority, generating online traffic and growing business revenue in 2022. With our reliable web hosting and web design services, gaining traction in the online community is simple!

To learn more about our hosting services, call us at (613) 969-2626 or visit us online.

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