Millions of businesses around the world had to learn to adapt and reinvent themselves during the Covid pandemic. 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year, but many businesses readjusted to the rules of this new economy and 'new normal' and survived.
Now it's time for businesses not merely to survive but to THRIVE. Despite all the ups and downs that are sure to continue through 2021, we are seeing that there are ways to build and manage a thriving business.
Here are our top ten quick action items, all easy to implement in order for your business to thrive.
1. Create your new normal
Have you heard someone say, ‘I can’t wait for things to go back to normal’? Sadly, this indicates a wish to live in the past. Embrace the present for a better future. Focus on how to create a new normal that you thrive in, one that you get to create and direct. For instance, moving your business online might seem like a big challenge, but it’s gone from being a good idea to something you simply have to do.
Related: New Year - New Goals: A Roadmap to your Business Recovery
2. Take advantage of your competitors closing down
Are you in a position to take advantage of the misfortune of your competitors? Know who they are, and position yourself to leverage their client losses for your own growth success.
- Analyse why they shut down – learn from their mistakes in order to prepare yourself not to fall into the same situation.
- Look at their strengths and see what you can adapt in order to strengthen your product and/or service.
- Create a unique offer for their customers and outreach to as many as you can find via phone, email or in-person to build up your own client base.
This isn't about building a brand new business from the ground up. Instead, it's about adapting your products, services and business model to suit the needs of a changing market.
- You could start with deconstructing your business – understand each of the constituent pieces of your business as of today, such as customer behaviour, resources, partnerships, products and/or services, revenues, costs, in order to adapt to the existing business climate.
- Brainstorm with your employees. You have a great opportunity to work with your team to adapt to a changing environment.
- Be nimble with everything new your introducing knowing that you may need to pivot quickly to adapt to the market conditions at that point in time.
For many businesses, 2020 was the year of innovation and prosperity. For instance, retail enterprises that moved to an online model did well. Video conferencing (for example, on Zoom) built customer relationships differently but as effectively as in pre-Covid times.
Consider how your business can innovate as the ‘new normal’. You can include your customers in this, too.
Some of the world's biggest brands have made significant breakthroughs by giving their customers a role in co-designing or co-creating products or services. Giving your customers a part to play in innovation forces your business to make stronger connections with them. Find a way to learn all you can about that customer, and use that knowledge to influence, shape and manipulate customer behaviour so as to enrich your business.
5. Be cautious when looking for efficiencies
It can be a problem when businesses approach efficiency with aggressive cost-cutting strategies. While pressure can make this unavoidable, it's important to be careful not to tighten the belt too much. Cut costs and reduce waste but be careful that you don't stunt the type of innovation and team morale your business needs for long-term growth.
6. Flexible arrangements for your team
Working from home was attractive for many employees so if this option worked for your business, continue to offer work-from-home days and flexible working hours to retain your employees.
For small businesses now needing to do more with fewer resources, consider tapping into the freelance workforce or rethinking how teams are traditionally formed and augmenting staff numbers where appropriate. Hiring new employees in what could be an unstable and potentially short-term environment is always challenging so HR teams should be wise and take a cautious approach. On the positive side, companies fortunate enough to be in a position to hire will have an expanded pool of quality talent to draw from.
7. Introduce a strategic resource such as Virtual CFO into your business
It may sound counter intuitive to spend money on a senior resource but in actual fact, this is the time where strategic advice along with a deep dive into your numbers is essential. With a Virtual CFO's unique skill set, it's likely they have dealt with difficult business circumstances and know how to turn them around and get a business strategically growing again. A CFO will have an unbiased and pragmatic approach to your finances, giving you time and clarity to work towards your goals.
Related: When should an SMB hire a CFO?
8. Virtualise your business
Source the right technology solutions for your business. For instance, manual admin tasks can be online by adopting digital systems and processes that save time and money in the long term. There is a huge pool of accounting, CRM and marketing software to choose from that you can customise. Having robust accounting and ERP software is critical to generating the data and insights needed for smart decision-making. This will boost business agility and help keep a close eye on cashflow, as well as ensuring there is enough capital to rebuild businesses and meet deferred payments.
Related: Cashflow is a lifeblood of your business, especially during a pandemic such as Covid
9. Deepen the understanding of your market
Investigate your profitability on every product or service. Consider whether flash sales, loyalty programs or discounts for recommending friends could incentivise a short-term spike in customers. Have your customers transferred to online buying and ordering? Meet them where they are and ramp up your social media presence on the platforms they hang out on.
10. Be post-COVID 2 ready
The long-term health of your business and the current optimism around economic recovery is based on a range of factors, including the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Meet with your accountant and advisor to do some scenario planning to plan for the future. Project your cashflow across a number of different good and bad scenarios. Take stock of your current financial and workforce situation and build a more powerful business culture.
Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #Technology
“Be flexible and listen to the market: Even if you nail down the perfect niche, it won’t necessarily remain the same forever. Markets can be fickle. If you can’t pivot and react when the winds of change come, you’ll be blown away.”
This information is accurate on the day it’s published and is subject to change as the situation around Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves. Our conclusions may not be valid if there is any change in those facts, circumstances and assumptions. Accordingly, neither Azure Group Pty Ltd nor any member or employee of Azure Group, undertakes responsibility arising in any way whatsoever to any persons in respect of this alert or any error or omissions herein, arising through negligence or otherwise howsoever caused.