The pandemic and everything related to it caught many business owners by surprise and, even worse, caused some businesses to fold.
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By James Jorner
The pandemic and everything related to it caught many business owners by surprise and, even worse, caused some businesses to fold. Yelp reported that permanent business closures have reached 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening. Imagine investing so much into an entity, and because of some virus, things start to slow down, till they eventually go under.
It’s the new year, and nobody knows what it holds. But as a business owner, you have to plan and fortify your business against such problems.
Every day, innovations are created which simplify the buying process for your customers. If your business isn’t doing anything new and making life easier for your customers, you may risk losing your customers to people who will. Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Meaning, if you want to become a leader in your industry or niche, you have to innovate. This cuts across marketing, product delivery, customer retention, etc.
2021 is a different year and would most likely have new challenges, so here are five survival tips for your business.
1. Stay on your customers’ minds
Marketing is very crucial for any business. Businesses that survived through 2020 were the ones that remained in their customers’ minds. If there are still lockdowns in 2021, that may cause your business not to operate normally, resulting in lower revenues. However, you shouldn’t stop marketing but instead, reduce your marketing budget.
Marketing is how you understand your customers’ needs, educate them, attract new ones, and get them to keep doing business with you. All marketing strategies may not lead to outright sales, but sales will happen eventually if you’re consistent enough.
Your social media platforms should be your best friends in the coming years. Studies show that “nearly 50% of the world’s population uses social media. That’s over 3 billion users worldwide.”
Part of staying on your customers’ minds is being around where they can see you, and social media marketing is a marketing strategy that gives you that leverage. Whether you choose to use influencers or paid social, you have to put in the effort to remain in your customers’ minds.
2. Get the best hands for the job
Great employees mean great business. If you want to give your business that competitive advantage, then you need to get the best hands for the job. You won’t give your customers the best if you don’t have the best staff.
It goes beyond hiring the right people but also training and keeping your employees happy. This cuts across being understanding, ensuring that you create a healthy work environment, and giving them a purpose that contributes to their job fulfillment.
How do you create that positive work environment? Everyone likes to feel heard. So, it’s your job as the business owner to create an environment that allows everyone to share their opinions and ideas about certain things. This can happen at weekly meetings. Implementing this can significantly increase their productivity, which in turn helps your business.
3. Asset protection
As a business owner, many things can harm your assets, which can cause you to lose money. It won’t be nice losing your business assets in a legal case. Many entrepreneurs overlook this part, but it is crucial to secure your assets even if things don’t go your way after a legal case.
Nobody starts a business and considers the possibilities of entering a court case; this is why many people get into trouble. Seventy-eight percent of lawsuit defendants in the US never thought it would happen to them. Sony lost 200 million in assets, which could have been avoided if they protected their assets. Interestingly, you can still get your assets protected online and offline no matter your enterprise’s size.
4. Financing and budgeting
Your planning should also touch on finances because every business needs money to facilitate certain areas of business. Budgeting is like a roadmap for your business; you put your business at risk when you don’t have a budget.
Riley Panko, in a report on budgeting, said, “Businesses of all sizes should create a budget if they don’t want to risk the financial health of their organization.” She said, “Businesses may create more challenges for themselves by skipping a budget. This is because budgeting helps small businesses focus.”
Budgeting decides whether your marketing, asset acquisition, employee remuneration, and other parts of your business can go smoothly. You should anticipate all your long and short term financial needs. This may require hiring an accountant who will keep records of all the money going in and out of business.
5. Be ready to adapt to anything
How adaptable are you? Patrick J. Rottinghaus defines adaptability as “The capacity to cope with and capitalize on change, and the ability to recover when unforeseen events alter life plans.”
No one saw 2020 coming, but it came, and it was like everyone had to “adapt or die.” The usual nature of work we were all used to halted for apparent reasons. Everyone had to adapt to zoom meetings, online education, and social distancing. This alone affected many brick and mortar businesses whose primary service delivery was in-person.
2021 is uncertain, but what is absolute should be your ability to adapt to anything. Whether it’s in your service/product delivery, marketing, or engaging with your customers, you have to be ready to dance to the tune of whatever the market throws at you and attack it creatively.