6 Ways to Prepare Your Small Business for the Post-Pandemic Landscape
It goes without saying that no business was safe from the global health crisis that struck last year. However, small businesses were more vulnerable to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic compared to larger enterprises. According to a StatCan study that looked into the effects of COVID-19 on small businesses in Canada, small businesses were more likely to experience a year-over-year decrease in revenue and less likely to be able to take on more debt.
Other studies have documented that small businesses and startups continue to face many challenges such as mounting operating costs, a significant drop in sales, increasing hurdles to personnel recruitment and management, and much more. During these times of great uncertainty, it is essential for business leaders to remain calm and forward-thinking, and swift in introducing and implementing strategies that will help keep their businesses thriving and afloat. Here are six things small businesses need to focus on to adjust in a post-pandemic world successfully:
1. Beef up your SEO
With most, if not all, businesses shifting to the digital space these past few months, setting yourself apart from the rest will become a challenging task. That being said, it is all the more critical for small businesses to make full use of technology and digital platforms to succeed. This can be done by investing in a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. After all, 87% of consumers usually start their purchase using search engines to either look for relevant information or go through reviews. A good SEO strategy will help businesses generate online traffic and gain visibility on search engines like Google and Bing. Start by identifying your primary keywords, focus on creating high-quality content for your website, and analyze your competitor’s strategies.
2. Focus on data analytics and BI
Small businesses should zoom in on data analytics and business intelligence to get the most out of their business data and gain vital insights instrumental to business growth (BI). BI software such as Microsoft Power BI can help businesses with reporting, and analytical capabilities visualize and analyze data across your entire business for actionable insights. These help businesses make better business decisions that can improve customer experience and successfully meet customer demand. A focus on data can also help form a company culture that supports data literacy, innovation, and data-driven decision-making.
3. Optimize your business processes
Every business seeks to produce more while spending less, and this is precisely what business process optimization aims to achieve. Small businesses can benefit from this, especially since they typically have limited resources compared to larger companies, so knowing how to maximize them for profit can lead to sustainable and significant growth. Operational efficiency helps reduce waste or non-value activities from your business, which can help small businesses to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. To get started, begin by process mapping to understand the current state of your business processes and identify process KPIs to measure the impact of your business process
4. Invest in cloud software
A post-pandemic world will likely demand that organizations be more agile. If small businesses want to grow and scale quickly, they should invest in cloud-based business management software. For instance, cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can help unify and align planning across all departments in a company. Cloud ERPs are valuable for several reasons, primarily accessibility and usability for remote workers. They increase efficiency and productivity and can easily automate manual processes. Demands for performance, exponential growth, and sustainability are quite high for small businesses and startups that struggle with resources. Cloud-based systems enable business leaders to work effectively and efficiently without compromising too much.
5. Explore mobile apps
Even before the pandemic, mobile apps made explicitly for businesses had gained traction thanks to their numerous advantages. According to a Forbes article, in 2021, mobile app developers are challenged to find ways to increase engagement with customers. From personalized marketing and the easy embedding of feedback-and-response to ensuring an agile and receptive way of delivering quality engagement, the advantages are all-encompassing. In a post-pandemic world, mobile apps can effectively help businesses build and maintain relationships with customers without them physically engaging with the company. Additionally, mobile apps can also serve as a vital analysis tool that could help create a loyal customer base as you will be able to track different metrics.
6. Build up a cash reserve for contingency
If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that emergencies can come along to disrupt your business when you least expect it. Be prepared for any future crisis by building a solid contingency plan. For instance, building cash reserves could be a priority for your business. Having cash reserves for 6 to 9 months can allow businesses from any industry to avoid taking debts if your company runs into future trouble and could ensure its survival when unexpected costs arise or if your revenue suddenly drops. A cash reserve also gives you the flexibility to invest in what’s essential to your business, whether it’s building a new product line, embracing digital transformation, or other inputs that will allow you to generate more cash in the future.
If your small business is looking to get back on its feet and get ahead, use these strategies to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic landscape.