While the world has been at a standstill for the last few months because of an unprecedented, challenging pandemic – it means many of our favourite businesses, or our very own businesses, have slowly been decaying. The safety of employees evidently is first priority, but it’s clear that these challenging times need to be met with innovative, creative strategies in order for businesses to stay afloat. We need to be able to navigate through the coronavirus crisis with effective strategies that yield impressive results to enable our businesses to recover, slowly but surely.
Contingency plans have been quickly underway for companies – which is ultimately a plan that is designed to consider and consider various future events or circumstances. You can learn how to make a contingency plan, or simply develop your existing one. The severity of this crisis is due to long term implications for businesses of all types, but there are various steps we can take now in order to help and improve the situation to make it out of the pandemic, still hopeful and in business. There are many business leaders across the world that continue to share their experiences and offer tips and advice. It’s quite clear that a handful of industries have emerged stronger from the crisis, while some have been set back significantly.
So, where do you begin to emerge stronger from covid-19? And how difficult is it going to be to evolve your business ready for a post pandemic world? Follow our tried and tested tips below in order to make positive changes to your business moving forward.
1) Look At The Financial Damage
Having closed shops and stores for 2-3 months, this has already stamped a hole in your profit margins. This is why assessing your financial state is the most important thing to do when you come back to work. Small businesses have faced the wrath of the coronavirus more so than national or regional businesses so you need to start with the hard numbers first.
You need to work through your financial statements and data. The three most important data metrics you need to pay attention to are: profit, loss, and recent cash flow statements. You need to be able to compare these figures to previous years, so you are able to determine how badly you have been hit. The more severe it is, the more aggressive approach and strategy you will need to take to recover.
In the UK, £20 million in new grants have been revealed to boost the recovery of small businesses. This means that small and medium sized businesses are able to access grants between £1,000 to £5,000 to get back on track. This is in addition to a huge package from the government, which includes a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme. This scheme is designed to create thousands of jobs for young people across the country.
Strategic financial planning should be on the top of your list for when you’re ready to get your business back out into the world.
2) Review Your Business Model
As a small, medium, or large business – there’s a 99% chance your business model pre covid-19 is a lot different to how it is now. Just like your financial statement, your business model and your business plan might need some fine tuning, with additions of new, achievable goals, profit margins and more. A critical question to ask yourself at this point is – can my business adjust to this new normal? Can my business survive as we are, or do we need to adjust? Once you have determined the answers to these questions, you can adjust your business plan accordingly and make the necessary changes.
Ensure you identify your strengths, weaknesses, strategies that were effective pre covid-19, and strategies that could be effective post covid-19.
A brief example of this, if you were a small business, would be that you need to look at expanding your digital marketing footprint online as a local farm shop business. If 95% of your business comes from word of mouth referrals, this is the only marketing channel you can rely on – without this, you would have no business. Now, as we’ve been on lockdown for a few months, and social distancing measures are still in place, your word of mouth referrals have more than likely been sliced in half. If you had an online presence, an ecommerce website that allowed users to shop online and have the option for home delivery, this would be much more convenient for the customer, and for yourself, right? Alternatively, if you don’t have the budget for this marketing channel, you can increase your local presence by getting yourself familiar with Google my Business – a free tool that allows you to set up your business. It allows more local customers to find you.
Take a look at the top 5 tips for setting up a Google My Business Listing.
3) Determine New Budgets
This is a step that every company has taken, or will have to take post pandemic. For large businesses that have been lucky enough to maintain a substantial amount of cash going into covid-19, it’s likely that they won’t need a jump start to resume operations. If you are a small to medium sized business however, it is likely you’ll need some working capital to give you a kickstart. As mentioned earlier in the article, the UK government has revealed business grants, and for the US they are also offering coronavirus relief to help small business owners with the necessary funding.
With the previous steps you have already identified issues that you need to focus on as a business, and with new goals in place regarding sales or revenue, you should have more accurate figures regarding new budgets on how much you can spend post pandemic. There is an extensive range of budgets, including marketing budgets, cash flow budgets, operating budgets, sales budgets, production budgets and so on.
4) Create a New Roadmap for Rebuilding
Although reviewing plans and documents sounds repetitive, it’s something that is a crucial part of forming an effective strategy for coming out of the pandemic. You might have identified a specific marketing channel has been hit more than others if you’re an eCommerce business, or because you’re a small, independent business in a village that you haven’t had many customers come through the door. Your new roadmap, or timeline, should be the high priority tasks that you need to action ASAP. Doing multiple things at once is most often not realistic, so by creating a timeline that allows you to meet goals, it is much more achievable. We’ve prepared a brief example below to give you a better insight.
>Secure funding for business
>Bring back employees that have been on furlough
>Update website platform to move products online (if possible)
>Reopen physical stores
5) Dive Into New Markets
We know this won’t be possible for all businesses, but wherever possible, you could research and find new markets to expand into and serve. By doing this, you immediately make your business more profitable and increase it’s exposure and brand awareness. For example, if you are an independent fashion brand only serving local customers, you could consider selling to other businesses, as well as third party platforms online. If you are a local painter and decorator for example serving your local area, you could expand your business services and research tender opportunities, or advertise to commercial customers also.
Outside of the box thinking and quick actions have taught many businesses across the globe how to keep businesses fluid and stable so you can ride the storm. Although some businesses have negatively been impacted by the coronavirus, we should still pay attention to the positives and the trends that have now been introduced e.g. remote working, virtual meetings, robot deliveries. These are all things we can incorporate into our business models moving forward and therefore increase our odds of not only surviving during a difficult pandemic but to thrive during rough times too.