This year has been….whew. If you’re a business owner, facing a recession is one of your stress nightmares. Facing a pandemic probably wasn’t even on the list of your worries last year. And yet, here you are—preparing ahead for making sure that a pandemic recession doesn’t derail your goals. There are some concrete steps you can begin now in order to ride through this frustrating, unprecedented time, and some through the other side with flying colors and with both your sleep and your business intact.
Adapt to the Times
Those businesses and individuals who will be able to flourish will be those who are willing to pivot to adapt to the times we have, not the ones we wish we had. This is especially critical right now, when so many adaptations and so much patience is necessary to establish a new normal. Finding childcare, having high speed internet access, or even having local housing might be worries your team members are facing. Having the capability to be flexible as an employer will not only help your business flourish, but will lessen stress upon your employees. Besides the benefit of lessening stress upon health and concentration capabilities in business, lessening stress will encourage your employees, no matter how remote, to be more dedicated to their jobs. Likewise, your customers will appreciate your flexibility in adopting varied technologies, remote capabilities, and careful practices in your offices.
Keep Cash Flow Positive
This seems obvious in any recession, but the capability to keep your cash flow positive and not go into major debt as we head into a recession, regardless of how long it stays, will help keep your business afloat. It’s easy to want to take your capital and use it for major projects, in hopes that those will bring fruit even in difficult times. However, you cannot weather a recession without being in the black in your account books. Getting yourself there might include slashing expenses that seemed important before, and adapting to the new expenses of now. Going paperless (or as paperless as possible), and revisiting which software and hardware costs are involved in your workplace needs are essential at this time
Boost Your Marketing Efforts
Marketing during a pandemic is very different than during other times. You are going to want to increase your marketing efforts, but your customers will not be necessarily reachable by the standard mediums you had previously used. Your customers are nervous and worried. They will respond well to addressing concerns, not stoking fear, and to being more light-hearted. You want to find a way to become familiar and comforting, hearkening back to positive memories and associations. Customers also want to be able to help in a situation where there is great need, so being able to provide examples of the ways their use of your product and services helps others will cause their comfort, and greater dedication to your brands.
Improve Customer Service
There are many benefits to using a comprehensive POS system to improve profitability. You must think forward to what your customer’s specific needs are and what point of sale options might be necessary. Simple options like having the choice to email a receipt, using POS software for increased transaction speed, or even the simple step of offering a variety of online payment options streamlines both your own paperwork, and your client’s eye-time, so you can use that “spare “ time and energy they give you for greater sales possibilities.
Know Your Worth (and Your Price)
What price do you need to charge for your goods or services in order to be profitable? Pre-pandemic, many small businesses have been all about charging as much as possible in order to get wealthy as soon as possible. Often during recession, the temptation is to swing the other way and to charge less than is necessary, in the hopes of spurring sales onward. Finding the individualized balance for your company is essential. You have to be able to stay in the black during difficult years, and keep your employees capable of depending on your stability, which will also help the economy long term. Figure out where your number is with your accountant, and stick with it.
Increase the Value of the Services You Already Offer
Finding other services your clients need which can be added to your newly adapted offerings is critical during this time. Is there a new service that your clientele might need which is specific to pandemic? Perhaps you offer sales and marketing, but your clients also need logo designers. Perhaps you offer bodywork on cars and fresh paint jobs, but your clients would also love details done inside their cars? There are many needs right now, especially for stressed consumers. Think about what resources and skills, or what products, you have to offer your base.
Commit to Being (or Becoming) an Expert
Businesses who are seen as having the experts in their areas and fields are generally capable of not only problem solving with clientele, but also of surviving the waves and dips of the economy. Commit to becoming such an expert in your area. What certification, documentation, or education would be helpful to your clients? It takes time and effort to build a good reputation, an excellent website, and to have a well written, intelligent blog established for your brand, but a successful business who will be able to establish itself as a leader is willing to take that time.
Knowing exactly where your money is, and keeping out of debt will help you long after the pandemic is over and your sales begin once again to skyrocket. Your attitude of genuine fortitude and tenacity influences all of those around you. Genuine optimism tempered with realism, can be learned, and not only brings about greater health and well being, but can provide a peaceful outlook in complex times.
Not only can the genuine capability to make lemonade out of these lemons be a saving grace for those willing to change their strategies, but will teach both your consumers and employees that your brand and company are stoic and reliable, and here to stay. You might not be in a zombie apocalypse, but your sense of humor will go a long way in the real world, regardless.
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