So far, 2020 has been something of a wild ride for businesses, especially SMEs. At the time of writing, we’re entering the 5th month of lockdown restrictions and the Coronavirus is looking set to maintain its hold on the UK economy for some time yet!
However, with government schemes, such as furlough, set to end in the coming months, it’s imperative that businesses make changes now to get revenue flowing again.
This is especially relevant as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but these tricks and tips apply to any moment when your business faces difficulties and needs to reboot.
Why not give them a try!
#1. Check in with your existing clients
I shout about this all the time, but I cannot say it enough. When times are hard, pick up the phone. Calling round your existing clients, just to say hi and ask how they’re getting on, will have a massive impact on both your immediate survival and your reputation long term.
People buy from people they like and trust. Regularly showing you care about your clients and their business nurtures the relationship between you. This inevitably ends in sales now and great retention rates for the future.
When something happens that affects every business at the same time, it’s even more important that you stay in touch. It may well be that your client’s needs have changed and that, by changing up your offering, you better serve them. Simultaneously maintaining income you might otherwise have lost.
#2. Make the most of networking and training
The importance of making new connections when business is slow cannot be underestimated. Especially if you’re not comfortable with making sales calls, networking is the perfect gentle way to introduce yourself to new audiences.
Likewise, upskilling yourself when business is slow is a great way to invest into future revenue. There is often cheap or free training available online which can enable you to offer new services to your existing clients or advertise a new package out to the world.
#3. Brush up on your digital literacy
Many of the old ways of bringing in revenue aren’t as effective as they once were. Moreover, during the current pandemic everything has moved online, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it stayed that way.
Therefore, it’s really important that you are up to scratch on the many ways of conducting your business online, from Zoom etiquette to social media marketing to digital bookkeeping. As with training and networking, putting the time and energy into learning new digital skills now will pay off tenfold in the future.
#4. Embrace change
In difficult times, it’s more important than ever to be flexible with your services and be open to changing things up when needed. Being too rigid with your plans and offerings will only speed up the decline if those offerings are no longer viable.
As with many businesses, we’ve spent the last 4 months getting our heads around the changing circumstances. In response, we’ve dropped certain services and started up some new ones. The result is a new business model that really addresses the problems other businesses are facing.
When circumstances change, you must make yourself relevant again. Failing to adapt often means failing to survive.
#5. Look after yourself
Running a business when things are uncertain is an enormous challenge. One that can easily lead to exhaustion and burn out. Therefore, during difficult times, it’s vital that you take care of your own physical and mental wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of your business and staff.
Remember to take time off when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or spend time with friends, family or doing a hobby you enjoy. No one can continually give to their business without replenishing their own energy supplies. Failing to do so – or thinking ‘I’ll take time off when all this is over’ – is not going to serve you or your business in the long run.
I hope that’s given you some food for thought about how you can help your business to bounce back from troubling or difficult times.