This is a very worrying time for all, and especially those in small and medium sized businesses. There is a lot of information out there on the way the government can help those businesses. But there are other ways you can future proof your business to help keep going during these very uncertain times.
The biggest tip I can give is, DO NOT STOP YOUR PR AND MARKETING! Selling is not a dirty word. Yes, the world is in turmoil over what’s going on, and everyone, including businesses, are in shock. But this shock reaction will only last a few weeks at most. After everyone get used to the temporary, new normal, we are in, things will soon bounce back for most. Use that time wisely to refine and advance your techniques and strategies.
Here are my top tips for helping you keep your business ticking along.
- Look at the big picture.
- We don’t know when this current crisis will be over, but if we take an overview look of our businesses, and see, is there anything that you can change, modify, create that will serve a purpose? Do you have an idea you would like to trial?
- Plan, plan and plan
- if you are looking at diversifying, make sure you don’t just jump in with 2 feet. Work out the details first and ask – Is it viable? Is there a target audience? Is there a need? Do you have the capacity and knowledge?
- Review your strategies for sales and marketing.
- Are you implementing the correct strategy for your business? Has something changed but you haven’t changed your approach?
- Reduce cash flow.
- Talk to your creditors and see if you can get any payment holidays if you are shut down during the quarantine period. There is a lot of companies out there willing to help, but you do need to make the first step and talk to them.
- Sweat the small stuff
- Usually, in business, there are always thing that take priority over others. Bigger fish to fry as they say. So, the little things continue but as they are small, you let them go until such a time you get around to it. Well now is that time.
- The advertising in the 3 local parish magazines that don’t get you any enquiries. Look at their ROI and see, are they worth it?
- Outside of your premises needs a spruce up. DIY if you can. Paint the outside of the building, cut back those branches that are partially blocking your signage, tidy up the car park or outside pavement from weeds etc. Look around your business premises with a fine-tooth comb.
- Are there ways to streamline your operations to save on overheads?
- Don’t sacrifice quality just to keep up.
- And don’t cut your costs just to get customers. This could lead to you devaluing your own services and products in the eyes of the consumers.
- Utilize any rewards points/schemes you have signed up to before. Spend those points now on things you need.
- Look into a business exchange, barter or skill swap group.
- You can swap your services/products for other services you need. But research the pro’s and cons first before signing up to anything.
- Be honest about time scales.
- To manage the expectations of your customers. Its no crime to be savings costs so not running as many hours as normal. Most will understand this as long as you are up front.
- Keep networking.
- Now we are all on shutdown, it doesn’t mean the networking has to stop. In fact, there are now virtual networking for almost every hour of the day. This is almost better than face to face as the reach it gives is not dependent on location.
There are other options such as looking at re-financing, investment, loans and other finance options. However, these are measure only to be taken if you think you can afford to keep paying the fees and installments. This is something I don’t often suggest unless it is a last resort, or you are planning an expansion or large project. And would highly recommend you speak to an expert in business finance before making any decisions.
These are just a few things you can do. But each individual business is different and will require different approaches.
If you want to have a chat about looking more in detail at your own business or would like some referrals for experts in different fields, feel free to pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org