If your business has survived the disruption of the last few weeks, you are probably wondering ‘what next’? Here’s how to achieve business growth after Covid-19, ensuring you have a solid foundation for success…
Sentiment seems to be that in Australia at least, the worst impact of Covid-19 on businesses is over.
Covid-19’s effects on businesses have been diverse. Some unfortunately have closed, while others have barely kept alive. Many businesses have scaled back resources, and others have altered products and services to suit the new market. Some are starting a cautious re-entry into the marketplace as Government restrictions are eased. And a few in certain industries have even found business is booming.
Despite what Covid-19 has meant for your business, it’s no doubt led you to make changes to how your business operates.
Now (what we hope are) the worst effects on businesses of Covid-19 are over, you are no doubt wondering what the next steps are for your business.
Despite the disruption that an outside force like Covid-19 brings, business challenges can lead to opportunity and growth if dealt with in the right way.
If your business has seen a downturn but is still operating, here are our top 4 tips to make the most of what’s occurred, and prepare your business for a different and brighter future.
Remember back to a time not so long ago, before Covid-19.
What was working well in your business?
You may recall that your business was exactly where you wanted it to be. Perhaps you had a solid team of committed employees, and your profit was growing steadily month on month.
For everything that was going great, write down how you can continue that now and into the future.
If your team has been supportive, for instance, you may choose to simply show gratitude by saying ‘thank you’ for now, and plan a team reward for when business improves.
When times are tough it’s easy to romanticise the past and only remember the good, but now is the time to also remember what you weren’t happy with. What wasn’t going as well as you would have liked?
Perhaps you were working with a client who cost you more in time and energy than they were worth, or your team members were unproductive or not aligned with your culture.
Some challenges may have already been resolved. Perhaps you recently had to make the tough decision to make redundant an employee that wasn’t performing well anyway, or a difficult client has stopped working with you due their own Covid-19 related challenges.
For anything that hasn’t been addressed, write down now anything that comes to mind about what you could do to improve it.
You could offer technical training for team members who didn’t possess adequate knowledge. If your business wasn’t operating efficiently, you could assist staff with time and priority management. If profit wasn’t great, you could commit to better financial reporting as the first step to improve your bottom line.
You’ve now created a list of possible actions to take into your new business future to help you achieve the business you want.
If your business has seen a decline in sales, you’ve no doubt had to make some changes. You’ve probably pared back on your overheads by reducing staff numbers and hours; negotiating better rates with suppliers; cancelling unnecessary subscriptions; and suspending excess ordering of stock.
Looking at your previous fixed costs, you might have realised they were higher than necessary. Assess what is truly required as a new baseline of operating expenses for your business. Set this lower amount into your budget figures for the next few months.
You now have a new foundation from which to work. It’s time to reset your goals and re-write a simple, short-term business plan. Even if it’s a one-pager, put down on paper how you want your business to be in future.
Start thinking three months ahead at most, to allow for the current changeable business environment. Remember you may need to alter your goals regularly to suit the situation, so keep a flexible attitude.
In your goals, consider such items as revenue targets, number of customers or clients, products and services, and staffing.
Now you know what you want your business to look like, it’s time to make it happen. Write out who needs to do what, by when, to achieve your new business goals. Make sure you include actions from the list created in Step 1.
In this new business environment you may also need to change your marketing message.
Whilst previously you may have been able to confidently assume the sale, your message may now need to convey that you understand that your prospects’ world – including their priorities and financial position – has changed.
This is an important time to communicate your value proposition and explain how and why your product or service is more valuable than ever (this is particularly true if what you offer is considered discretionary spending, as your prospects may have less wiggle-room in their budgets).
As evidenced in the ‘lipstick economy’ seen during the GFC and other times of crisis in recent history, people will still want to treat themselves to small luxuries. Communicating why your offering is either a necessity, or a necessary indulgence, will help you regain some traction and business growth after Covid-19.
Businesses in Australia are starting business coaching right now to ensure they have a solid foundation from which to achieve business growth after Covid-19. Get in touch with us to discuss how to grow your business in this new environment.