If you’re a small business owner, you might be wondering how you can pivot during tough times, especially during unprecedented change. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent inflation have brought about changes that no one could have foreseen, both for the business world and for the economy as a whole.
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The result has been the realization that businesses must be prepared to adapt quickly and effectively if they hope to survive uncertain times. This is especially true for small businesses, which may have leaner cash reserves to help them through lean times.
Let’s see how businesses can pivot during unprecedented change.
Embrace remote work
Remote work is here to stay. After all, a slight majority of people want to work remotely at least occasionally. That means not only having the drive to embrace remote working, but also the agility to make it a reality for your business.
“When the pandemic started, we had to find a way to keep our employees in a safe and healthy environment while ensuring our customers didn’t feel the impact,” says James Burati, senior vice president at 1- 800-PACK-RAT.
Burati says not all businesses were nimble enough to find a solution, which caused many to close or lose employees. “Our team was able to quickly mobilize our staff, get people work-from-home equipment, and make sure anyone still on site could follow all CDC guidelines,” Burati says.
Burtai went on to explain how the adoption of remote work has benefited not only their employees, but also their customers. “This has allowed us to not only show our employees that their health and safety comes first, but we’ve also been able to provide consistent coverage on our phone lines and in the field.”
Diversify your product offerings
Diversifying your product offerings is key to success for small business owners, both in normal and less normal times. Jane Goodrich, founder and CEO of Picsello, suggests branching out in a way that won’t make you entirely dependent on doing business in person.
“Offer remote/Zoom sessions, offer classes, work to generate other revenue streams for your business,” says Goodrich. “Can you sell related products online? Does your website generate a lot of traffic that you can monetize? »
Thinking about these questions will help you begin to diversify your business.
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Start an emergency fund
Creating an emergency fund is one of the most important steps to take with your personal finances, but the same principle applies to small business owners. Specifically, Goodrich says you should charge enough to put some money aside.
“Take a good look at your profitability,” she says.
Nurture customer relationships
The benefit of nurturing relationships with customers is that you may find that they are willing to show their support during times of uncertainty. You can do this by providing excellent customer service and going the extra mile.
If you have great relationships with your customers, you may find that they pay for it, literally. “I was very touched when my clients contacted me and asked if they could pre-purchase a session if that would help me,” Goodrich said.
Get a line of credit
Whether or not you like borrowing money, a line of credit can be an invaluable tool for business owners, especially when business is a little slower than usual. Getting that line of credit from the bank can often be “life-saving during a pandemic,” Goodrich says.
Of course, credit should be used responsibly in the business world, just as it is in the world of personal finance. If your business is losing money, the question to ask is whether the situation is only temporary. If not – for example, if you were losing money before the pandemic – a loan may not be as helpful.
Reassess your business
This step is not the one that suggests there is a problem with your business. In fact, it’s about assessing what you could do better. For example, Goodrich suggests taking a hard look at your business to determine where you can improve.
“Where do you waste money? Where can you streamline operations or marketing? Where can you improve your return on investment? These questions will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, and maybe even pivot to favor the more lucrative side of your business.
We previously mentioned nurturing customer relationships, and while this step is related in some way, it is much broader. “Help others. Help your customers. Help those on the front lines,” Goodrich says. Anyone who needs help shouldn’t feel ignored.
An example of this is how Goodrich created a guide for customers when the pandemic made in-person contact difficult. “I created a ‘how to photograph your newborn with your iPhone’ for all of my clients and ended up sharing it around the world since no one was able to get those photos taken,” Goodrich said. “It used my skills for the greater good (and also made me feel like it was helping a bit!)”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How to Pivot Your Small Business During Unprecedented Change