It isn’t easy running a business – there is so much to do and it can be easy to fall into the trap of spending all of your time working in the business and no time working on the business.
Being resilient requires you to evolve – you can’t rest on your laurels and need to adapt to the environment in which your business operates. Here we run through what we believe are key factors to help you make your business more resilient.
Know where you want to go
Taking time out to work on your business strategy and planning will pay dividends and ensure that you stay on track. Knowing your purpose allows you to make better decisions when opportunities or issues arise. It also prevents you from steering completely off-course and getting easily distracted.
You want to have a plan in place to ensure you’re moving and progressing in the right direction but at the same time not be so rigid that you’re unable to be nimble when needed. Scan the environment, look for changes and listen to your customers. Use your skills and expertise to be in control of developing and growing your business – being pro-active and a little bit reactive where needed.
Back up plans
Cover yourself - think about the worst case scenarios for your business and plan accordingly – it will take away so much stress just knowing that should something disastrous happen, it won’t be the end of the business. This isn’t just in terms of insurance policies but also thinking about issues such as what would you do if a key team member suddenly left? What if your key supplier goes out of business?
The benefit of being a small/micro business is that you are able to adapt and respond quickly to unexpected changes. There is a balance to be struck between sticking to your planned route and ‘going off-piste’ – really good opportunities can and will present themselves; it is being confident in knowing which are the ones worth pursuing that will determine your success. Being clear on your purpose and brand promise will help you determine the best course of action to take.
Watch the numbers
Its and oldie but a goodie “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king”. Many small businesses fail, not because their idea is bad but because they did not have (or keep) a grip on their finances.
Deliver on your brand promise
I know we harp on about it but for good reason – your brand is so important! Having clarity in your purpose (your brand values) and consistently delivering on your brand promise will help you fend off the competition and keep your customers loyal.
Map out your customer journey
To remain resilient you must be customer-centric – putting the customer at the heart of everything that you do. It can be easy to lose sight of the customer; getting bogged down with the day-to-day operations of the business but to do so puts you at risk of losing your customers to your competitors.
Regularly check-in with your customer offering. Have you had any customer complaints? What things do customers comment on liking/disliking about your offering? What needs improving? What is your repeat business like? These are the important things to be monitoring and measuring not just those vanity metrics such as website hits and social media followings.
Yes, we all need to try and work smarter but be wary of eliminating interactions with your customers in favour of being efficient. Relationships are built on positive interactions and for most of us, a positive interaction is one which makes us feel valued as an individual and not just another entity in this increasingly crazy, busy world.
Take a holistic approach to your marketing
Gone are the days of marketing consisting of merely sticking an advert in the Yellow Pages and waiting for the phone to ring – we now need to cover all of our customer touch-points with our marketing, often 24/7. As a small business you need to ensure an integrated approach to your marketing, syncing all your efforts to produce a consistent message.
Finally, think about your customer’s motivation – what is it that you can do for them? This is key to ensuring your business remains relevant to your customers – the how’s and when’s will follow if you start with the WHY.