Businesses and entrepreneurs in most industries were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and lockdown meant that the economy is in the worst state it has ever been. As we start seeing a return to normality, there will certainly be challenges for businesses in the coming year. The question on everyone’s mind is: how do I best prepare for survival?In this article, Osidon not only discuss the ways you can prepare your business for 2021, but also ways to ensure your business thrives.
Focus on the facts
In an era of fake news, finding out the facts about what the future holds for businesses is extremely difficult. The best course of action is to focus on the facts and ignore gossip, speculation and unverified information. Rely on official government information regarding guidelines and best practices for businesses. This will give you a solid basis for future planning.You can get official government information here: https://www.gov.za/.
Save money where possible
Saving money is critical for the survival of your business, especially during tough economic times. While most entrepreneurs focus on increasing sales, lowering expenses is equally important to achieve or maintain profitability.Make sure you regularly review your budget and make the necessary adjustments. By staying on top of your finances, you reduce the risk of falling behind on payments or finding yourself in an unfavourable economic situation.
Prepare for unexpected developments and be flexible
If 2020 taught entrepreneurs anything, adaptability and resilience are key factors for coping with uncertainty. The key is to accept that although COVID-19 will fade away, it is effects will be felt for some years to come.If you can, set aside emergency business funds and take advantage of public and private sector funding and loans available to you. Make sure your employees are covered when it comes to salaries and wages and advise them to save as much as they can.
Make sure you understand and implement the necessary measures to keep your business compliant. The only way to reduce liability and business risk is to ensure your business is fully compliant at all times. It is your responsibility to follow protocol and ensure you meet the compliance requirements.
Grab opportunities to go digital
Entrepreneurs are known for their ability to solve problems. COVID-19 has lead to many opportunities to open/move a small business online. Often, an online business presence is more affordable than a physical business presence.
Invest in technology
Because of social distancing and lockdown, many businesses have started operating remotely where possible. Running your small business/entrepreneurial venture from home, with employees operating remotely, is a cheaper alternative to renting large and expensive spaces. Technology offers numerous opportunities to streamline and make things easier. You are able to remain connected during office hours, using tools to make video calls, schedule online meetings (using tools such as Skype or Zoom), make phone calls and check your emails. There are also many systems for sharing documents (such as Dropbox or Google Docs) so everyone in the team has access to the necessary work documents.
Be willing to put in the hours
In order to make up for 2020’s lost time and lost business opportunities, most entrepreneurs and business owners will have to extend opening hours and work longer days to bring in as much income as possible. Grit is the ability to keep working when everyone tells you that you should give up.
Keep tabs on the competition
Be aware of your competitors’ moves. This will help you stay ahead of the game. While you shouldn’t obsess over your competitors, analysing their business and its weaknesses can help you gain a competitive advantage.
Focus on your customers to ramp up sales
Make sure you focus on the needs of your customers because they are the most important part of your business. Listen to their needs and build longterm relationships with your customers and clients so they keep coming back, even when times are tough. Focus on sales and your sales strategy to get new customers to buy your product or service. This way you can increase your revenue, grow your business and create new job opportunities.
Keep your team motivated
Employees are the lifeblood of any business. Motivated employees are efficient, creative and can help increase overall profitability and bottom-line results. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs must be proactive and have the right strategies in place to keep their employees motivated and operating at optimal levels.
Remember your longterm goals
Be very clear about what you want to achieve. You want your business to last for years, offering great products and services to your clients/customers. Think about where you want your business to go in the next year and work out a way to get there. Setting measurable goals will help you maintain focus.
Ensure continuous improvement and growth
In a changing world, entrepreneurs and business owners cannot afford to become stagnant. Even if your growth is slower during an economic crisis, make sure there is systematic progress.Entrepreneurs must constantly improve their skills to ensure their business is run successfully and opportunities for growth are seized. Keep your mind open to new ideas and possibilities, otherwise you will stagnate.By implementing these tips, small businesses and entrepreneurs can remain flexible and find creative ways to survive in the current economic climate.