Top tips for small businesses on the road to recovery

New normal, pivot, a virtual world, reinvent, re-strategise, and making the most of your digital communication capabilities. These are just some of the terms we wake up to since we started to navigate our way along the tough road to recovery, and to staying in business.

And, to think three months ago before COVID-19 turned our lives upside-down, you were probably working five, six or maybe even seven days a week. Just like the rest of your team (many of whom are still working from home now or are on reduced hours in the hope to return to normal) and while it was always hard to make ends meet it wasn’t nearly as complex as the position we find ourselves in today.

Lots of things have changed in a very short space of time and as a small business, we need to battle-hard to meet head-on the challenges ahead in these uncharted waters.

Advice and tips are being handed out by the plenty and a lot of them make sense, while others may not. At the end of the day, it comes down to common sense. Survival is paramount. Survivors are ethos with the initiative to know the priority is to re-strategise and pivot for longevity.

While COVID-19 is the crisis now in 2020, brand transitions have a long history of evolution. There are numerous success stories here companies have faced the need to reinvent, to rebuild and to stay alive. Those that pivot will win. This global pandemic has created change and the upside is, this provides us with endless new opportunities.

After 25 years running a successful marketing and Public Relations company, I, as the CEO, am the first to admit COVID-19 has tested leadership in unimaginable ways. Not wanting to overload you with another long list of tips I have selected what I call my “diamonds for survival.”

  1. Make smart business and financial decisions
    Importantly, as we come out of COVID-19 and are faced with the threat of recession, look at what needs to happen today, in a month and in six months, and determine quickly your cashflow threshold. Companies able to act decisively and quickly amidst uncertainty and risk will have more chance of survival The best decisions are taken after identifying the weaknesses and threats to your business. It’s not a time to put your head in the sand.
  2. Be a transparent leader
    I’m in the PR and marketing business, so I take a lesson from what I tell clients on a daily basis: Over-communicate with staff, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
    Show leadership. If in doubt, look in the mirror and stand tall. Being upfront and transparent with your staff is ethical and they will respect you for doing so. You may need to ask your people what their minimum home budget is to survive – can they afford pay cuts. Amazing teams will pull together to keep their job security and keep businesses afloat.
  3. Plan and be open to evolving!
    Now is the time to stay ahead, avoid complacency, and review your marketing strategy. Make a new plan. When your handing out advice to your employees remind them that their digital resume and personal brand is more important than ever in this new era of change. Remind them that human connection and brand empathy is such an important sales tool in business. It is also a time to take the time to invest in your learning to upskill.

Good luck!

Sharon Williams, Founder and CEO, Taurus Marketing

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