The ongoing pandemic has presented an extraordinary challenge for business owners to survive and thrive financially. As many states have eased their lockdown restrictions, business owners still struggle to generate the revenue needed to keep their businesses open and retain a paid staff. While some industries have thrived during the pandemic’s forced-remoteness, others have had to rethink their business strategies. If you’re a company owner with ambitious plans to expand and develop your business, you may want to learn from some experts in the field who have already paved the road to success during these tumultuous times. We asked some highly successful entrepreneurs and business coaches how to navigate the choppy waters and negotiate the highs and lows of running a business during the pandemic.
Learn to Manage Uncertainty
Business is a fluid landscape: Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. Many entrepreneurs often focus on the difficulties of managing a failing business and get caught up in the negatives. Know that your business won’t be in this challenging situation forever, and companies will rebound from the pandemic. With federal relief packages beginning to expire and more people receiving vaccinations, businesses can start focusing on their economic rebound strategy instead of just focusing on their survival strategy.
Constant Business Evaluation
Constantly evaluating your business’ strengths and weaknesses is essential for entrepreneurs, but to do so, you need to establish a specific way to assess your business. Customer and team member feedback is only one way of learning about your strengths and weaknesses. Expert consultant Greg Andruk proposes a Strengths Profile as a way to evaluate your business. His model explores the SELF (self-aware, explore, launch, and flourish) to determine your company’s strengths and how to utilize them for a competitive advantage.
Don’t Forget the Details
When creating business plans, entrepreneurs often focus on the end goal. This practice can come at a price. You may overlook small things, so having a second set of eyes can help catch what you’ve missed. Consulting companies, such as Luca Leonte’s company Expert Agile Club, help entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of organizational change, management initiatives, and pandemic recovery plans. As you can imagine, these services have been in high demand as they have helped organizations manage the Covid-19 crisis. Leonte’s coaching program’s core focus is developing attention to detail and the ability to execute plans. Many people can conjure up innovative, original ideas, but few have what it takes to turn that idea into a successful business.
Entrepreneurs have to be resilient. They should be focused, and they should be strong-willed. Embarking upon the entrepreneurial journey requires you to have a broader vision, but you must also pay attention to the little things that count. Strength and determination are necessary when times are tough. Without an iron will, the chances of succeeding as an entrepreneur are very slim.
Resilience is key
The pandemic forced many companies to close their doors without knowing when they’d reopen, as consumers no longer needed their products or services during this time. The arts, ticket sales, and sports industries are just a few businesses that face an uncertain future, as many athletes and thespians wonder when they will return to their passions. Like other sports-related companies, Dan Soviero’s company, Signature Lacrosse, took a major hit in the spring of 2020 after the pandemic shutdowns canceled all spring sports. Within two weeks of the shutdowns, Signature Lacrosse announced a new program called Quarantine Kits. Athletes could purchase a kit containing lacrosse balls, sticks, and goals alongside a hefty discount so players could still practice lacrosse at home while they awaited the return of their beloved sport. The Quarantine Kits and their already established Partner Program Team Store allowed the company to see an increase in their average gross margin by about 40% for the first half of 2020.
Cash flow issues are among the most common causes of business failure. Learning how to fund your business from financial experts can help companies better manage their finances, especially during the tumultuous times caused by the pandemic. Expert financial consultant Jack McColl of CreditStacking.com helps clients optimize their credit, build relationships with lenders, and leverage business credit cards. “There is a massive opportunity cost by using personal savings to start a business; instead, use 0% interest business credit to start and scale your business,” says McColl. Leveraging your business credit instead of your personal credit allows you to receive higher borrowing limits.
Gave Multiple Sources of Income
Canadian business owner and serial entrepreneur Ali El Gamrini recognizes the importance of having multiple income sources from various industries, especially during the pandemic. He runs a content agency, nightclub, real estate agency, and clothing line.
When the pandemic struck, his brick and mortar stores and nightclub shutdown with no insight into when they would reopen; however, his online clothing store and real estate business flourished. He founded his real estate company, Gamrini Homes and Construction, two years before the pandemic struck, which was fortunate because this industry experienced rapid growth over the last year. Because of his multiple sources of income, Gamrini was able to financially survive and thrive during the pandemic.
Take Time to Recharge
Another top tip for aspiring entrepreneurs is to relax and try and be as open-minded as possible. It’s easy to let your business matters consume you. Letting this happen poses a risk of losing your passion and joy for the job, and you will end up missing out on the fun of being a business owner. Viewing challenges or setbacks as opportunities for growth instead of negatives can help business owners see the positives and not become discouraged. Keeping an open mind to new ideas and potential connections can help your company grow during challenging times.
Engage and Connect
Customer engagement has never been more critical in an age where reviews carry gravitas, and people actively want to interact with the brands from which they buy. Entrepreneurs should open communication channels to collect and utilize customer feedback to continually improve their customers’ experience. Social media and email or in-store surveys are great ways to collect feedback.
Strive to Add Value
Focus on generating value rather than making money, and you will maximize the chances of success and pave the way for growth and development. Businesses often focus on cutting prices or luring buyers in with discounts, but you must prioritize value. Customers appreciate value, and their willingness to pay more increases dramatically when they feel like they are getting the best deal for their money. Increased demand for your products and services means significant gains in your overall profits.
If your business survived 2020, consider yourself fortunate. Many companies did not make it. 2021 will undoubtedly bring its challenges, so be ready to implement these growth experts’ advice so you can be prepared to adjust your business to whatever 2021 will do to change the market trajectory in your industry.