Small businesses represent over 90% of all companies globally. They infuse character and personality into our communities. Small businesses are resilient and creative in how they serve customers, and this has been even more evident since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
One year on, small business owners are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic – lockdowns in many parts of the world, closed borders, and the ongoing uncertainty. We’ve all had to make changes to the way we do things in both our personal and professional lives. This global crisis has caused economies to pause and has presented businesses with a unique opportunity to use these challenges to make meaningful change.
Here are some things to consider as your business prepares to not just survive but thrive in this changed world:
1. Be flexible
To have a business means that both you and your business have successfully adapted to change before. This needs to happen once again as the needs of customers change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Small businesses have the ability to quickly adapt to changing conditions, an advantage that larger, slower corporations do not have. Your ability to be flexible is critical to the survival and success of your business. Not only do you need to offer flexibility for your customers and their needs, but you also need to be flexible within your company when it comes to your ways of working, marketing, workforce and cost base. You must accept that the old ways we were working are long gone and now must put your energy into how things will be from now on. There are many different ways of operating and bringing value to your customers.
2. Don’t be afraid to experiment
Now is the perfect time to experiment and trial those new plans you’ve been sat on for a while. If it works then scale it up quickly; if not, simply move on to the next idea and you haven’t lost much, if anything. This approach gives business leaders the opportunity to test and learn, which can be far more effective than more traditional linear approaches. It is important at this stage to try new ways of working – and succeeding – in business.
3. Explore the ‘new normal’ for your business
Some consumer shifts – like increased online shopping – are likely to stick around even after the pandemic ends. For small businesses, this means making sure systems are in place to deal with these needs long-term. For many, that will be adapting your business to be successful in a digital world, whether that be allowing your staff to work at home more or improving your company’s website to accommodate the world’s shift online.
Every industry is taking a hard look at how they do business, with the majority of them not just working but thriving. The shift to a mostly digital business model is not new, it has just been accelerated. Fortunately, there is an endless supply of apps, websites, and online payment processors that make the overall impact to your business a little easier to deal with.
4. Create connections with customers
Small businesses have the advantage of personal connections to their customers and can deliver value that is distinct from large enterprises. Creating meaningful connections with customers is essential to keep them coming back. You need to really tap into their needs and find business solutions that keeps those needs at the forefront.
Now is the most important time to connect with and keep current customers, as well as reaching out to potential new ones. This could be through digitising some of your business operations, connecting with them on social media or via email, or even through rewarding their loyalty with special offers. Overall, it is essential that you are still providing that they want and need as customers.
5. Seek help from an accountant
An expert will be able to help you find efficiencies and identify where you can save money. They can help you select the best available tools to manage your business and enable it to succeed moving forward.
Although every business is different, common strategic threads are emerging. Digitising financial and company information for ease of access, focusing on personal connections with customers, and using data to predict and plan for the future can all help small businesses thrive, even in a crisis.
Need help to adapt your business in a changed world? Call us on 01202 755600 or drop an email to email@example.com.