How to Run a Lean Small Business in a Post-COVID Environment
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Anna Marie, VP at working-capital.com.
Mankind has been through a lot – earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, plagues and whatnot. No matter the amount of damage we have taken, we find our way around every adversity, even if it means starting from scratch.
As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our day-to-day lives have changed in the most unprecedented ways.
Running a small business in an efficient way amid all this crisis has become quite challenging but like every calamity that befalls us, we can win over this one too. By taking certain measures and drafting a smart strategy, you can get your business running in a truly lean fashion.
Let’s dive into some strategies for effectively running a small business in a post-COVID world.
1. Empower the Employee by Introducing and Promoting Teleworking
The pandemic has made people at workplaces the most susceptible to getting infected. Their routine interaction and contact to carry out daily business operations that until a while back seemed harmless, would only foster the spread of the virus now.
So, how can you run your business in a lean manner when your employees are getting sick and unable to work efficiently or even at all? To ensure the safety and wellbeing of your workforce for an uncompromised growth of your small business, put your trust in teleworking. Allow your employees to work from home so that they feel safer and hence, be more productive.
What to do if working from home is not a feasible option?
If teleworking is not a viable option for your business, what you can do is follow the famous standard operating procedures the health organizations all over the globe are insisting upon. The SOPs include, disinfecting the workplace regularly, urging your workers to wear masks at all times, no handshakes and taking care of social distancing, promoting personal sanitization, etc. This may seem a lot of work on top of everyday business procedures, but a clean and hygienic work environment is paramount to keep your business running smoothly and in a lean manner in this pandemic situation.
2. Realize and Adapt to the Changing Market Trends
The pandemic has promoted among the consumers an inclination towards online shopping. Whether you sell a service or goods, the time has come to rethink the way you do business with your clients. You might want to take most of your customer dealings to an online, digital space. This way, you not only get to retain most of your customers but also reduce your employee headcount with majority of the operations being dealt online. This will also cut down on expenses that go into operating and maintaining your brick-and-mortar location.
3. Consider Refinancing Your Business
Unless you have enough capital pouring into your business, you should consider getting funds to deal with the current market volatility in this post-corona environment. There are a number of financing options that you can go for to rebuild your small business or just keep it running efficiently. You can compare business loan offers provided by different firms and shortlist a few that suit your business plan.
4. Look Around and Learn from Your Competitors
Where some businesses have suffered in this crisis, others have thrived as well. You had been doing fine too and never thought of revisiting your business strategy, let alone revamping it, until this global catastrophe led your revenues to nosedive. Now might be the time you start peeking around and studying your direct and indirect competitors to see where your business plan needs adjustments. Take a glance at the 2021 small business directory and search for local businesses similar to yours around you that you can learn from.
5. Be Socially Responsible
Among many other things, what this pandemic has taught us is not to think solely of your business’s profitability but also to keep in mind the responsibility you have towards the society. This crisis has highlighted how important is the role of fair and honest corporate taxation in ensuring adequate government resources to protect its citizens against any future predicament. As the owner of a small business, what you can do is own your taxes, no matter how big or small, instead of investing in hiring the so-called tax advisors to lessen your liabilities.
6. A Contingency Plan Never Hurt Anybody
If your small business had been doing good so far, it makes sense that you never thought of saving any liquid cash to provide cushion against uncertain market crisis such as the one we are facing right now. Although, the pandemic may seem like a temporary discomfort and it may be so but it is wise to keep sufficient resources aside to deal with any future shocks. You can redesign your budget, trim down your debt repayments and reduce unnecessary operating costs to save money.
7. Freelancing – A Business in Itself
While, it may seem these guidelines are essentially applicable on small businesses, consider your freelancing path as a business too. Yes, you are self-employed but you are selling services, aren’t you? Be it something as technical as coding and web development or any nontechnical skill like blogging and content writing. The pandemic has hit the freelancers as badly as any other regular office employee, if not more. To be more relatable to your niche, here’s what you can do to cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- Start with some saving plans. Income of a good 3 to 4 months kept aside in a bank account should be sufficient to deal with days when workflow is slow and bidding is not very fruitful.
- While the world is forced to stay low and inside their homes, this is definitely a good opportunity for you to use your leisure in expanding your skillset. Learn new skills and explore yourself to find what other services you can give to make additional money.
- With more and more people turning to freelancing amid the pandemic, the old freelancers might feel threatened. But the key is to keep updating your skills and apply for as many jobs as you can to increase your chances of getting work.
- Explore the latest freelancing trends, take on new skills by checking out those online courses and learning the ones that not only interest you but also teach you skills that are in demand.
Whatever mode of business you are in, make sure that the strategy you come up with is flexible to keep your business running in all circumstances. If one thing has worked for you in the past, it may not bear fruit now. Never underestimate the power of keeping yourself up to date and improving your skillset. An adaptive working plan and a will to learn and explore more is what will ensure your business keeps flourishing, even in the most uncertain and tough financial circumstances.
Growing up in Vancouver, Canada to Singaporean parents, Anna Marie demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed. Now the youngest VP at Working-Capital, she works with her team to bring accurate information to small business owners across America and Canada, connecting businesses to reputable business finance products and services. When she isn’t working with clients or meeting (virtually) with prospective business partners, Anna competes in Ultramarathons, lounges around with her two with English Cream Goldens, and indulges on Twitter. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or @fujiwaratouge on Twitter.