It goes without saying that Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on businesses and on the people who run them.
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials”.
Although it has been an immensely hard time for some, and vulnerable at best for others, this pandemic has given us business owners the opportunity to look at the business and really see what needs to be done to make it better.
We’ve learned that people are surprisingly optimistic in the face of adversity
From client conversations we’ve had, we know this has shaken up some owners for the better. It has caused them to stop and think about what they want from their business. What really makes them happy. What they want the business to do for them in the grand scheme of their lives.
As a result of these questions, they’ve looked at the key focus areas and see what actions can be taken to move more effectively towards their goals. Areas like:
- Products and services
Products and services
Many businesses have had to reinvent their offering as a result of the lockdowns – introducing e-commerce for the first time, creating products to meet new needs or solve new problems, creating new campaigns or pivoting services.
For some this has been the result of a decline in sales, for others a necessary move to meet a sudden increase in demand.
We know some trends sticking around long after Covid-19. The sourdough making might have been given up pretty quickly, but businesses are moving online for good. If we didn’t already have a digital transformation was inevitable, this pandemic has certainly been the turning point.
We’ve seen a huge growth in the digital and e-commerce sectors over the last year, and you’ll know from your own experience as a consumer that everything went online. More zoom meetings, online shops, digital marketing campaigns, digital payment processes. Businesses that weren’t able to continue providing their products and services online have suffered.
Whether you’ve had to make changes to how you deliver your offering or not, now might be the time to think hard about the future of the business.
- Update your business plan and get clear on what’s working and what isn’t. What you might have pivoted on that you’d like to keep doing, and what isn’t serving you anymore.
- Look at how you might move your business online if you haven’t already – Do you have a website that brings you more business? Could you set up an online shop? Can you take digital payments and make it easier for people to pay you? Might you run classes, meetings, etc online? These are just some ways you can become more accessible to more people, and future proof your business.
- Look at your prices! If you have made changes to products and services, and haven’t thought about increasing prices, now is the time to reassess. We wrote a full blog on what to consider and how to restructure your pricing here. Well worth a read!
With all the work you’ve done to adapt and pivot your products and services, you’ll want to spend time on your marketing. The pandemic has encouraged us to look at how we attract new customers, especially when the consumer’s needs and wants may have changed.
As with the products and services, if you relied on in-person events or networking to draw in new business, now is the time to get online. It’s not too late, and it will propel your business forward. Virtual events have been really popular over the course of the lockdown, with lots of creative and innovative ideas smashing perceptions of what can be done online.
With all that optimism you have:
- Make sure you have a solid website – as we mentioned above, a website is just one way to make sure you’re competing with businesses online. If you already have a website, look at creating and sharing content to help your ideal customers and clients buy faster.
- Get on social media to start conversations and market your business – Most of the world is living on one social platform or another! Wherever your target audience is hanging out, make sure you have a presence.
- Look at what’s working and what isn’t – is your budget tied up in a marketing task that just doesn’t make sense in the climate we’re in? Then do as you’ve been doing with the business, pivot and adapt. Try something new.
- Look after your existing clients – pay close attention to those clients and customers who’ve stayed with you during the hard times. How much are you communicating with your loyal base? What more could you be doing to improve their lives?
If this year has taught us anything, it’s to learn from the things we didn’t see coming, and try to make our businesses as bulletproof as possible so that whatever comes our way, we’re as prepared as we can be.
The question we’re always asking is: How can we make each process within our business run a little smoother?
Propelling forward after such unforeseen and (dare we use the word) unprecidented change depends on having solid systems and processes within the business.
Ask yourself: What is creating a blockage in the workflow? It could be people who need more training, processes that need better tech, it could even be you! Your sign off on work may be causing work to slow.
- Start by making a list of areas that need improving.
- Pick up a book like Traction by Gino Wickman to help you create better systems.
- Read this great blog on how to be prepared for the unexpected, where we continue this list of tips to build a bulletproof business.
As good as your services, products and systems are – it’s the people within the business who execute on the strategy and make it successful. The biggest lesson you may have learned in the last year as the business owner, is how important it is to support your staff.
If anything, that’s your role! Your team is there to take care of the sales and follow through on the processes, so it’s your job to take care of the team.
Your staff levels may actually have reduced over the course of the lockdown. As a result of furloughing staff, many of our clients have found they need a far smaller team than they thought they needed. Whatever size your core team ends up being, there are some things you can do to prioritise their health and wellbeing.
You’re here because you’ve been thinking about what makes you happy, and what your business can do to facilitate your goals. Be thinking about what makes your team happy, and how the business might facilitate theirs.
- Check in with the team regularly – Not just about tasks on the to-do list. If you can, schedule in personal catch ups with the whole team, or plan for them at every level. This could be a simple 30 minute chat to make sure the team member is happy or can talk about anything they’re struggling with.
- Consider new ways of working – Remote working has proven to work in most situations, and it may be worth continuing when things open up again. It can help staff spend more time with their families, and may considerably reduce the overhead costs of renting and maintaining an office or commercial space.
- Encourage work/life balance – Remote working can have a really positive impact on your team and their productivity. But it does need to be managed too. It can be very easy to overwork, so it’s important to implement the same breaktimes and end-of-day habits you’d encourage in the workplace.
Ask what more your accountant can do for you
Firstly, give yourself a big thank you for your optimism. We thank you for it too! We want to see businesses come out of this stronger, more resilient and optimistic about their future. We’re proud of how amazing our clients have been during the hardship they’ve endured.
It’s our job (and our passion) at all times to help you propel your business forward. And we can do plenty more than just look after your books.
For us, a strong, supportive working relationship is the backbone of helping you to thrive. Our goal is always to support you, both in business and in your personal life.
So make sure:
- You’re aware of all the resources available to you – we’re regularly posting blogs about everything from tax stuff you need to know to tips on how to run the business. We make sure to cover all kinds of questions, problems and misunderstandings here for anyone who might need it.
- To find all our Covid-19 support here – We’ve put all helpful tips, templates and info into this main hub, and continue to update it as new information is released.
- You talk to us for specific help and guidance – we’re always here to talk through what’s best for moving your business forward.
Any way we can help, we will.