Change can be hard to deal with and if you own a small business, it can be even harder to implement. Nevertheless, adapting to the current climate brought on by Covid-19 social distancing measures is vital and necessary in safeguarding the future of your business.
If you’re struggling to look for ways to diversify or want more ideas on how to navigate through these unprecedented times, here are some pointers from our business to yours.
Get the financial support you need
First and foremost, is managing cashflow and ensuring you have the finances in place to keep your business ticking over when trade is minimal or non-existent.
To help clarify what you’re entitled to, take a look at this guidance from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) and also read our round up of available support which goes through free resources and business management tools.
Stay relevant and understand your audience
Knowing your audience is fundamental to any business at any time but tapping into current needs is paramount in ensuring your business stays relevant. Purchasing products, eating out or entertaining might be no-goes but guidance, practical advice and reassurance can help you stay connected to your customers.
With that mind, you can keep your brand at the forefront of people’s minds by giving them the practical help they need. This can work for almost all lines of business. Whether you’re a hairdresser, gardener, handyman or dog groomer, your skills can be showcased in video tutorials or in written how-to guides. Not only will it serve as a constant reminder to existing customers that you’re still in business, it could help you reach a whole new audience.
Explore the opportunities
In some cases, the opportunities are clear – for instance, shifting your restaurant to provide a takeaway service or moving tuition and counselling services online. Plus, with numerous tools now available to help you do that, it can be a relatively easy transition.
But what about opportunities that are harder to spot? For example, if your business is niche or less mass market, where do you begin? For that, you might need to think outside the box – if you run a book store, how about setting up a monthly subscription where customers receive one book a month. You could expand this to include a virtual book club through a Facebook group to encourage customers to discuss what they’ve read.
Similarly, if you produce luxury treats, condiments or confectionery, packaging your products in hampers or as isolation gifts can help move the stock you have. Even services that rely on face to face interaction can be adapted – for example, if you’re in car sales, branch out and sell car cleaning kits. You can also create gift vouchers to encourage sales now and create footfall at a later date.
Expand your online and social media presence
Social media isn’t for everyone but your business can benefit by embracing opportunities created by sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Focusing on the platform that lends itself to your business should help intuitively help boost your followers (and potential customer lists).
Whether you’re a fitness instructor providing online classes or run arts, crafts or cookery workshops, social media is ideal for getting your business noticed. You could also keep customers entertained with competitions.
Now is also a great opportunity to assess your own website. Use the time to tie up loose ends, update your blog or testimonials and check that the site you have still reflects your business.
If you’re a manufacturer, perhaps you could switch processes to produce items that are in demand. This can be daunting and expensive depending on machinery and labour costs. You’ll also need to ensure safety protocols are in place which could make the change impractical, so think carefully before doing anything drastic.
Look ahead and adapt
A skills audit is one of the best ways of ensuring your business is resilient regardless of external factors you can’t control. Objectively assessing your own strengths and weaknesses can be uncomfortable but it is effective in identifying what you need to focus on and can help drive your business forward.
As experienced business consultants, we understand that it can be hard to see the bigger picture when you have immediate issues to address. But, in many cases, a simple step back to review the situation is all you need, and we can help you do that. To find out more about building business resilience and exploring your trading options, call us on 01473 561023, email us at email@example.com or fill in our contact form.