It’s been a long time coming, but the world is opening again. After months of social distancing and staying in our individual bubbles, people are excited to return to everything they’ve had to forgo over a year. Small business owners are no exception, and getting back to business is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. But “the normal” as we have known it has changed. It’s likely that you’ve already thought through a number of ways that your industry has evolved over the last year. We’re here to aid in that process with some helpful tips for small businesses to focus on in a post-pandemic environment.
Fleshing out a post-pandemic roadmap
If you’re like most people, the time spent at home has given you an abundance of time to think. And if you’re anything like most small business owners, a lot of that thinking has been around how to make the most of our collective emergence into the new business-as-usual. But have you solidified your thinking into a concrete plan?
If you haven’t already, consider writing out in detail what exactly the roadmap for your small business is in a post-pandemic environment. The process of writing down your plan in a chronological manner provides you with several opportunities for growth that you may have missed when the planning was more abstract. You can better judge the goals you have set for yourself, identify potential conflicts and shift around priorities as needed.
As you build out your small business roadmap, remember to take another look at the following:
- Industry research. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own course of action. However, there’s a lot of benefit to examining how your broader industry is approaching post-pandemic procedures. Are there overarching trends that have evolved? Are you in-line with the new expectations your customers will have?
- Your Goals. Small business entrepreneurship thrives on goal setting and working towards concrete milestones. It can be easy to become so singularly focused on a goal that you may not take a step back to consider the larger picture. Look at both your short-term and long-term goals. Make sure that they are aligned to the reality of a post-pandemic marketplace. Adjust your goals as needed, and know everyone will be doing the same.
- Prioritization. Similar to reassessing your goals, take some time to prioritize the tasks at hand in light of the current situation. There’s still some time before we’ll be completely in the clear when it comes to the pandemic. Make sure you put the safety of your staff, your clients and yourself first. Then, you can address what physically needs to happen, your priority goals and so on.
Technology only moves forward
Obviously, the world has changed greatly in the last year. Just as you’ve had to adapt, so have your clients. The public has moved even further online than it was before. People have grown used to conveniences like telehealth, curb-side pickup and flexible work-from-home schedules. Those expectations may change, but they won’t go away. Every industry will have to adapt and evolve to meet those new expectations in different ways, but underlying most of those expectations is one common theme: technology.
Make sure your post-pandemic business plan includes an honest assessment of your technological resources. CenturyLink small business services can help make sure your organization is ready to meet the challenges ahead.
Optimize now, not later
It’s very possible that the past year has exposed a number of redundancies or inefficiencies as you’ve adapted. Take a look back at your response to the pandemic as well as your current workflows. There are likely ways that you can take methodologies that you’ve developed in response to a trying situation and apply them to your post-pandemic strategy.
Optimization doesn’t just end at your brick-and-mortar location, either. As people spend more time online, it’s more important than ever that your web presence is as fully optimized as possible. Check out these tips for small businesses on how to best manage your online assets.
Build resilience through cross-training
The shutdown taught us all, and small business owners in particular, how to make do with less resources. One of the most effective ways to address difficult business situations is to have a flexible staff. Specialization of a skill set is fantastic, but it means whoever possesses that specialization can become a bottleneck if they are unavailable for whatever reason. Cross-train your staff as much as possible. Shared skill sets and methodologies allow you to move your most valuable asset, your team, to the areas where they will be most valuable to the overall organization. In a crisis, adaptability is crucial for survival and continuity of services. Make sure you’re able to address those needs as they arise.
Cash remains king
For a lot of small business owners, the pandemic has underscored the importance of having cash on hand in an emergency. If there’s a dip in revenue ― or if revenue stops completely ― it’s important to have emergency cash funds established and stocked. Many regular expenses won’t stop, and you need to stay afloat. Take an assessment of your cash needs over the shutdown and what cash you had initially earmarked for emergency situations. Crises are inevitable and unexpected, but you can plan for how to best address them when they happen.
Ultimately, there’s no way to fully address situations that have yet to occur, but we can take the best of what we have learned from facing adversity in the past and make the most of it in the future. We hope that these tips for small business post-pandemic plans have helped to prepare you for the challenging, but exciting, road ahead. Check out the CenturyLink Discover blog for even more tips on how to make the most out of your small business.