Playbook for Small Businesses
After more than a year of pandemic life, recent statistics show that we are approaching a new normal. Vaccine doses are increasing, travel is accelerating, and states are beginning to reopen. Hell, even the Olympics are back.
Optimism is the current business trend. Recruitment and consumer spending are increasing, and I see small businesses that I see are full of vitality. The data supports this; according to the SMB technology direction of the SMB Group’s 2021 Changing World Survey, 65% of surveyed SMBs (companies with 1 to 250 employees) are very or somewhat optimistic about the future of their business.
New hope brings support from ships
Companies of all sizes have spent months rethinking their operations to optimize flexibility. Although every small business is unique, they can rely on some common strategies in our post-pandemic world.
Prioritize people through work-life balance
A positive aspect of this year is the recognition that companies must provide a more sustainable balance between work and life. Leaders are open to this demand. This is an earth-shaking change and a welcome change.
Many companies will not resume work as usual: working hours will be different, video conferencing will continue to exist, and priorities will change. Just as companies strive to create personalized experiences for customers, they are also using this approach to create personalized experiences for employees. Small businesses do not use benefits such as snacks and ping pong tables to keep employees in the office but provide greater flexibility and benefits to achieve a better work-life balance.
Review your technology investment
In addition to Covid, the past year has brought hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, killer bees, etc. What’s the next step? Who knows, but your small business must be prepared for anything. The first step is to implement the right technology to ensure continuity.
If you think back to the beginning of the pandemic, it is difficult for companies without the right technology to make ends meet, while companies with digital tools and services can turn losses into profits and continue operations. Leaders are already preparing for this future, and it is important that you do the same. According to SMB Group, 54% of SMEs have changed their technology strategy, and 44% of companies plan to increase technology spending this year.
Empathy is nothing Sometimes
empathy is important this year, but once we overcome the pandemic, we must not forget it. You never know what someone is dealing with outside of work, such as breakups, family stress, and health issues. Your colleagues want to be seen and heard, even if they are not looking at the disaster.
It has done so by proposing unique ways to stay connected and establish virtual relationships; be sure to continue these efforts and create a culture of empathy. This means you need to be involved in a meaningful way, schedule regular visits with your team, and work hard to build a real relationship. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff put it, today’s leaders must listen to “the voice of employees – they are the key stakeholders in the success of the company.”
Take the time to develop a scenario plan
Another way to prepare for what the world has in store for us is scenario planning: Come up with several options to change your actions in the face of various situations. My team’s research shows that, given the pandemic, 30% of small and medium-sized businesses have already started doing so.
What if your sales executive quits at a critical time? If the market crashes, what additional costs can you reduce? What is your succession plan for the executive team? Think of an answer for every possible situation, no matter how implausible it may seem. You may never need these plans, but even considering these scenarios will keep you flexible. Going through this with your team is a worthwhile exercise.
The first digital movement will continue to exist
Since we are used to working online, it will be difficult for us to go back to anything in people, such as shopping, office work, and activities. Is your business configured as virtual?
Consider this year, make sure your strategy includes plans to address digital needs. According to SMB Group, the main areas where small businesses want to automate are customer service, sales, and finance, and accounting. Our own research shows that growing SMEs are more likely than stagnant SMEs to adopt technology to prepare for future crises and digitize customer interactions, communications, and workflows.
A company that puts customers first will win
What hasn’t changed? To succeed in any field, your small business must focus on customer satisfaction. To do this, make sure you put your customers at the forefront of every decision. Have the right technology and use data to strengthen customer relationships.
Even the smallest businesses can reap the rewards of technology to help manage and track customer relationships. This is customer first, and what can help you grow and succeed in the post-Covid world.
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