As the pandemic gradually winds down, more people are looking forward to resuming all their canceled outdoor plans. Most of them are thinking about which places to go, countries to travel to, and restaurants to dine in. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, this offers a great opportunity to return to business after a tumultuous period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than a year ago, COVID-19 has nearly affected all industries as government authorities ordered nationwide lockdowns. People have to stay indoors, and all businesses should operate remotely. Small businesses are among the hardest hit as they have to close their businesses, losing customers in the process. While others have completely succumbed to the financial pressure, others have found creative financial solutions through hard-money lenders and government funding.
While it’s been more than a year since the pandemic, many small businesses are still struggling globally. According to a study published by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, small businesses in the U.S. lost 22% of revenue in the entire month of April, which accounts for $4.6 billion.
Whether your business has survived during the pandemic, it’s important to rethink how your business will adapt to the new reality to stay afloat in the post-pandemic world.
Evaluate the strong and weak points of your business
In a 2020 business survey by WFSF Bank, 88% of entrepreneurs made changes on how they operate their business because of COVID-19. While safety protocols have slowly eased this year, business owners should consider other ways to pivot and adapt to the changing consumer behaviors and demands.
While some took advantage of their changes, others survived by adopting new operating models or launching a new business opportunity. Outdoor event planning, online learning, and cleaning services are increasingly becoming popular among small business owners who want to cater to the current market. These three industries are high in demand, and entrepreneurs may consider capitalizing on these niches.
Now is a perfect time to re-evaluate which strategies are sustainable for long-term growth, and the adjustments needed to keep sales coming in. In this regard, use the lessons and failures you learned from the pandemic to fuel your business’ post-pandemic rebound.
Simplify your operations
The financial impact of the pandemic caused cash flow issues for small businesses prompted by the unexpected drop in sales. Travel restrictions have hindered supply chains to deliver goods and products for businesses, making it possible to meet customers’ demands.
Reducing operational costs is likely the first step most businesses will take as soon as they reopen their businesses. While this approach offers a cost-effective solution, it’s important to explore other ways to save on costs. One example is to simplify operations to prevent your business from using its cash reserve and ensure that it’s running at its maximum efficiency.
When a crisis occurs, business owners need to make adjustments and impose cuts. At the same time, it’s important to optimize everyone’s time to ensure effectiveness and efficiency, while being able to take advantage of technology to streamline daily operations. This means you have to eliminate any unnecessary work performed previously by employees. Do this by removing the task completely or relying on an automated system that will strategize and prioritize these tasks.
When a business learns to streamline its processes, you will soon identify certain aspects that are expendable, unnecessary, and redundant. You can focus on other processes that will contribute to your business’s bottom line. Think about how your operations have shifted during the pandemic (e.g. laying off employees or cutting overhead costs) and if these changes prove sustainable as you move forward post-pandemic.
The worst thing to do is to proceed as if no crisis had ever happened. Training employees to adapt to new work arrangements, establishing more efficient systems, and taking advantage of technology are some ways to help your business to succeed in an uncertain time.
Focus on cash-generating strategies
Focusing on making cash than generating profit requires a mental shift and creative thinking, but if you’ve been struggling to generate profit quickly, you have to get things moving right now.
If you’re running a business-to-consumer (B2C) business, consider offering promos and discounts to existing consumers to incentivize their purchases. Focusing on previous and existing consumers is the easiest and less expensive way to drive sales through the right marketing strategy. Over time, it will eventually pique the interest of potential customers, thus generating more cash.
You may also consider adjusting your service or product to adapt to the consumer trend and make more sales. For instance, if you don’t have an e-commerce platform yet, now is the best time to do so to reach your digital audience.
The end is still far from over when it comes to this pandemic. Now more than ever, small business owners should take action to ensure their operations will run smoothly, systematically, and successfully in the post-pandemic world. In case another economic recession or global disaster comes, your business is more than ready to deal with any challenges it may encounter.