Managing a small business during the COVID-19 pandemic requires strong leadership, creative problem-solving, and the ability to maintain composure in stressful situations. Business owners are demonstrating their resourcefulness by finding alternative methods to service their clientele until this crisis is resolved.
Once contingency plans have been put in place, many entrepreneurs are finding they have some unexpected downtime. This is an opportunity to put that time to good use and look inward to find ways to strengthen your company’s foundation.
This may not be the ideal time for business development activities, but there is still much you can do to enhance your company’s financial and operational footing. If your business has slowed during this crisis, it the perfect time to take a step back and assess your foundation to identify your strengths, gaps, risks, and improvement opportunities. This will help to protect your company’s value and provide long-lasting benefits.
While examining your expenses is a worthwhile endeavor even in a good business climate, you can put this downtime to good use by performing a cost analysis. Take a look at each expenditure to see if there are better or more cost-effective solutions available. Some ideas to consider:
- Telecommunications and energy: If you have not yet investigated bundled packages and third-party providers, this is a good time to do so. You may be able to reduce these costs significantly without sacrificing service or quality.
- Office supplies: Have you been with the same vendor for the past few years or even decades? Take a look at other options to be sure you are still getting the best pricing. You also may want to consider changing your buying habits to capitalize on bulk purchase.
- Researching Discounts: From technology to travel to general merchandise, there are deals to be found if you put in the time to research. Here are a few websites that can help in your efforts.
Are you deploying your workforce as efficiently and productively as possible? Are you scheduling employees to account for peak and slow times? Are you delegating responsibilities that most effectively utilize the talents of each team member? Answering these questions may uncover gaps.
You can also fill in your employees’ downtime with professional development programs. This includes conducting virtual training courses and registering your employees for online webinars to expand and strengthen their skills.
This is also a good time to take a long-term view of your business to identify your future needs. Many companies are restructuring their workforces to include a combination of full-time employees and outsourced professionals to optimize their overall productivity.
Examine your operational processes to see where you could benefit from automation. Converting manual procedures to automated systems will save time and money. In an age of digital transformation, companies that are slow to automate are in danger of losing ground to their competition. Take the time to research apps and other tools to handle time-consuming tasks. Saving even one hour per week will lead to significant productivity increases and cost savings.
How strong is your marketing foundation? Do you have mechanisms in place to drive traffic to your website or store? If your marketing strategy is not current and effective, review your options and create a plan to increase your company’s visibility. If you have not been active on social media, now is a good time to increase your posting frequency to let your customers, prospects, and followers know that you are still around and available if they want to make contact.
When we get through this – and we will – your business will need a plan of how it’s going to return to normal in a post-pandemic world. Devote some of your time to planning this stage of re-engagement.
If analyzing your business seems overwhelming during this chaotic period, we can help with financial and operational assessments. Taking the time to improve the core foundation of your business will help you emerge from this crisis with solid footing.