Most small business owners have an uncertain future in front of them, with no one being able to reveal when businesses can open again and have their customers return. Although it leaves a lot of room for guesswork, preparation is still needed and it can be done while still staying-at-home.
Develop Several Scenarios
The uncertainty that pervades this season means you need to be ready to head in more than one direction once you open. Since you cannot predict exactly what will happen, you want to develop multiple plans for several possible scenarios.
Be creative and make your business plans for mild changes as well as radical possibilities. Be sure to consider new and more diversified products, services, or even new businesses that you can add to expand your outreach.
When some businesses closed under the current coronavirus shutdown because they were deemed non-essential, such as automakers, they expanded into making ventilators. This was something they never made before. The demand created a temporary opportunity. Although it certainly did not produce the same financial results, it kept many employees working.
Make Plans for Improvement
If you keep things in your business the same, you will likely be out of business in just a few years. Not only are times changing, but so are people’s interests and needs. Stay in touch with economic indicators and make changes to ensure your products or services meet new and developing needs and wants. Other ways to improve your business include:
- Looking over your inventory and possibly creating new supply lines
- Refining your business procedures – look for faster or better ways to get the same results
- Ensuring quality control – improve your product
- Learning how to run on a tighter budget
- Getting more productivity out of your employees through training and better leadership.
It will also pay well to get some feedback from some of your customers. They wants may help you expand your offerings.
Look over your competitors to ensure that you can continue to compete with them. When the doors open again, you want to be ready to head out of the starting gate ahead of the rest.
Add new ways your customers can interact and buy from you. If you do not send emails to them, find some way to offer something that they will want in exchange for an email address or cellphone number.
Create a Marketing Plan
While you likely have some extra time on your hands, do some research into the latest social media sites and marketing methods. This will be changing more as the general lockdown continues, so you will need to pay attention to them. Be on the lookout for new avenues of social media that may spring up during this time – some are bound to – simply because people have time to create and implement new ideas.
As you research marketing, look for ideas that you have not tried yet. Online marketing enables you to check your marketing efforts attraction to your target market as well as giving you tools to alter your marketing messages for better ROI.
In some cases, you may find that your previous marketing methods may not be working at all during this downtime. Be willing to put them on hold until your business is open again and seek ways to improve your message delivery and methods.
Businesses that are flexible and always looking for ways to improve and adapt to changing times are the ones that are most likely to survive in difficult times. Study current industry trends to be ready to make changes as needed. Remember that it will most likely be that businesses will have to open slowly before they can go fully operational.