There’s no point trying to sugar-coat the facts: things are tough in the business world right now, and this winter could be one of the most challenging we’ve ever known in our lifetimes.
Many businesses won’t survive, but of the ones that do, you can bet they’ll all have some things in common – hard work, a can-do attitude, and a little bit of luck. We can’t control our own luck but even when there are external factors impacting on our businesses, there are still things we CAN control.
So how can you improve your company’s chances of weathering this storm – and help it to bounce back strongly when the crisis is over? Here are some things to think about…
Henry Ford once famously said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This is a great example of how business sometimes needs to have the courage of its convictions, to take a risk and strike out in a new direction instead of following the process of continuous improvement to its ultimate conclusion.
Unprecedented times call for bold, affirmative action and the businesses that are most successful 10 years from now are likely to be the ones who took a risk now, that ultimately paid off.
It’s really tempting to batten down the hatches and try to ride this storm out – and that might work for some. But if you can think of ways to adapt your business to meet the current challenges head on, you’ll emerge much stronger in the end. Think about the problems your customer is facing currently – are there solutions you can provide, or gaps in the market you could help to fill? Maybe you could expand your online offering, or add new products to your portfolio that will make life easier for your clients? Maybe you could add an extra service – such as in-house design – that would make you more attractive to prospective customers? Maybe you’ve got a big, bold idea for a print solution that might help other businesses deal with social distancing or just grab people’s attention when life goes back to normal? Now is the time to turn all those daydreams you’ve had over the years into real life plans that could help you and your clients bounce back.
Make it easy
If people had to jump through hoops to do business with you before the pandemic, chances are they won’t do it afterwards. Lockdown restrictions have pushed online shopping forward in strides since the spring and tempting those customers back to their local suppliers will be difficult if they can’t access the same level of convenience. So, take this time to think about how you can make it easy for your customers to choose you. Get your web presence in order and spruce up your social media channels. Put all the information your customer needs to make a selection right at their fingertips. Make sure enquiries are responded to promptly. Give your customer options such as store collection as well as home delivery. Most of all, make sure all their interactions with you are friendly and positive – be helpful, professional and flexible. These simple things are what sets your business apart from the faceless corporations with their rock-bottom prices. People are still willing to pay extra for the added value only a small business can guarantee – and this only comes with attention to detail and a commitment to great service, every time.
Keep the momentum
Both of the points we’ve already made focus on changing your business to better suit a difficult climate. The ability to adapt is the single biggest factor in any company’s survival. But it’s important to remember that momentum can be more important than movement. Many businesses have been forced to press pause on their operations so as well as coronavirus, there’s another pandemic circulating: inertia.
It’s OK to feel overwhelmed by the idea of making wholesale changes to your business in the middle of a global crisis that has thrown everything into uncertainty – in fact, it would be strange if you didn’t feel that way. The key to overcoming this is finding momentum – a continual forward motion, however slow, that builds over time to get you where you need to go. A great tip is to break down a big goal into a series of smaller goals and set time frames for each one. By tackling your biggest ambitions in achievable steps, you’ll be amazed at how much progress you can make in a relatively short space of time.
We’d love you to share this blog with your customers – after all, these tips could help them too and if their business thrives, so will yours! To discuss more about how Frontline’s product range can help you add something different to your portfolio, email firstname.lastname@example.org.