With many SME owners nervous at this time about how to keep their business thriving and stay on track with their growth plan, we share our top tips for success in a crisis.
Care for your people
Your team are your number one asset. Without them, your business wouldn’t be able to operate. Therefore, put them first. What can you do to keep them safe during the crisis? If they have underlying health conditions, you might make special allowances to put them out of harm’s way. If they need extra support to be working at their full potential, make this a priority.
Keep in touch
Bear in mind that a crisis will be unsettling and anxiety-triggering for many. Maximise technology to minimise your team’s loneliness, sense of isolation or panic. Keep in touch via phone, text and email, even if you can’t be together in person.
Also don’t forget to keep in contact with your clients so they know you are trading.
Find alternative ways of working
Thanks to tech, if you’re office-based, you may not need be in the same physical location to work well. Utilising online drives and remote logins if you can to allow you to all stay connected without duplicating files, missing information or giving yourselves extra work. Are all the things your team need in the cloud? If not, it could be time to scan in and upload essential documents
If there’s not the option to work remotely, have you got measures in place to operate on skeleton staff? You may need to adapt your working arrangements in order for your team to stay safe and still be able to produce what you need them to.
Prioritise your best chances of success
Chances are, your SME won’t be able to operate all of your services in a crisis the way you usually would. For that reason, we recommend prioritising those services with the highest chance of success. If you have an online retail facility or can provide support over the phone, you might be more likely to win business than in a physical store or with a face to face consultation.
Look for opportunities
In order to keep your business afloat, you’re going to need to innovate. Can you alter your offer to adjust the current demand? Perhaps you can shift to produce essential rather than desirable products. Maybe you’ll need to deliver when customers would usually collect from your premises.
It may be that the kind of business you run has a prime opportunity to help people at this time. Great examples of crisis innovation include giving away distance learning materials for free to demonstrate corporate responsibility, offering special one to one sessions for customers who are isolated or designing health and wellbeing initiatives. How can you be creative and seize an opportunity?
Use downtime wisely
If you find yourself with downtime, use it wisely. Can you develop your products or your services? Can you benefit your continuous professional development by taking an online course? Can you plough through the admin jobs that got pushed to the bottom of the pile when business was booming?
Plan for the months and years ahead
Whether business is particularly good or particularly bad over this period, you’re going to have to adapt your strategy for the coming months and years. Now is the time to get a workable plan in place so that you have the best chance of reviving your sales approach and maximising your opportunities.
Our signature tool for business planning is our 3-year orbit. We sit down with business owners and help them think ahead in terms of products, marketing, finance and staff. Do you know which actions you will take in these areas to secure your business’ growth?
Finally, look on the bright side as much as you can. It won’t be easy to keep doing business as usual during a crisis but developing resilience and learning to rapidly adapt to circumstances will stand you in good stead for the future challenges your business will face.
Follow our Twitter and LinkedIn pages, where we’ll be sharing morale-boosting business tips and hacks for keeping things ticking over in a crisis.
If you’d like to ask us or one of our associates a specific question you have at this time or about your business strategy in general, please email email@example.com.