According to Judo Bank, around 160,000 of Australia’s two million small businesses could go under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are steps SMEs can consider taking to position themselves favourably against their competitors when looking ahead to surviving and thriving in 2021.
The pandemic has forced businesses to rethink and consider where effective change can be introduced. These considerations cannot only improve our prospects now but ensure we are better placed for the future.
Here are five ways to prepare your business now and start 2021 with efficiency and confidence.
1. Know your problem
Too often we feel the pressure to make fast decisions with the focus solely on finding a solution. If you don’t know what the problem is, how do you know what to fix or how much is it going to cost if you get it wrong?
Taking the time to be educated on business problems and potential pitfalls will empower you as a leader to make the right decisions for your team and business from the start.
2. Include your team
There is no-one in your organisation better equipped to identify where problems may lay and there is no benefit in changing things without having buy-in from those that will be most impacted.
Collaborating with your team will not only provide you with unrivalled insights, but it will also build a positive team culture of inclusion, unity and respect. It provides a space for your team to feel like they are heard and are personally contributing to a greater goal.
3. Review your business processes
Staying open to insights and understanding the ‘current state’ of your business is crucial to the success of any organisation. Business processes always come with two measures: “How much time does this process take to complete?” and “How much does that time cost?”
When reviewing your business processes, provide yourself with the opportunity to consider:
- Is the right team member responsible for this process?
- Could this process be automated?
- Am I utilising the right tools or technology to complete this action?
- Is this process hindering or helping my team?
- Is it financially viable to keep this process in its current state?
4. Understand your market
The potential need for business change and improvement doesn’t always only come from within. Your client and potential clients should have a valid say too and understand what their pains and they’ll appreciate their insight being valued.
You must also look at:
- how our clients’ needs have evolved
- do their pains exist at all anymore
- is there a new type of client/market that we should be focusing on
- whether your product/service is still relevant.
5. Embrace your business data
Data can come in many forms and from a range of sources. System generated data from software, business programs (eg Xero) and apps provide great insight, as does communicating with team members and clients through surveys.
Most of the time data answers to your questions are already right in front of you. Don’t be in a rush to get to the point of implementing a solution without first being educated on where your attention is truly needed.
Look at how you can make improvements and understand how to effectively use the findings and lessons to build a plan to tackle 2021 with a positive head start.
Zoe Savic, Chief Operating Officer, Cogniom