The year 2020 has brought on challenges most of us could have never imagined. Small business owners now need to focus on protecting their health, their loved ones, and their company. Understandably this has led to fatigue, uncertainty, and so much extra stress. However, we have also seen many small businesses using this time to come up with creative solutions and demonstrate extreme resilience. We talked to some of these people and compiled the following ideas for surviving in hard times which we wanted to share with you.
Be Precise with Cut Backs
Nobody wants to make cuts and for small businesses, this process can be agonizing. If you do need to make adjustments, be sure that you cut enough to have a sustainable impact, but not so much that you won’t be able to make a comeback. Anxiety can cause fast decision making, but this is something you want to take time to think about.
Consider Free Forms of Marketing
We have heard from a few small businesses that this pandemic has forced them to get more creative in their marketing which has led to great results. Think about how you can use your existing customer base to create new leads or how you can create valuable content that will drag people in. Your marketing budget may be reduced, but there are still free ways to generate some buzz.
Connect with Other Business Owners
You can’t expect that you will come up with all of the right answers independently. Instead, combine your knowledge and wisdom with others in your industry to come up with the most creative solutions. This may seem like a time to double down and try to beat the competition, but you would be surprised by the results that can emerge when you work together.
Reassess Your Foundations
When things are running smoothly it can be easy to overlook shifts at the foundation of your business that may be preventing things from running at maximum capacity. Make an effort to check in with these fundamentals such as your financial records, sales team training, and customer service and see what changes need to be made to match this new environment we are living in.
Both with yourself and with your employees. Transparency can help mitigate anxiety because often bad news is better than trying to grapple with the unknown. This is also a time to let employees know how they can help. Honesty and vulnerability will unite everyone under the same mission.
Look Toward the Future
While focusing on the immediate difficulties you also don’t want to lose sight of the future. In your strategy meetings take time to run through possible scenarios to consider what might get better, what could get worse, and what your opportunities are. Keeping one eye on the future while focusing on the immediate needs of the company can help you remain more agile overall.
Consider changing consumer habits and how your company can change to position itself to meet them. This may mean doing things differently than how you planned but can open up a variety of new opportunities. When considering possible pivots it could be helpful to break your actions into three categories: new things you need to start doing, existing things you need to stop doing, and things that should continue. This can make a big pivot feel more manageable.
The struggles 2020 has brought have touched people in vastly different, exceedingly difficult ways. Approaching interactions, whether they be with other companies, employees, or customers, with a focus on empathy will help you to meet people where they are. Focus on active listening even when your thoughts are rushing at a million miles per hour. Additionally, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share your own struggles which can help to form a bond.
Do you have your own story about weathering a difficult time as a business owner? Share it with us on Twitter, @KuvioCreative. This is such an important time for the small business community to support each other!
Kuvio Creative is a digital agency that uses our expertise to provide innovative technology and process solutions that empower our clients to maximize their talents and exceed everything they thought possible. Interested in a partnership? Contact us.
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