A New Year Checklist



January 1, 2021

Happy new year 2021Happy New Year! 2021 holds out promise for much-needed stabilization as vaccine distribution begins and Sedona’s economy continues a steady recovery. For small businesses it’s time to take stock and look ahead. Here are a few ideas.

Add promotional discounts and coupons to the Chamber web site  Popular programs such as Locals Nite Out get much of their publicity on SedonaChamber.com and our “Deals & Coupons” page. Chamber partners can simply log on to their member portals and perform a simple upload.

Jump on our local newsletter  We feature business discounts and announcements on our twice monthly local newsletter, reaching thousands of residents. Please visit SedonaChamber.com to subscribe to the Local e-News or email us at pr@sedonachamber.com to be added.

Plan employee morale boosters   Employees did amazing work in 2020, and keeping morale high going forward should be a priority. In addition to being open, transparent and communicating often, you can celebrate new hires and anniversaries, set up an awards program, make decisions with employee input, and add a personal touch with thank you notes for a job well done. Consider bonuses (they don’t have to be big) and meal delivery for employees working from home. The best ideas come from putting yourself in their shoes – how would you like your boss to show gratitude and alleviate stress?

Check in with your tax planner  COVID-related withholding, changes in revenue and expenses, unemployment and government relief programs mean tax filing could be more complex. Get with your tax adviser to stay ahead of annual tax deadlines and make any changes needed in monthly and quarterly tax requirements.

Improve communication With employees working outside the office or storefront, a checklist app can bring everyone together. With these mobile-first apps you can schedule shifts, send reminders, connect everyone with an in-app chat, clock in and out, sign forms and more. You can send announcements, birthday greetings and shout outs. Many apps offer reasonable monthly rates and have excellent usability and functionality, making training simple. Just Google “online checklist apps” to see what’s out there.

Assess your 2020  Take a realistic look at your successes and failures in this pandemic year. Use hard data in your assessment, especially important this year when chaos and emotions may have affected your perceptions. Ask why your goals were or were not achieved and what steps you will take in 2021. Chamber partners can use our business counseling services in their assessment, a valuable source of ideas and advice.

Engage customers in new ways  Businesses reacted to the pandemic quickly and creatively. Home delivery, more online merchandise and remote service delivery all took off. So, what’s next? Are your practices aligned with how consumers are behaving now? For example, people are doing more online reading and researching before buying. Does your content meet this desire for more information? Check your website. Are you optimized for mobile? Are your keywords working for you? More and more often, Google results show an internal page rather than your homepage. Can people get around your site easily from any of the pages in your submenus?

Up your Social Media game  Social media was king even before the pandemic, but growth exploded in 2020 as businesses realized social is where their customers are. You can offer your products beautifully and in more detail with virtual showcases using high quality photography or videos. Start or join online conversations. Provide lots of updates on your inventory, sales, store hours and specials. Promote testimonials. Borrow ideas from others – see what businesses in and out of your field are doing that seems to be working. By the way, when posting products online, professional photography or videography almost always looks better than DIY. Rates are negotiable and you can make your money back with improved sales.

Get an insurance checkup  Though the Arizona legislature and federal lawmakers have yet to act on COVID-19 liability protection for businesses, it is still a good time to be sure you meet all your legal requirements and that your coverage is keeping up with increases in your property and inventory value.

Plan your vacation  Business owners are strong-minded individuals, sometimes believing they can do it all without consequences for their health or mental well-being. Sorry, but we’re all human! Check the calendar and carve out time now for mental health days and a decent vacation. Let everyone know in advance and stay committed. Think of your breaks as important health appointments – because they are.

Best of luck to you in 2021.  As always, we will be right here building on our strong foundation of sustainable growth and economic development for Sedona and Sedonans, keeping our community the best place to live, work play and visit.


–Michelle Conway,
Interim President/CEO and Director of Marketing