In a year that has been like no other, small businesses in particular have been truly put to the test. While sadly some have not made it through, many have learnt to adjust to ever changing circumstances and not just survive but thrive. So, what lessons can we learn from these successful small businesses?
Take advantage of the chance to be nimble
Unlike large companies or in particular multinationals, small businesses have the ability to change direction or adapt the way they operate in the blink of an eye. So, when the first national lockdown was announced many smaller businesses were able to think on their feet and find a solution to allow them to continue trading, albeit in a different way to usual. Think pubs offering door to door beer deliveries, cafes bringing the luxury of afternoon tea to the comfort of your own home, and fitness trainers offering classes online. The ingenuity of entrepreneurs around the country has been impressive.
Some great examples can be found in this article.
Look at becoming leaner
The trying conditions created by the pandemic have meant that many small businesses have had to think about how to cut costs in order to survive.
According to a recent article from Start Up Donut a record one in four (25%) small firms reduced headcounts last quarter with even more expecting to make redundancies over the coming months.
If you are looking to cut costs over the coming months this article could prove useful.
Don’t delay – bring your business online today
When the country went into full lockdown, businesses with online stores could continue, in many ways, unaffected. Even with the most optimistic outlook the Covid crisis looks likely to continue for some time, encouraging more people to the internet when they want to shop.
If you own a small business and are not currently set up to sell online, now really is the time to make the investment. There are lots of different ways to make this happen, depending on the size of your business and the product you are looking to sell. Read our recent blog to find out more.
The importance of an online presence certainly hasn’t escaped the attention of small businesses. A recent Enterprise Nation survey revealed that the majority of small businesses plan to increase their digital skills so they can continue to trade through rapidly changing conditions.
In an article about the research, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said: “Companies have demonstrated that they can act fast and change their operations overnight in response to external conditions. What is clear is that we’re seeing a decade’s worth of change happening almost overnight. “Entrepreneurs are taking swift action to futureproof their business but many will need support to do so.”
Seize the day
Rather than putting people off branching out on their own, there has actually been a dramatic increase in the number of new businesses launched during the pandemic. According to a recent article in The Express, more than 75,000 companies were formed in June, a rise of almost 25,000 on the same month last year. The article suggests the surge is due to people being made redundant or furloughed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Small Business Geek’s Liz Smith said: “Many people have an idea, passion or dream at the back of their minds that they would love to turn into their own small business, however taking the leap and actually doing it is a whole other story. It certainly seems that the first lockdown gave many people the chance they needed to think their options through and explore how they could turn their dream into a reality. For many small businesses it is an exciting time, with opportunities out there we could not have predicted this time last year. However, we do need to spare a thought for the many who have not made it through or who are really struggling at this time, particularly in the hospitality sector.”
Looking for inspiration to take the leap and start your own small business? This article from the BBC takes a look at four small businesses launched during lockdown.
Allow for flexible working
Making a drastic change to how your business operates can be scary. So, when the Government told people to work from home if they could it was a real test to see whether this more flexible approach to working could succeed.
While many have embraced this change, a recent article from Enterprise Nation suggests there is much more to flexible working than just working from home, with options such as part time, condensed hours and core hours offering true flexibility.
The article adds: “While companies may have shown that their technologies work, the culture, training and management techniques have some catching up to do. The wise businesses are focusing on fixing these issues rather than waiting for things to go back to ‘normal’. Newsflash: they won’t. The world has changed forever.”
Prepare for continually changing circumstances
Although 2020 is FINALLY coming to an end, now is not a time to breathe a sigh of relief.
SBG’s Liz Smith said: “If this year has taught us anything it has to be that as a small business you need to be ready for change. Building your business to be nimble, flexible and forward thinking is essential for survival, and the need for an online presence continues to become ever more important. As we navigate our way through the pandemic over the coming months there are sure to be more curve balls, and that’s without adding other factors such as the health of the economy and Brexit into the mix. But the very nature of small businesses gives them the edge when it comes to adapting to change and looking for emerging opportunities.”
Do you need help or support taking your small business to the next level? Get in touch today.