All small business have felt some effect of Covid-19. Be it furloughing staff, altering processes or closing completely during lockdown, none have been able to stand still. Now that restrictions have lifted though, how should you get on with growing your business? Do you need to adapt your business plan? Maybe you need to find more business support? We discuss the best steps to move forward below.
- Is your business strategy from before the lockdown still valid?
The first thing to decide is whether your original business plan is going to work at all. If the demand for your services has all but died out or your suppliers have not survived, then you’re going to need to go back to the drawing board.
Be realistic about whether you can make headway towards your original goals. If you can’t, be flexible as you change what you’re aiming for. Sticking stubbornly to your old business model could cost you success and lead to a lot of disappointment.
Altering your plan may be a chance to renew your enthusiasm for your business and excite your team about a new offering or market.
- Are your medium and long-term objectives still right?
Perhaps your short-term goals such as introducing a new product or running a specific marketing campaign still stand. Even still, you might need to change your medium and long-term objectives. With the unpredictably of Coronavirus, it’s tempting to only work week by week, getting by in any way you can.
Find some headspace to look at the bigger picture and check whether the small actions you take are helping towards where you ultimately want your business to be. If you’ve worked with a business coach, you probably have identified where you’re going using a tool like an orbit. Here’s one that we use with delegates on our business support programmes:
Return to this plan and picture how your strategy might unfold over at least the next year.
- What have you learnt from lockdown that will increase your profits?
Many business owners have found that remote working and tools like online drives have made their companies more efficient during lockdown. If that’s you too, you may consider shifting your team to an agile or flexi working style. If this reduces the amount you have to spend on office rent or commuting, then it makes financial sense.
What other lessons have you learnt that could save money? Perhaps a physical store is less cost-effective than an e-commerce platform. Maybe outsourcing your marketing or accounting has given you a better return.
Rather than being bent on “getting back to normal”, keep in place shifts you’ve made for the better.
- Are the changes you’ve made actually more appealing to your customers?
You may have had a dream to run a bustling restaurant in the centre of town, but what if people in your community would rather get a take-away? In some cases, you may need to kill your darlings and listen out for where the real demand is.
Society will probably never be the same again. If you are to survive the coming years as a small business, you need to embrace the changes and focus your efforts on what is actually working. Even if that’s not what you originally set out to do.
Pay close attention to customer feedback you’ve had during lockdown. If you haven’t already, find out consumers’ opinions through social media, a survey or even an informal chat.
- Would you be ready for a second wave?
As tempting as it is to plough on and hope that we’re past the days of lockdown, failing to anticipate another flare-up could jeopardise all your efforts so far.
If you need a second pair of eyes to help you evaluate what went well during the previous lockdown and what you need to improve, you may consider contacting a business coach or mentor. Though no-one has lived through Coronavirus before, experienced business people will have suggestions for how to manage transitions and improve your processes.
Integrating a plan for local lockdowns or an increase in restrictions is paramount as you consider your overall business plan.
At CDI Alliance, we help small and medium businesses on local authority support programmes to grow. We have a team of associates with knowledge in every aspect of business planning and are happy for you to reach out if you need guidance.
Contact us on 0113 394 4650 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re available for phone, video or email conversations.