Just like many other businesses out there, when this pandemic hit, we found ourselves anxious and uncertain about the future. We started worrying about what kind of lasting impact this will have on our businesses, careers, and overall livelihoods.
There’s no way we could have predicted or prepared for this challenge. But as a business, we need to find calm in the chaos and use this as a time to think, adapt, and evolve.
Whether or not you have realized it yet, this situation has created a chance to slow down, look inside, and improve ourselves from the inside out. While there are many different things to consider, here are some key things that we immediately thought about:
Do we understand the flow of money in our business?
Is your business built on project work (one-time payments) or recurring work (recurring payments)? Understanding the timing of when money is coming in and out is crucial to staying afloat when times are tough. In addition, having a recurring stream of business can create a secure foundation for any company. Waking up on January 1st with true predictable revenue is a beautiful thing. If you don’t have an area of your business that is built on recurring revenue, think about how you could build one.
Are we diversified in our customer base?
Think of this as a risk assessment of your book of business. Is your business dependent on a customer base made up of a few, large customers in a narrow industry, or is it made up of many smaller customers spread across many industries? Part of this simply depends on what your company does, but it’s always an important question to ask yourself. If most of your business is dependent on, say, 20 customers, then your business will be heavily impacted if you lose 1 of those customers. On the other hand, if most of your business is spread out over 100 customers of similar size, then losing 1 won’t hurt too bad. At a time like this, having (or starting to build) a large volume of customers can create some added security.
Where are we wasting resources?
When was the last time you took a hard look at all the things you spend money on? It’s easy to brush off $50 here and $100 there. When looking at all of these small costs together, however, they can quickly add up. By cutting out small unneeded expenses, you will have immediately created more efficiency and profitability for your business. Make it a habit at least once a year to review your expenses in every department. Every little bit counts.
Shift (but don’t cut) marketing spend.
If it makes sense to cut your ad spend right now, think about switching that budget to something like a website revamp or content marketing and SEO. Successful marketing is built on momentum, a consistent effort that takes time to build. Many small businesses will tie their budget to a percentage of sales. However you determine what you will be spending on marketing, stick to it on some level. It is a very important component of any growing business.
This list could go on and on, but these are a handful of things that we have personally analyzed within our own business.
We now have had the benefit of seeing how bad things can get, and how quickly they can get there. The silver lining of this pandemic is that if we can survive this as a business, we will evolve to grow stronger, more intelligent, and better prepared for the future.
Stay safe out there, and stay hopeful!