How to guide for navigating the changing economy

If the recent years have taught us anything it’s that adapting to change is a critical skill as a leader.

Small businesses have endured the COVID-19 pandemic, drought, skills shortage, rising prices, supply chain issues, rising interest rates and a downturn in the Australian economy.

Prices were already on the rise during the COVID pandemic and few businesses escaped an impact. However, the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine and turmoil in global and Western governments seems to have only made matters worse in the worldwide economy.

During times of high inflation, small businesses are usually faced with an increased dilemma. Should they choose to increase prices to cover their costs, do they run the risk of losing customers.

As the founder of Taurus which has been in operation for over 27 years, I have seen much change while working with businesses from one man bands to the largest ASX listed organisations, At the core of a small business is that strong customer relationship, a local touch and strong empathy with the community. Being small and nimble enough to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes is what allows us to connect with others. Being empathetic during this economic period has not only helped our businesses prosper but the customers and the employees too. My years of experience have allowed me to gain insight into survival techniques and here are my top tips on how to navigate this economic shift.

  1. Re-evaluate productivity
    Change is hard. However, during these trying times, it is necessary to keep reinventing, keep fresh and review the evolution of your dream. As a small business, thinking about the product you sell and how your customers are interacting with it is critical as time ebbs and flows. Keep in touch with your customers and ask for feedback so you can edit, change, adapt and make a product or experience more memorable and more relevant.
  2. Lower staff turnover (staff preservation)
    Staff retention is often affected during challenging times. The age-old rule is, it usually costs more to hire new staff than to retain present staff members. Creating a comfortable environment for employees has always helped to maximise wellbeing and productivity and increase work satisfaction, which in turn creates a sense of loyalty and higher levels of customer service. Listening to your staff’s needs creates a sense of trust and respect. At the end of the day, your team is a direct link to customers and key to your business thriving.
  3. Investing in automation
    In recent years, technology has rid you of tasks and hopefully speed your business up. Using technology to do simple tasks can boost efficiency and lower costs, which is your goal. If it is within budget, try and invest in solutions to lower the time spent on repetitive tasks.

When you’ve been in business a long time, the knocks become easier to roll with. Collate money in the bank, curb spending and cut what you don’t need. If the past few years have taught us anything it is that we are able to overcome most challenges no matter how trying they are whether it be bushfires, floods, or a pandemic, there is always a way through.