Anna Verghese
Anna Verghese, Co-founder, We Are Tabono

It’s been another roller coaster of a year, don’t you think? Full of ups and downs. Events were held in person, and now we’re all working from home again. Hugs came back, and now seem to be drifting away again with the suggestion that we all ‘prioritise’ our social interactions. But nevertheless, it’s important to reflect on the lessons from 2021 – both the good and the bad – and use what we’ve learned to prepare ourselves for 2022!

So here’s my take on exactly that:

21 lessons from 2021

  1. People are what really matters. OK so we knew that already as we have always put our members and clients at the absolute heart of everything we do. But it’s always good to remind ourselves of that.

2. Believe in yourself – one of the greatest pleasures we get from our business is when we see the lightbulb come on and they realise that they can do it!

3. Value yourself and your expertise – if you don’t see how great you are, nobody else will.

4. Give things a chance – if you don’t try things, how will you ever know whether you’ll like them, or how useful they are?

5. Numbers really do matter – we’re firm believers in the importance of knowing your numbers and seeing our members and clients embrace this has been so rewarding!

6. Self-care – taking care of yourself gives you the power to take care of your business

7. Ask – if you need something, ask for it. If you don’t, you’ll never know what your question might lead to.

8. Be brave – whether it be putting your prices up or walking into a networking event for the first time on your own, just go for it! (And if you’re planning to come to one of our events and you’re feeling nervous – just let us know!)

9. Fresh eyes can add so much value – we’ve recently been working with an intern from the University of Buckingham. Her fresh eyes and fresh perspective have been fantastic!

10. Challenge yourself – if you don’t go for it, someone else will.

11. Focus on what you love – and work towards outsourcing what you don’t.

12. Nobody can do you, like you – there may be others in your ‘lane’ or your ‘space’, but even if your businesses are virtually the same, the business owners are not. It’s time to celebrate those differences!

13. Always make time to learn – whether it be self-development or the latest trends in SEO, it’s so important to take time to learn and develop. When we’re not learning, we’re standing still – and that’s not good for business!

14. Celebrate your wins – so often we forget to celebrate our achievements, and when we do, we do it quietly and almost apologetically! So be proud of your successes and share them!

15. Make time for creativity – I’d say I’m creative in some ways. I can draw, and my bullet journal improves with practice. But I don’t think ‘being’ creative is the most important thing here. It’s making the time to try. Engaging in any creative activity – regardless of talent or experience – makes us calmer, more mindful and generally, happier!

16. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it – as small business owners, often we think we have to take on work because it’s being offered to us. Or we have to work with any client that comes our way. But that’s not true. If it doesn’t float your boat, you’re allowed to say no.

17. We get knocked down. We get back up again – running a small business owner is a roller coaster. And as much as we celebrate our wins, we also need to learn from our lows. And realise that there’s no such thing as failure. Only opportunities to learn. And get back up again.

18. Take time to work on your business. Not just in it. – When was the last time you did this? If it’s a while ago, come and join our next planning workshop!

19. Surround yourself with people that ‘get it’ – We all need our friends and family, and they support us with the absolute best of intentions. But make sure you have people in your network who know what you’re going through, and know what it means to be a small business owner. That kind of peer support is authentic, comes from experience, and is invaluable.

20. Check in with your ‘why’ – usually we run our businesses because we want to work in a certain way or to enable us to have a certain lifestyle. But when life and business takes over, it can cause you to lose track of your ‘why’. So take a moment to remind yourself why you’re doing this.

21. Love what you do – this had to be my last lesson from 2021, and I’ll leave you with this thought. If you don’t love what you do, then why are you doing it?