How to Help Your Business Thrive in Uncertain Times
Running a business is hard. It’s also risky, especially in uncertain times. This is especially true if your business has inventory or a large staff, like the retail or restaurant industries. But, running a business can be invigorating, even life-changing for some.
Here are a few tips to help your business thrive in uncertain times:
Plan Your Capital
Planning ahead for unforeseen events could be crucial to continue operating as a small business. In the midst of the pandemic, many community businesses were forced to close their doors due to social distancing, and it helps when a lack of funding or working capital is not an additional contributing factor.
Instead, consider where you might get capital in the event of an emergency. Do you have cash reserves? Is your business banker willing to lend you money to help you get through a rough patch? Can you launch a crowdfunding campaign or ask friends and family? What can you do to plan better for slow weeks?
Invest in Your Management Team
A small business owner is often the only senior-level personnel within a company and may rely more heavily on their management team for operations. In times of uncertainty, a strong management team is necessary to help maintain structure and avoid chaos, especially with other staff members.
Invest in your management team before uncertain times. Focus on financial education, making sure they understand cash flow, how it moves through the business, and how to avoid accruing too much debt too quickly. Also ensure there are opportunities for open communication as problems arise.
Conduct Better Business Planning
Many business owners neglect to take the time to adequately plan their business. Having a sound business plan offers a clear description of the business, current and future management needs, opportunities and threats, capital needs including projected cash flow and various budget, marketing initiatives, and a competitor analysis.
Living in a digitized world with rapid change requires you to conduct better business planning. This means, not just planning for your business today, but also planning for tomorrow and having a backup plan. Think about how you could operate your business if your physical location had to close immediately? Could you transition to an eCommerce model? What would you do if one of your products or services became obsolete overnight? How could you shift your business plan to remain relevant?
Focus on Marketing
Small business owners neglect to budget for marketing capital required, prospect reach, accurate conversion ratio projections, and staff to execute. They negate marketing as a luxury item, and don’t realize its importance, especially during uncertain times.
The truth is, focusing on marketing is always important, but even more during uncertain times. You’ll need to evaluate the language and be sensitive to the issues at hand. It might not be the time to push sales, but it is absolutely the time to focus on brand awareness. This will put your business at the front of mind when things start to settle. Especially in uncertain times and with budget cuts. Brand awareness can use inexpensive options like email marketing and social media marketing to market your business.
To learn more, check out: Marketing Your Small Business on a Budget.
Build Key Relationships
Building key relationships as a business owner is vital; not only with companies, but with services that advise on business operations. The three most important relationships a business owner can have are a good Certified Public Accountant (CPA), attorney, and a banker. Having a CPA that’s able to explain things up front will help you understand the complexities of your financials, empowering you to make better fiscal decisions.
Building a relationship with your banker is important. It can be as simple as opening a business checking account. “We’re always happy to open business accounts and explain lending options should the need arise. At NexTier, we want to help people make good solid loans – not for us, but for our clients. It’s our goal to provide funding that the clients can afford,” Dan Sullivan Vice President and Business Banking Group Manager at NexTier Bank said.
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