While the Government continues to slowly lift lockdown and with Covid 19 still potentially being a major threat to our economy and your business, now is the time to step back and plan how to rebuild a stronger more resilient business for the future.
Well done if you’ve made it this far, but you’re probably still wondering how you can continue to not only recover from COVID-19 but grow and thrive in the coming weeks, months, and years?
Just as lifting lockdown can’t be rushed, neither can business recovery and rebuilding. The short-term outlook for businesses varies massively depending on your industry, but it’s important for you to plan and understand how your business recovery and rebuild will look.
In this blog we look at ideas on how to not only get your business back on track, but how to prepare for any future impact that Covid 19 or other major crisis may have over the coming years. We have a few tips to help you rebuild yourbusiness and come out stronger, more agile, and more prepared for future crisis’.
1) Back to basics
Go back to basics. Think about when you first started your business, your business planning, your marketing planning. Think about:
- Who is your target market?
- What problem do you solve for your customers?
- What are your strengths & weaknesses?
- Who is your competition& what are they doing?
- How have things changed in the last 12 months?
- How can you adapt and remain relevant?
- Is there a new need or gap in the market you can fill?
Do some research and look for ideas both inside and outside your industry.
Your business model may have worked well pre-COVID-19 but coming out of it may mean you have to do some fine-tuning.Go over your business plan and revaluate your business model. Don’t forget to revisit your business goals to make sure they’re realistic, given the new normal.
2) Financial evaluation& changes
If you haven’t already, look at exactly how deeply your business has been affected. Make sure your financial statements are up to date, such as profit and loss and cash flow statements. Compare them to last year. Look at undertaking cash flow forecasting as your business starts to recover.
If you’ve lost employees, cut marketing spend or cut overheads, now is the time to understand what impact that has had on the business on top of the pandemic. This will help you identify financial resources you’ll need to help you recover.
Evaluating your cash flow on a regular basis is vital. Considerchanges in government support, debts you need to pay back, changes in working practices that could save you money and potential increases in demand. Plan and be prepared for different eventualities.
3) Invest in your business
Exiting the COVID crisis may need you to spend money before you start making profits. For example, bringing staff off furlough, recruiting new people. You may need to purchase inventory or begin spending money on marketing and advertising again. Have a clear picture of the things you need to budget for in the recovery process and if necessary, consider how you’ll fund this.
It may seem counterintuitive to invest during such uncertain times, but when it comes to the future success of your business, investing now may elevate your business growth.
Whether it’s your own money, cash in the business or taking out funding, now is a good time to enhance and grow your business. The past months businesses have been cutting back, but to recover and potentially stand out from your competition, investing wisely now may give you a head start.
Whether its hiring new people, investing in marketing, expanding locations, or buying new equipment, invest wisely now. Be careful not to overextend yourself financially, do your planning and forecasting but investing now could pay short and long term dividends.
4) Future Funding
Unless you have cash still in the business, you may need some additional working capital to jump-start your business operations. It’s important to consider if you need any further funding, give yourself time to apply and consider the best sources and termsfor your business.
5) Supply & Demand
Have the last 15 months meant that your staffing has changed, are you operating a reduced supply model, and will customer needs still be met or do you need to communicate and set different expectations? Maybe supply will rise steeply as lockdown restrictions are lifted, are you prepared for this, or will this affect your customer service? Do you need to source new suppliers or new staff as demand begins to increase?
6) Employee safety
As lockdown eases, rules change and more people are vaccinated, it’s important to make sure that all your employees feel confident and safe in the workplace. If their roles are dealing with the public, make sure they feel adequately protected. Ask each employee how they feel about working conditions and working practices before you announce and implement changes. A happy workforce will help you to build a strong business and happy customers. If your staff feel out of the loop on key decisions and are unhappy, this will impact on your business recovery and future growth.
There is no doubt that the use of technology has accelerated during the pandemic. Many businesses that didn’t have a strong online presence now do, staff and clients travel less for face-to-face meetings, online ordering and contactless payment options have streamlined processes. Now is the time to consider if you can use technology even more to benefit the recovery of your business and whether you go back to ‘old’ working practices or implement a mixture of ‘old’ and ‘new’ to help your business to thrive and grow now and in the future.
As things change both in the outside world and as your business recovers, communication will be key. Communication with employees or contractors, regarding return to work, new working practices and expectations will ensure a well-informed workforce. Communication with customers and suppliers will also be key to ensure supply is in place to meet potentially increased demand and customers now understand what they can expect from your business. Ensure you communicate in a variety of ways i.e. social media, email, direct mail, or face to face to ensure the messages are heard and understood.
9) Contingency Planning
Now more than ever, you will understand that the pandemic may not be a once-in-a-lifetime event, the reality is that an emergency can disrupt your business at any time. The pandemic may well reoccur and if it does will you be ready for it this time?
Use what you’ve learned during the current pandemic to prepare for the next crisis, it’ll help you to prepare your business from future shocks or external changes. For example, you may decide to pay down debt, cut nonessential spending and operating costs or build up cash reserves. Have contingency plans to allow your business to adapt and weather any future storms.
Prepare for the worse case scenario and have plans in place to help your business survive any crisis that may hit it in the future.
10) Pivot your business
So many businesses have survived by pivoting their offering during the pandemic. Restaurants have pivoted to offer takeaways and home meal kits, shops have sold masks and hand sanitisers, alcohol producers have manufactured hand sanitisers.
Maybe you’ve implemented ways to pivot your business to not only thrive during the pandemic but to go way beyond it. Now is the time to look at other ways you can pivot or diversify your business to minimise future risk or to thrive in other ways.
Whilst business recovery may be a slow process for some industries after lockdown, other industries will no doubt recover quickly and thrive. Whatever your business, you should act now to help your business to recover and build stronger for the future. By reimagining how you can recover and operate in the new normal, you can set the foundations for lasting success.
How we can help
If your business is still struggling because of the pandemic or you need some help to plan your future, get on top of your finances or access funding, then get in touch with us now.