Fluctuations in the marketplace can be trying for small businesses and entrepreneurs. While you might feel as if you have no control over societal factors that impact your industry, these are the times to quickly adapt, innovate and seize on opportunities to ensure your business survival.
Though unwelcome and disruptive, dire predicaments force us to think outside of the box, push us outside of our comfort zone, and enable us to gain new skills through problem solving.
Here are five tips to help small businesses navigate times of uncertainty.
1. Breathe… you can get through this
Don’t let uncertainty overwhelm you. Take deep breaths and remember that the world has gone through several financial crisis, recessions, and natural disasters. The situation at hand can seem larger than life but take a minute to think through your next steps and form a mitigation plan. By planning rather than panicking, you recoup valuable time to take progressive action.
2. Communicate with customers, employees, and stakeholders
Once you’ve thought through your initial first steps, proactively communicate with your stakeholders and employees about the progress made towards a business continuity plan. Open the lines of communication so they feel supported, but also so they can reach out to you with their concerns.
Let your customers know the actions you’re taking to combat the situation, communicate any change in business processes, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have. Showing strengths in your customer service will help shape the type of customer loyalty that can crisis-proof your business.
3. Collaboration is more important than ever
Now is the time to equip your employees with the tools they need to get their jobs done from any location. Although the circumstances surrounding daily lives may have shifted, it doesn’t mean work stops. With secure, real-time data and analytics available at their fingertips, your staff can adjust to the new challenges with the flexibility to collaborate without disruption. These tools come with the added benefits of cutting down manual processes, so your employees become more efficient in their work.
During times of hardship, don’t be afraid to ask your staff what you can do better. Often, employees are keenly aware of issues and solutions facing your business. By letting them help shape your strategy moving forward, you also instill confidence in your workforce.
4. Innovate and adapt
Are there ways to modify your offerings to meet the new demands of the crisis at hand? By finding avenues to adapt your services or solutions, you can align your business as part of the overall solution. Prioritise projects so your most useful benefits are at the forefront of your strategy moving forward, then focus on how to promote these innovations so your customers and prospects know how you’re adapting and evolving.
Although you may not have control over the larger issue affecting the marketplace, you do have control over how your business operates during this time. Be quick to adapt to change and embrace the technology that enables business continuity. Today’s cloud technology empowers organizations to quickly adjust to variables out of their control, enabling them to push through the obstacles at hand.
As you navigate the crisis, remember that lowering your price in order to compete is a losing strategy. Focus on the value you bring with superior service, product mix, product knowledge or post-sale support.
5. Evolve your marketing strategy
Your competitors may reduce advertising when faced with marketplace fluctuations. This is an opportunity for you to increase your market share. Social media marketing offers many benefits like audience targeting, where you can find people based on specific parameters like life events, geography and affinities. Tailoring your strategy to the economic climate may provide opportunities to gain new prospects and customers during uncertain times.