Updated: Mar 23
It goes without saying that 2020 was a tough year all around, with small businesses being among the hardest hit during the pandemic. While 2021 is looking up with positive signs and encouraging news starting to gain momentum, it’s clear that challenges still abound.
With lockdowns and restrictions still in place around the U.S., it’s critical to take proactive steps this year to ensure that your business survives. Making the necessary adjustments now can help you position yourself for growth as we emerge from the pandemic.
Be Flexible with Your Budget
With change being even more of a constant nowadays, it’s important to keep close tabs on your budget and allow yourself the flexibility to make adjustments on the fly. While it’s generally common to have a budget be relatively fixed, uncommon times call for an uncommon approach.
As quickly as the situation went south in 2020, it can just as swiftly go the other way as the vaccine makes its rounds and restrictions start to lift. Being prepared to shift and adjust your budget is imperative.
A McKinsey survey of 127 CFO’s found that nearly half of them, 43%, cited “the need to streamline their overall budgeting processes to react more quickly and efficiently”.
They also offered a handful of insightful pieces of advice, a couple of which are;
Hold back some spending centrally—as contingent resources—to build flexibility and optionality into budgets
Rethink decision making to speed up and debias processes
Being overly rigid can leave you in a bind. Be cognizant of that and grant yourself the room to work.
Make Sure Your Funding Is in Place
Your business has a lot of moving parts, all of which have a funding component.
While you typically might finance your business from earnings or some combination of debt and equity, COVID may have thrown a big wrench into your system.
Fortunately, be it loans or grants, there are plenty of resources for small business owners to take advantage of.
The Paycheck Protection Program, for example, is up and running again with an injection of $284.5 million in new funding.
Additionally, NerdWallet points out that funding for small and medium-sized business can come from a number of places;
Small business grants
It’s worth noting that seeking financing isn’t just for those struggling with pandemic-related issues. A timely injection of cash flow can help you grow, take on new projects, and more. It goes hand in hand with budgeting.
Leverage Social Media
The ways in which we communicate, both personally and with marketing, have shifted dramatically in the last year. Social media is already ubiquitous but its use for business has become vital in every industry during Covid.
Given that people are spending much of their time indoors, they may only see your brand’s messages via social.
The numbers don’t lie, as per Sprout Social;
3.6 billion people use social media worldwide – that’s nearly half the earth’s population
In Q2 2020, there were 9 million active advertisers on Facebook
The average CPM (cost per a thousand impressions) was $4.33 in Q2 2020
An even more crucial was this;
“After following a brand on social media, consumers continue to engage in various ways. Ninety-one percent visit the brand’s website or app, 89% will buy from the brand and 85% will recommend the brand to a family or friend.”
Moreover, “52% of all brand discovery still happens in public social feeds” according to Hootsuite.
Social is only getting stronger and it’s a powerful tool that should be playing a starring role in your marketing mix. Especially now.
Be Agile and Adaptable
Whether it was pivoting to a more eCommerce-heavy approach, sales and discounts, downsizing, or Zoom meetings, being able to pivot and adapt was key to survival in 2020 and that won’t change this year.
As the Harvard Business Review notes, “those that thrive are quick to read and act on signals of change. They have worked out how to experiment rapidly, frequently, and economically—not only with products and services but also with business models, processes, and strategies”.
Being nimble should extend to each part of your business, from budgeting to financing to marketing and beyond. Develop that ability to adapt your business to changing circumstances and embrace it as a long-term way of life.
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