How To Prepare Your Business For Post-Pandemic Success
We have seen many businesses struggle throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, but now that we’re past the peak of the crisis, a key question we hear a lot is what should we be doing now? The good news is that business can bounce back but it is now more important than ever to plan ahead, making sure you have the right tools, resources, finances and cash to keep your business sustainable whilst in recovery.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to prepare your business for post-pandemic success.
Carry Out Fresh Market Research
The pandemic has changed a lot of things including people’s habits. We have seen a big change in retail and hospitality including restaurants keeping food deliveries online even after lockdown as they saw a future of takeaways rather than dining in.
With this in mind, it can be useful to go back to the drawing board and review your strategies, completing fresh research to identify ‘what’ customer habits might have changed and if they are looking for something different to what you used to offer. You can compare against other competitors or even different industries and then adopt strategies to align to new customer demands. This might include offering new services or products to fill gaps that may have opened up in your industry.
Streamlining operations should be an ongoing strategy in any business. If you are adapting to new strategies then thinking about how they are delivered effectively is important before launching, You should break down operations into key elements, which will allow you to do two things
- Calculate accurately the ‘full’ cost of delivering your product or service, as you can often find costs which were forgotten about, meaning the pricing maybe incorrect.
- Find opportunities to streamline the process. For example if someone is ordering online but that order is not automatically fed into your system (i.e. someone is manually printing out the orders and adding it) then you could look to change this so the orders are automatically populated. This will reduce risk of the order being input incorrectly but also reduce costs over the long run, as although there will be a cost to implement, it will reduce the need to pay someone manually typing forever.
It is important to remember to calculate ROI and payback periods for new investments as making short term decisions on the ‘now’ could hinder longer-term growth.
Manage your cashflow
Cash flow is one of the most important elements of a business and is the biggest cause of failure. Keeping track of your spending, how customers pay you, how often you pay your suppliers, buying stock, paying back bounce back loans etc needs to be tracked so you can ensure you keep a ‘healthy’ balance sheet. This can be difficult if you have run low on cash but then it is more important to have a future outlook (at least a 12-week rolling forecasting) so you can see ‘risk’ periods ahead of time to work out strategies until the business gets back on track
Reduce overhead spend
One of the biggest changes we saw over the pandemic was how businesses adapted to working from home, as a result, many have chosen not to go back to an office. This does not work for every industry and can have some negative impact on employee motivation but those that chose to keep this strategy, have seen some big savings on their fixed overheads.
But for those industries that feel a shop presence is useful such as hospitality or events making better use of space can reduce cost, for example, we have seen a trend towards franchises such as Costas set up in retail outlets rather than having their own shops.
You should also look at other fixed costs, which includes costs such as insurance, software, salaries, subscriptions etc. So it is a good time to revisit all of those costs to see if there is opportunities for savings, but be careful just cutting staff or marketing might seem like a ‘quick win but can have bigger consequences, so it is important to look at overheads in line you’re your plans before making these decisions.
Revamp marketing strategy
Once you’ve started to understand the impact the pandemic has had on your business and how you need to adapt, you should look to see if your marketing strategy needs to change.
This may be old strategies were costly and did not show a great return, or you might have decided to target a different niche meaning you need to introduce different types of marketing. Depending on what you need to do, this may incur additional costs upfront but you should plan your spending in line with your sales strategies, budget your returns so you can keep track if the marketing is working.
You will also need to ensure that your customers can find you online. It is particularly important that your website, social media pages and email marketing campaigns are updated and optimized.
The Covid pandemic has had some big consequences to business but the reality is customer demands and industry changes are always happening, so it is important for business owners to continuously look at their risk strategies and have plans in place. It can be useful to have different revenue streams as there is less impact on the whole business if only 20% of your customer base is lost rather than 100%,
At Wilkinson Accounting Solutions we specialize in helping business owners build realistic plans so they can grow their business with confidence, credibility and calculated risk.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your business back on track!