The COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted the lives of people and businesses across the globe. Thankfully, Australia is already on its way to economic recovery. However, the recent rise of COVID cases and restrictions poses another threat to shops and services, especially to small businesses.
If your small business is still trying to recover from the initial impact of the pandemic or is taking another hit from recent lockdowns, here are some strategies to help your business survive and thrive.
Re-analyse your business plan
First of all, you should look at your current business plan and ask yourself: “What’s no longer working?” Remember that your business model may have worked pre-pandemic, but it may no longer be sufficient under current circumstances.
Given restrictions and health protocols, how should your business reach out, communicate, and transact with customers? For example, if your store relied on foot traffic, you may need to promote and sell online instead, to reach new and current customers.
While re-analysing your business plan, it’s also a good idea to look at what competitors are doing. How are they adjusting to the changes and what are the trends in your industry? Learn from them and try to apply the changes in your business plan accordingly.
Consider loans and other funding opportunities
If you’re running low on cash flow or funds, consider getting a loan. It will help you fund your daily operations to keep you afloat. A loan will also allow you to invest in new equipment, labour, skills, inventory, and more to help you keep up with trends and expand your business. For example, you could offer your own delivery services using micro-mobility devices to provide customers with a convenient way to shop in your store.
The federal and state governments have offered financial assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic. There are also loan programs offered by various banks and online business lending platforms to help businesses recover.
Maximise digital media
Another strategy to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is to leverage digital media, especially social media. Since the start of the pandemic, more businesses have transferred operations or promotions online to reach out and communicate with customers. Many have also applied e-commerce marketing strategies to sell more online.
However, one of the key digital strategies that have been proven effective for businesses is social media. It has been one of the best drivers for marketing, customer service, brand awareness, and customer engagement. In the long run, a study by Gartner found that 40 percent of businesses will outperform competitors if they offer digital services. Given that automation and digital media are ongoing trends in the field, it’s the right time to invest in these technologies for the long run.
Hire or retain skilled staff
One of the best ways to rebuild your business after COVID-19 is to build a great team. In fact, it’s crucial that you hire or retain skilled staff since they will be the core to a smooth-running operation. Moreover, it will give you peace of mind that your business is in capable and reliable hands. With a dedicated and talented team, you can focus on solving problems, creating solutions, and growing your business.
If you have trouble finding the right people, consider outsourcing or hiring from other countries. Since most businesses and employees already work remotely, it can be easier to communicate and work with staff from anywhere in the world. What’s great about hiring offshore is that it allows you to tap into talent that’s not available or accessible in Australia or New Zealand. Ultimately, try to build the best team possible to help your business be successful.
Offer flexible work conditions and perks
In line with finding or retaining a skilled workforce, it’s important to provide your staff with perks and benefits. One thing that most employees look for is flexible work conditions. In fact, a 2020 study found that three quarters of entrepreneurs and professionals consider remote work as the new normal.
Given the global pandemic, more employees are turning to remote work options to minimise their exposure to the virus. In fact, companies like Twitter are considering remote work permanently.
Employees are looking for a company with great benefits, a good salary, and healthy work-life balance. Offering flexible work and bonuses will allow your small business to attract and retain talent who will help your company grow.
Create a Plan B
Using what you have learned and experienced during the onset of the pandemic, create a contingency plan to help ‘pandemic-proof’ your business. For example, if you didn’t have sufficient cash savings, it would be wise to speak to a professional, assess your finances, and develop a strategy to save now. To do so, you may need to cut down on certain costs. As things remain uncertain due to COVID-19, it is important to be prepared.
Don’t stop learning and growing
Overall, one of the key aspects of staying afloat during the pandemic and in other economic crises in the future is to be open to learning and applying new things. In short, you need the ability to adapt to situations so your small business can grow. Be open to hiring new talent, applying new strategies, and leveraging technology to push your business forward.
“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."