Let’s agree that this awful pandemic and its effect on small business has to come to an end at some point. If we agree on that, then when do we start really planning our recovery from it? What lessons can we use to help us move forward in the most positive and prosperous manner possible? We look at this from several angles and suggest the following three tips to get your business Out of the Shadow of the Pandemic:
1) Tip: Examine what made you successful before the pandemic and throw away the rest!
Remember when you were starting your business. What did you imagine it would be like? Were the image and the reality even close? Most entrepreneurs reading this are chuckling to themselves right now. It is never precisely what you imagined, but you adjust.
In a recent article, the New York Times suggested that the start-up mentality is key to succeeding in the current conditions. How many of us have had to take hold of the “fly -by -the seat -of your -pants” business strategy to keep doors open and keep revenue coming in? When Governor Sisolak’s first pandemic order shut down the tasting room of Lovelady Brewing Company, their team had to quickly replace the lost revenue. Linda Lovelady, Financial Controller of Lovelady Brewing Company explained saying, “After losing a substantial amount of our revenue directly due to the pandemic, we increased the formats and varieties of to-go beers, added curbside pick-up, partnered with a local coffee roaster to cold brew and package their product and worked with the City of Henderson to offer additional, outdoor, sidewalk seating.” They built a new website for curbside pickup and learned how to address new policies and procedures to keep patrons and team members safe. Now, they continue to innovate based on what they can do, not what they can’t do.
What made your business survive when the odds of a start-up surviving the first few years are so high against it? Was it a superior product? Was it your customer service? Identify it and go full throttle to recapture that.
2) Tip: Don’t keep trying to make it work if it doesn’t anymore.
This tip seems easy enough, but change is hard, and for the entrepreneur, it can seem like giving up a little piece of oneself—our advice: Fail fast and move on.
Over time, every business changes and adapts to the market conditions, changing customer demographics, and multiple other factors. The problem is that time to learn and adapt is no longer there. To thrive, we need to learn lessons faster, make bigger changes, and do it repeatedly. Look at the aspects of your business that are not contributing to your success and drop them fast. This is a hard approach, but you have an excellent excuse, “the pandemic made you.” Is it time to let dead weight employees go, drop unprofitable products and stop trying to be everything to everyone? Mean and lean is the path forward.
What do you need to let go of today to ensure you have a business tomorrow?
3) Tip: Spruce up your virtual image.
This one makes a big difference and it is relatively easy. It may sound frivolous but your work environment is more important than ever. Most of us are working from home now instead of our office or business. Have you converted a bedroom into an executive suite? Are you on Zoom every day? Are we looking at art in your background that matched your guest room comforter?
Take stock of your image. Clear out the bedroom artifacts. Face it; we are going to be here for a while. Invest in some things to surround yourself with that bring you closer to that professional, finished feeling. Buy a new webcam with a decent mic. And by all means, get dressed for work. The novelty is gone. You are home, but you are at work.
Look around. What needs to go to make your space thoroughly professional? What do you need to do to project professionalism? Make it so.
Make the most of your business image virtually everywhere you can. Do you have a virtual tour of your business? Take advantage of the opportunity to promote it on ShopSmallEverySaturday.com. It is free, easy and if there is no excuse for missing out on extra promotion. Check out Lovelady Brewing Company’s video. If you can’t make a video, just upload a photo!
Put these tips in place now and by the time we are out of the shadow of the pandemic, you will be ahead!