If you’re a business owner, you may be worried about your company’s survival after the pandemic ends. The Coronavirus has changed the landscape for all businesses, but particularly for small business. Just a few examples are physical changes of store/office layouts to adapt to social distancing guidelines, the development of new processes for sales, customer/client interactions, and delivering orders, embracing digital changes to include websites, e-commerce, social media marketing, and even remote working.
Compounding on this is the fact that many businesses were temporarily shut down, so you may have made the difficult decision to decrease your budget, change or stop plans, release employees, or even change your product due to new consumer buying habits. Even the most prepared business owners had to make unexpected changes. The way to survive through the pandemic is not to sit back and wait for the “all clear” signal. The way to thrive is to innovate and embrace.
Get Focused: Develop A Plan
As described in the paragraphs above, you and your business are being pulled in a lot of directions. One tool that will help you focus is a strategic plan. Although it seems the virus took ahold overnight, smart leaders know the world has changed and there is no “going back to normal” any time soon – so instead – take a day to develop the plan for what you need to do to get your company operating within the new way of the world.
Creating a 1-page strategic plan forces you to sit down with your leadership team and weed through what goals and actions you will and will not focus on for the next year. This will shift your entire operation from “just making it though the crisis” mode to accepting necessary changes and beginning a longer-term strategy.
Adapt Your Processes
Part of your strategic plan is undoubtedly going to be changing your processes by integrating more technology. This doesn’t mean you need to replace your team with a computer, rather, it means how can you integrate technology to achieve more productivity, deliver better products, create faster turnaround, or increase customer satisfaction? For instance, if your business is usually driven by face-to-face interaction, could you replace some of those with virtual Zoom meetings? Online sales and services will only continue to grow – how can you integrate this into your company?
We’ve already seen incredible innovation in this space. Soon after physical locations closed, teachers, athletic trainers, and doctors offered online classes and appointments. Local coffee shops, retailers and restaurants set up e-commerce on their websites. Embracing this technological shift is vital for setting your company on a path of success.
Another avenue of reviewing your operations includes becoming more conscious of your balance sheet. At the start of the pandemic, nearly every business owner had to take a hard look at their expenses and income and make concessions and changes. How many of these changes can be long-term? How many other things could you change to enhance your bottom line.
Invest in Your Team
During this precarious time, you need your team to be more committed than ever to your company’s vision and goals. A strategic plan allows your team to become directly tied to organizational successes by assigning different actions to different people and teams. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, your plan will rely on the talent, capacity, and knowledge of others – which will also increase engagement and accountability within your company.
Although we traditionally think of our team as being the employees within our company, your team can expand to suppliers you work with regularly. We’ve learned many business owners tend to use one supplier for specific items. Now, those suppliers may be out of a product or even out of business. Part of your strategic plan can be taking a look into how to expand this network and create multiple sources
We’re Here to Help
If any of these concerns sound familiar to you – we are prepared to help. Change is not always easy, but in this case, it’s vital. We’ve been leading companies through strategic planning processes for many years and personally know the value of pivoting in order to survive. If you feel particularly worried about adapting your processes, you could consider Lean Six Sigma. For your team – we recommend Kolbe Consulting. Avizo is committed to helping our community and local businesses succeed through this pandemic – and we believe that means its time for you to innovate and embrace.
Diane Anderson, Strategic Relationship Consultant
Diane directs Avizo’s business development efforts. Her background is in banking – after an extensive 25-year career that began while she was still in college and ended serving as Market President – Diane made the switch from banking to business consulting.