4 Success strategies for SBEs trying to ride out the pandemic do exist. When you started your small business, you did so knowing there would be ups and downs. The pandemic was a down, but also opened up opportunities.
So while you knew there would be ups and downs, you never expected a once-in-a-century pandemic. You’re not alone, no one did. COVID-19 has forced everyone across the marketplace to adjust rapidly to unique difficulties. If you were in business before the pandemic, and you’re still operating today, you no doubt got a crash course in crisis management. Congratulations, you passed. As many have, you might also have made severe shifts in the way you do business.
The pandemic is receding in the United States but is far from over. Still, you may be brainstorming for additional solutions to keep your company intact and even thriving despite the challenges of the moment. As many businesses have closed during the pandemic, there are many markets that now have more room for you to sprint ahead. Or, if you were thinking about opening a business, but haven’t yet, now may be the time to ride the wave of recovery.
The budget you set for your business before the pandemic may have changed, or needs to. Some of your expenses may have dwindled, especially if your workers have all gone remote. You may also have lost revenues during 2020 in the economic downturn, and thereby need to reinvest in marketing.
If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations!”
– Bill Gates
So you need to review your financial records for the past year to see if there are any unnecessary expenses you can cut or new ones you need to invest in. Before you do, however, do you have accounting software — such as QuickBooks, Zoho Books, Xero, or Freshbooks, among others? If not, get one, today!
You can’t run a successful business if you don’t have an absolute and crystal-clear overview of your finances. This not only includes monthly and yearly overhead expenses, but also what is owed to you, what’s past due, and what’s not. And, make sure within that software you build out a budget so that you can compare it to actual income and expenses, and do monthly and/or yearly comparisons.
As quoted in the article Win or Fail Depends on Defense, “offense gets the glory, but defense wins the game!” Sales could be considered the offense, while accounting management is the defense, in this scenario
So tip #1 is to get your records in order. This is the foundation on which you build your business. Without a solid foundation, it will crumble. Good record-keeping and the ability to generate accurate reports will also help if and when you need to seek out loans, lines of credit, or merchant cash advances.
With the boom in eCommerce due to quarantines and health concerns, any small business with an online presence automatically has had an edge. Some businesses may already rely heavily on eCommerce, but others may not have online sales as an option at all. If you don’t have your own products to sell or digital service that you provide, set up affiliate programs, with Amazon Associates, Walmart, or Commission Junction. Or set up a white label turn-key reseller program for domain registration, hosting, and other services. White label means you simply add your logo and you’re ready to begin marketing and making money.
Whatever your industry, strategize to see whether you can add or increase your eCommerce offerings. For some companies, these may even become a long-term source of passive income, which can increase your productivity and viability even after the pandemic is over.
Tip #2 is to sell your products or services digitally
or simply resell 3rd party products or services.
While you may initially feel reluctant to purchase or subscribe to software, apps, or programs that assist with business operations, many of these can save you both time and money. The quote I often repeat time and again is by Rory Vaden, who noted:
Automation is to your time what compound interest is to your money
In other words, the longer you use automation the more time you save.
Cut your management work hours with productivity tools, especially if you have remote workers. We discussed earlier accounting, and if you’re using QuickBooks, for example, like others, they have payroll management tools.
Other highly efficient productivity tools that can reduce redundancies and increase output include task management, project management, and customer relations management. My shortlist — if you’re using Quickbooks, Freshbooks, or Xero for accounting — is to use:
If you don’t have any systems set up, or even if you do, you can look into Zoho One, which provides 40 different modules, all fully integrated with one another.
If you provide subscriptions for your services, Zoho subscription is excellent; Books is very good for billing and accounting, but you also get a private social network for your employees with groups, tasks, and more, plus Projects management (with task lists, milestones, tasks, sprints) and fully integrated with Books. Moreover, it provides lead-gen forms that link your website to the CRM, as well as email and social media campaign management.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the new management strategies you’re trying to master, outsource certain tasks to experts in their given fields to give yourself a break without sacrificing productivity. Some work that can easily be outsourced includes content writing and call center services.
Hire an accountant (our parent company Inicia Incorporated can assist) to make sure your books are in order, even if you just need a restructuring of your systems and/or a bookkeeper. For assistance with your marketing, web design, branding, and more, especially if you are transitioning to eCommerce, contact us, we can help.
While every small business is different and has its own challenges and concerns, these are a few strategies that can help any entrepreneur increase their business’s chances of success. Plus, some of these strategies will benefit you and your company even after the pandemic has passed.