No one can argue against the fact that these are some tough times for everyone. The fatal risk we face every day is not just threatening to our health and wellbeing but is also impacting our source of livelihood. Some are hit worse than others and it significantly adds to the stress and anxiety most of us may already be suffering from.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are, you’re already feeling the crunch that the unprecedented times brought along. This is particularly true if the field you’re in is heavily affected by the lockdowns and quarantine restrictions. Most folks with brick and mortar shops have been feeling the burn and are already having great difficulties trying to make ends meet.
For online businesses, many would expect that not much will change since they’ve always operated in the digital space but it’s not the case. As lots of traditional ventures went online to survive the pandemic, the competition for online businesses spiked. While established brands saw growth, smaller businesses slowed down a bit. Now that there are more options, the challenge is to make customers choose their products and services over the others.
No matter how dire the situation seems, however, there are still good ways to overcome the challenges the unprecedented times brought along. If you’re looking for the right measures to implement to ensure that your business will get through these tough times.
Here are a few things you should do to thrive in uncertain times
As a business owner who is facing uncertain times and experiencing quite a number of challenges while worrying about a myriad of other things, it can be quite easy to feel despair. Despite this, however, try not to panic. We know it’s easier said than done but succumbing to this negative emotion can cloud your judgment and make things a lot more difficult for you.
It’s important to stay calm when things about your business are getting distressing as your emotions can easily affect others around you. A high-tension work environment would hurt a struggling business all the more, so it’s important to avoid creating such conditions.
Staying level-headed will also help you make more sound decisions, especially tough ones. Drastic calls might hurt your business in the long run, especially at the pace things are changing now so it’s important to balance yourself before making a decision.
Doing self-care and asking for help are also important things to do for business owners. These two things will help you have a healthier mindset and deal with your many stressors.
Focus on Networking
As doing business in person is not as easy as before, strengthening your bonds and tapping into them would be an effective alternative to promote and boost your venture’s dealings and sales. Getting a little help from your friends in promoting your products and services will go a long way. Connecting with new individuals, businesses, and communities will also help you cast a wider net and let more people know about your offerings and how you’re conducting business at the moment.
As most people are also scrambling to find reliable and reputable places to source their necessities from, using your network to let others know of your business will be the most effective marketing tool today. It’s like using word of mouth, except it’s done through social media and other digital platforms.
If you weren’t as active in your online channels before, this is also the time to spend more time on it. It’s important to be responsive to customers in order to create a good impression and build solid relationships.
Make a Plan
It might seem odd to plan now that nothing’s certain but if you’re a business owner, you would know that plans are always important. You might feel like focusing on surviving should be your priority and it should be but a plan would also help you achieve this. It’s also a good way to look forward to the economy’s recovery period as it will keep you from making haphazard decisions.
Making a 3-month financial plan is highly recommended by experts as it will help you get a better picture of your finances. It will let you know where you are at the moment, know how much you’re expecting to get soon and explore where you can cut costs.
Once you have all the information you need on your finances, you can start looking for ways to extend it. Talk to your landlord and suppliers and see if they have payment options that will let you spread out your costs. Check out the available aid institutions and the government is offering to business owners like you. Consider DIYing some of the things you used to pay for, if possible.
Creating a marketing plan is also necessary. You have to be extra-strategic nowadays as marketing missteps will be very costly. You might also need to cut down on your marketing budget, so it’s best to plan ahead for the changes that you have to do.
Upskill Your Employees
Adapting to the changes the “new normal” brings means you should also help your staff keep up with the times. Train them to learn new skills that will help them stay efficient and productive despite the changes your business is going through. There are several online training programs that can help with this, so don’t fret.
Take a look at your competitors
This is also a good time to take a look at your competitors as they might be doing stuff that you’re not. It’s more so you can be sure that you’re not missing out on something other than trying to one-up them. You can use them as a case study for what you can and cannot do.
While you can’t necessarily learn the things they’re planning, you can definitely learn a thing or two on the new changes they choose to implement. Just don’t rely on this technique entirely as it might leave you trailing behind and reacting slowly to industry changes. It’s a good way to test out concepts that you’re not too confident about, though.