5 tips to set your business up for success in 2021

2020 was full of big challenges, and the new year is a great time to take a moment to reset. We looked at the big picture, and found five opportunities to help you take this year’s lessons and turn them into next year’s winning strategy.

Get a website


  • All types of businesses can benefit from a strong website, not just those that are consumer-facing.

  • A well-rounded digital strategy, including a website and social media, can help you take advantage of how people are searching for information online.

  • In 2021, consider whether your site offers the best user experience and whether it’s setting you up for sales and growth.


of small businesses said 2020 was the year they’d get a website.1

This year, we saw how important websites can be to generating business, and that won’t change in 2021.


  • Is my website mobile friendly?

  • Can customers place orders or make payments online?

  • Are my hours and contact information up to date?


Wells Fargo can help you set up online payments.

Take advantage of digital banking


  • Online and mobile banking can help you monitor and manage your accounts from anywhere, and make analyzing cash flow easier.

  • Digital banking can help you prepare for uncertain times, like those we saw in 2020, or whatever’s to come in 2021.

  • If you haven’t tried digital banking yet, set up an account to make and receive payments without going to a branch.


of small businesses use digital banking.2


  • Am I using all of the available online banking features?

  • Is my accounting software up to date and synced with my bank accounts?

  • Have I downloaded the Wells Fargo App so I can use mobile deposit*?


To access digital banking, enroll in Wells Fargo Online®.

Check your tech


  • Updating your tech can help enhance your operations, and it can also help you prepare for the possibility of future closures.

  • Research your broadband and wireless capabilities to see if you have enough bandwidth for your business. If you have employees, contractors, or vendors, check in with them about their capabilities.

  • Review your software. The right programs can help you become more efficient, analyze sales, and learn more about your customers.


of business owners are worried about new closures if there’s another wave of COVID-19.3


  • Can I use accounting software to better analyze sales, costs, and opportunities in 2021?

  • Is my accounting software synced to my bank accounts?

  • Can I use social media or a client-relationship manager to better get to know my customers?


Wells Fargo can help you sync Xero®** or QuickBooks® Online*** to your small business bank accounts.

Join a professional organization


  • Networking can help small business owners through crises like COVID-19 and it can also help as you rebuild and reset in 2021.

  • Organized groups can help you connect with your peers, and are gaining popularity, particularly with Millennials, who had previously favored social media.5

  • These groups can provide ideas and resources for growth, and may also help with recruiting talent, finding vendors, or even generating sales.

7 million

small business owners are part of more than 11,000 groups on networking site Meetup.com.4


  • Could I join my local chamber of commerce?

  • Are there trade groups or industry organizations that serve my area?

  • Could I start an informal network of business owners?


Search for lists of professional organizations and use those lists to find groups that suit your needs.

Create a plan B and a plan C


  • 2020 taught us to plan for the unexpected, and small business owners are split on what to expect.

  • Use resources you trust to help you create forecasts and think through how your business would be impacted by various scenarios.

  • See if you can come up with backup plans for each area of your business (sales, operations, etc.) and then maybe even a second backup plan.


of small business owners think the economy will recover in the second half of 2021.6


  • What happens if there’s another shutdown?

  • What happens if 2021 sales return to 2019 levels?

  • What happens if costs increase?


Wells Fargo offers economic commentary that can help you get started.

One of the biggest lessons of 2020 was that it’s impossible to plan ahead. So flexibility is key in 2021. Use these tips to help you stay nimble as you rebuild and grow your business.

  1. “2020 Small Business Marketing Stats,” Visual Objects, 2020.
  2. “Barlow Digital Business Banking 2020 Report,” Barlow Research, 2020.
  3. “July 2020 Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll,” US Chamber of Commerce, July 2020.
  4. “Small Business,” Meetup.com, October 2020.
  5. “Why Millennials join associations, and what associations can do to keep them,” Naylor, 2016.
  6. “Small Business Owners’ Optimism Up from April, Below COVID-19,” Gallup, September 2020.

*Deposit limits and other restrictions apply. Some accounts are not eligible for mobile deposit. Availability may be affected by your mobile carrier’s coverage area. Your mobile carrier’s message and data rates may apply. See Wells Fargo’s Online Access Agreement for other terms, conditions, and limitations.

**Xero accounting software is offered by Xero Limited. Wells Fargo doesn’t own or operate the Xero website. Xero is solely responsible for its content, product offerings, privacy, and security. Please refer to Xero’s terms of use and privacy policy, which are located on Xero’s website and are administered by Xero. For more help, visit Xero support. Xero is a trademark of Xero Limited.

***QuickBooks is offered by Intuit, Inc. Wells Fargo doesn’t own or operate QuickBooks. Intuit is solely responsible for its content, product offerings, privacy, and security. Please refer to Intuit’s terms of use and privacy policy, which are located on Intuit’s website and are administered by Intuit. QuickBooks is a registered trademark of Intuit, Inc.

Information and views provided are general in nature and are not legal, tax, or investment advice. Wells Fargo makes no warranties as to accuracy or completeness of information, including but not limited to information provided by third parties; does not endorse any non-Wells Fargo companies, products, or services described here; and takes no liability for your use of this information. Information and suggestions regarding business risk management and safeguards do not necessarily represent Wells Fargo’s business practices or experience. Please contact your own legal, tax, or financial advisors regarding your specific business needs before taking any action based upon this information.

© 2020 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Deposit products offered by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.