It’s no secret that small businesses have been hit hard by Covid-19. And while we still find ourselves in an ever-evolving situation, retailers can already empower themselves with contingency plans and growth strategies. So what are the 6 keys plays a business can make to recover and rebuild their small businesses right now?
1. Assess the damage to finances
The first and most important step is understanding how much damage has been done to your bottom line. This starts with taking a good, hard look at the numbers, so financial statements need to be updated. These then need to be compared to last year’s numbers in order to understand if and where you are down. It may even be that things are better than you imagined. Once you understand the numbers, you can then assess other ways your business has been impacted perhaps through layoffs, cuts to marketing spend or loss of customer base. These are things you need to ear-mark in your future financial resources in order to rebuild.
2. Revisit your business plan
Your business plan probably needs some fine tuning to adjust to the Covid-hit market. Ask yourself if your business can adjust and pivot in strategic ways. For example if your business was in a brick-and-mortar environment, perhaps now you need to explore digital options to expand your market share. Also, any good business plan lies in understanding your market generally. So now is the time to research your market and see how others in your space are working with the times and innovating to retain and increase customers. There may be some important trends here that can empower you to pivot and expand. It is also a good idea to revisit your business goals to understand what is appropriate to be focusing on right now. You may be working on skimmed resources so it’s important to put your energy behind the right growth-enhancing activities.
3. Consider strategic funding
There is a big difference between good and bad debt. At this stage of the game, taking on good debt may be a very strategic way to jump-start your operation. A cash advance for example can work directly in-line with your lower turn-over. This retail-driven funding is perfect for small businesses that are either seasonal or in recuperative states because the funding structures are bespoke to each business and won’t tie you into unrealistic monthly repayments. The trick with funding is always to use it for growth-enhancing activities, rather than simply plugging holes. That way the debt will pull you out of the rut rather than reinforcing the problem.
4. Re-jig your budget
The pandemic probably forced you to slim right down on your expenses. Which is a good exercise regardless of the outside situation. Now, the trick is going to be to spend money to make money. Perhaps you need to invest in training, up your marketing or rehire key staff. The most important thing is to have a very clear idea about what your projected costs are going to look like and where ever possible, eliminate waste.
5. Develop a realistic timeline for recovery
This boils down to understanding what needs to happen and in what order. Here you can prioritize the most important actions. For example, securing short term fast funding may be the priority right now in order to fund your wish list. Then you will want to hire staff to execute your plan. Followed by buying inventory and renegotiating with suppliers. All along the way, be sure to track your progress and don’t waste time on anything that isn’t core to your growth strategy.
6. Make plans for the next crisis
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that emergencies happen and businesses are not bullet-proof. So what can you do now to ensure your business has a plan to sustain you in the face of future unknowns. This may take the form of building up liquidity, paying down existing debt and trimming all non-essential spending and resources.
The bottom line
The pandemic tested all business owner’s ability to think-out-the-box, adapt and remain fluid in the face of adversity. Now the challenge lies in sustaining this thinking, rebuilding and growing too. This often comes down to revisiting your original plans, taking an honest look at the current situation and then having a variety of contingency plans in place to adjust in real time. It also entails calling on resources like strategic funders to support you in your time of need. The good news is entrepreneurs are perfectly positioned to think on their feet and take educated risks. The results of which can see your small business not only surviving uncertainty, but thriving too.