As small business owners look to the future post COVID-19, there are some important questions to ask. These questions will help you determine what changes you want to keep, whether your business model is still working for you, and if there are any additional changes you may want to make to keep your company operational through future economic disruptions.
It’s not always fun to do this sort of investigation, but the answers to these questions will help you to make the best possible decisions for your future.
What worked and what didn’t work in your business model?
Almost all small business owners had to make changes to their business model over the last few months. Whether it was hosting meetings with clients on Zoom, learning about secure networks to allow employees to be able to work from home, offering restaurant food for take-out or managing yoga classes online, most small businesses adapted in some way.
Did I have to adapt my business model? Did I alter my offerings in any way? Did I change how my premises are used? Did these adaptations enhance my business in some way? Do these changes highlight gaps in my business model that I need to address? Should I make some of these changes permanent?
Maybe you have a lot of clients who would prefer to have meetings online rather than face-to-face. Perhaps offering classes online is a way to reach out to students or clients who can’t attend weekly sessions in person. There may be perfectly good reasons to continue with a revised business model.
Do you need to make changes to your supply chain?
You have a certain amount of control over your supply chain, but not a lot. Disruptions happen and they can drastically affect your business.
Review how the various components in your supply chain reacted to the pandemic and whether they helped your business or hurt it.
Did the suppliers in my supply chain remain open and transparent with me? Did they reach out to me to discuss revising our agreement? Were they reasonable in their expectations and willing to work with me? Do I need to have alternate arrangements or back-up plans in case there are future disruptions?
Your supply chain issues have a huge impact on your business. Trusting your suppliers and knowing you can work with them will allow you to feel more secure in the future.
How have my staff coped?
Your staff have faced a great deal of stress and uncertainty during COVID-19, due to professional and personal concerns. Team members may have had to transition to new ways of working—from home, on a new schedule, or with new policies and procedures in place.
Are there changes to how my staff work, that I could continue to implement? Should I provide additional training for staff? Have I communicated openly with them? How adaptable was my team?
One benefit from having employees work from home more days a week is that such opportunities for remote working can boost employee morale while saving you money. Now that you’ve invested in the technology to allow staff to work from home, is it worth it to allow this scenario to continue, even a few days a week?
In addition to looking at your business, take a look at your customers and clients. Were they supportive of your business during this time? Did they turn elsewhere? Did they respect the changes you made to your business or the policies you put in place?
Each of the above questions—about your business model, your supply chain, your staff and your customers—will help you make informed decisions about the best way to run your business post COVID-19.
Get in touch with us to chat about your business.