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History will undoubtedly look back at 2020 as one of the most challenging years possible for business owners. Thankfully, business owners also possess many crucial characteristics that were put to use during this pandemic, allowing them to both survive last year and strive for a more optimistic year ahead. The year may have just begun, but already there are signs of opportunity for businesses to grow again.

Take Advantage of Online Options

Now is the time to offer goods or services online if you haven’t already. Though it may seem overwhelming to tackle this transition, online sales grew at a record pace last year and show no sign of slowing.

If your business cannot be offered online, consider social media marketing or an updated website to at least find your customers online. In particular, ensure you are mobile-friendly. According to recent research, approximately 60% of the world’s population use the internet and social media use increased 12% over the past year.

In other words, the days of brick and mortar businesses operating solely by referral or word of mouth are drawing to a close. Businesses who can’t or won’t build an online presence are likely to be left even farther behind by year’s end.

Enhance Customer Experience

Another way to grow your business in 2021 is to focus on enhanced customer experiences. What does that mean? It means customers are willing to pay more for a more personalized interaction with businesses.

After all, thanks to the increased online activity mentioned above, customers know far more about your business than ever before. They spend time reading reviews, visiting web sites and social media, and researching your products or services. Thus, they fully expect you to know more about them and their “pain points.” Here are three ways to build toward that transformation.

Use Data

Another key component for growth in 2021 is to use your data. This is another area that helps successful business owners stand out from the competition. Understanding your analytics helps set realistic goals, identify and segment your audiences, and lowers overall cost. Add the right analytic tools to your website and business processes so you can measure activities and create actionable insights. Perhaps pre-pandemic your business managed without much emphasis on data, but post-pandemic your business may not grow without it.

With the recent International Monetary Fund forecast, growth is possible this year for businesses, but it will require patience and flexibility. For business owners who feel more burnt-out that inspired to tackle another year of new adaptation, it may be time to consider selling your business instead.