Imagine going back in time and looking at your business and how well it was doing in 2019. Now take a step back and see how your business is doing today. What a different picture you may be seeing.
We’ve all read, wrote about, and discussed Covid-19 and the financial and mental collapse for many small business owners time and time again. Unfortunately, for some, the discussion hasn’t sunk in and many business owners are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a clue on what to do next, while others have adapted to such changes and are back in business.
The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down as the year of uncertainty—not only for small and large business owners, but for everyone. Hopefully, many of us have adapted to this new environment that we are all forced to live in.
For those who haven’t or are still in the process of figuring it out, here we will highlight some of the most effective ways to help your business survive, come back stronger, and also prepare you for any uncertainty to come.
3 ways businesses can adapt and prepare for changing times
There are two types of businesses in the world today: those that sell and make money 24/7, and those that make money only during working hours.
Unfortunately, during this whole shutdown period, the businesses that were limited to making money while being open and fully functional were the ones that were hit the hardest. This does not always have to be the case.
Most businesses have already adapted to the power of the internet, and if they haven’t already, they likely will do so now, with the intention of selling services, products, or anything else. Here are three great ways to get started.
1. Market and sell online to secure payments faster
With small local and retail businesses being hit the hardest, it’s been important for them to focus their efforts online—not in the form of using social media and having a live website, but to actually conduct business.
It doesn’t matter if your service needs to be provided face-to-face, your business can still generate revenue 24/7 through the power of the internet and online selling. One key way that small service businesses are maintaining healthy enough cash flow is by offering prepaid bundles of services. With so many businesses in lockdown, customers are often happy to support the service providers they love by buying in bulk.
With this model, local businesses, like fitness coaches, nail salons, tutors, hairdressers, and professional service vendors, can keep the lights on while strengthening and incentivizing loyalty relationships. This is often done through the use of a management platform which makes it simple for merchants to offer these types of bundles and to integrate scheduling and fulfillment workflows as well.
For the business or professional providing services, this type of order processing is likewise ideal, as it allows for customers to purchase services online without actually needing to be on premises. Looking back at the beginning of the pandemic, if local businesses had already had these sales channels in place, they could have been generating revenue throughout the shutdown period.
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2. Limit human interaction and go virtual where possible
While 2020 will be remembered as the year of Covid-19, it will also be remembered as a time when we were all forced to go virtual. And along with the bad, always comes the good—and the good in this case was the move to virtual for businesses like Zoom and others in the virtual teleconferencing and online meeting space.
However, Zoom isn’t the only one benefiting from such changes. As millions of businesses are adapting to these changes, they are also finding better ways to conduct business. Many companies are now seeing in-person meetings and in-office work isn’t as important as originally thought.
A perfect example of this can be seen in a recent write-up from Cision that highlights six benefits associated with going virtual. Such benefits include being able to reach a much larger and wider audience online, while also being able to use content over and over again to new audiences.
As more businesses and brands are expanding to virtual in many different areas, this is ultimately leading to the same (if not more) work getting completed, while also lowering business operating costs in the process.
What will be even more interesting, is seeing how many businesses will go back to normal day-to-day operations, with people returning to the office, or if companies will stick with virtual to save on costs, while also limiting themselves from future similar episodes.
3. Master the art of cash flow management and automation
Every business has costs, but off-line businesses tend to have more of them. These often consist of rental space, office supplies, products and inventory, and staff—all of which were huge costs and liabilities during the shutdown period of 2020.
As highlighted in a recent article by Bizwomen, “Goldman Sachs reported up to 51 percent of survey participants said their business will only be able to operate for up to three months if the COVID-19 trajectory continues”—which isn’t just a matter of better cash flow management, it’s also putting an emphasis on better business management and always being prepared.
Unfortunately, many offline businesses were forced to pay rent while not even being open. This in itself was another business killer. Business owners quickly found themselves becoming their own financial managers and accountants—just trying to get buy.
As horrible as all of this has been, it’s a reminder of how important money management and cash flow can be for a business. And with no money coming in and being forced to pay money out, the benefits of automation and online businesses are now more attractive than ever.
With all of these factors in play, it’s become more important to have your business finances and operations in your control at all times.
How to make a pandemic-proof business
No one ever could have imagined that the world would be shut down for as long as it has been. At the same time, no one would have thought that business owners would still be expected to pay rent while also being told they can’t legally be open for business!
Unfortunately, for large and small business owners, the likely truth is no one is going to come and rescue you. This ultimately means the future and success of your business is your own hands. However, entrepreneurs and business owners are strong and we will get through this!
It’s not just about coming back strong and building a better business model for the future, it’s also about making sure your business is both pandemic-proof and “uncertainty”-proof.
Be sure to consider each of these recommendations and working methods, while also implementing them into your existing business as soon as possible.
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