Small businesses are the heart of our economy and are impacted… personally. Unlike large corporations, small business owners wear many hats in their company. With an unstable economy and restrictions to adapt to new safety protocols, business owners have had to struggle to maintain revenue streams and take care of their employees and families. As the phases of recovery roll out, it is apparent that consumer behavior has transformed, and businesses are having to reinvent their operation, doing more with less staff and resources. So, what is a small business to do? Here are 5 strategies to succeed in the “new normal.”
DO MORE WITH LESS = PIVOT
P - PROCESS
I - IDENTIFY
V – VISION
0 - OUTSOURCE
T – TRANSFORM
PROCESS: The process stage is a time to get real. Look at your business from the outside in and inside out. To do this, it is helpful to get back to basics. Do a simple analysis of where you are and actions that need to take place to stabilize, change, and grow.
WHO – Employees, vendors, clients, consumers, and industry regulators?
WHAT – Products, services, and business processes. What has changed in the marketplace where you can reposition your product or service that consumers will need?
WHY – Relevancy of your products and services. Why will consumers buy your product now? Do you need to make changes?
WHEN – Timing of changes, growth, and implementation
HOW – Messaging, storytelling and establishing your value proposition in the market
IDENTIFY: There is a lot of work to do to make changes. It is important to prioritize the key players in your company and the MOST important actions that will stabilize your business to make room for future growth. The pandemic has adapted to a digital world through communications, streaming and digital services. Has your company adapted? Do you need to invest in digital expertise?
· Hire new employees with specialized skill sets
· Outsource experts
VISION: Beyond the bottom line, it is important to evaluate all aspects of spending, overhead and expectations. What used to work for staffing levels, services and products may not work moving forward. With the movement of people working from home and limited people allowed in public areas, think outside the box to have the vision and insight to find new opportunities to drive revenue and ways to save expenses.
OUTSOURCE: Businesses have had to downsize and let valuable people go to reduce payroll expenses during the pandemic. As business begins to recover, the need for service staff, marketing, sales, and customer service is still there, but it may not be affordable at this time. Outsourcing offers the opportunity to engage seasoned professionals who also may be out of work or consulting to fill these needs on a contract basis. In many cases, you can get senior level talent for less than an entry level salary. LinkedIn can offer a good place to search for talent you need on a project, retainer, or annual contract basis. Consider outsourcing project-based business to small, local agencies. Supporting local could result in lower costs and allow you to be the big fish in a small fishbowl, working with knowledgeable professionals.
TRANSFORM: Changes in the economy and consumer behavior demands changes in how we do business in this post pandemic world. Adaption to technologies, safety protocols and compassion for employees, customers and vendors must be taken into consideration for future success. Stand out among your competition to effectively communicate the transformations being made to pivot and adapt to the new world normal.