The once in a century pandemic has dealt a massive blow to small businesses. Affected by slower sales or lack of businesses, many small businesses have been forced to shut shops. The ones that have survived need to reinvent itself to survive in a post pandemic world.
Even as the pandemic rages in many parts of the world, with more people getting vaccinated, one can expect that life will return slowly to normal. Here are things small businesses can do to stay relevant.
Poonam Singh, the owner of a small travel business had a basic website but the pandemic made her realise how important it is to go digital. This is true for all small businesses. Going digital is no longer an option but crucial for small businesses to survive. This includes being found online and in different social media through a well-rounded digital strategy. Having an e-commerce portal is also crucial so that people can access your services online. Remember that contactless fulfilment of your customer needs is crucial in a post pandemic scenario because even when the pandemic subsides, your customers may still prefer to use digital means.
Invest in tech and ensure that with all the tech your business is in place. This would include servers, Internet, security system and business software. The idea is to make your business more efficient and cut down on cost.
Another lesson from covid is that a business can never have enough of cash reserves. At least 6 months of business expenses needs to be kept as a reserve because that could mean life and death of your business during a crisis.
Covid would also have taught businesses that some of the business areas are redundant or not as critical. A lot of businesses are realising that there are costs they could have cut earlier. Small businesses to take a hard look at themselves to improve their efficiency, so that they are prepared when bad times strike again. Efficiency also needs to be improved through optimal use of manpower and technology.
The pandemic has taught us that even the best laid plans can go awry. But it has also taught businesses to prepare for multiple business outcomes, especially worst-case scenarios. Anticipating such scenarios and planning makes a business more ready to face such scenarios if they eventually occur. There should be a plan A and B for all areas of the business- sales and marketing, operations and so on. Also, even as plans need to be in place, businesses also need to be flexible to tweak those as the situation demands.
Small businesses also need to network efficiently with other businesses and be a part of professional trade and industry bodies. During times such as this it is very important for small businesses to collaborate so that they can ride out the storm and make the most of the post-pandemic boon.
The post pandemic world will be one with a new normal. Small businesses that adopt to it will thrive.