Now, more than ever, small businesses face a struggle for their very existence. The combination of global pandemic, decreased consumer confidence and savvy consumers knowing that they can afford to be fickle. All these factors and more have eliminated even the slightest margin of error in your operations. It can feel as though every single sale is hard won and every single customer that doesn’t jump ship is a gift. But take heart! The current circumstances, while trying, needn’t be a death knell for your small business. You have the potential to bounce back harder and stronger than ever, with this adversity reforging you into something stronger, leaner, more efficient and more valuable to your consumer base.
You just have to focus your efforts on protecting the things that matter the most. Things like…
It may be your vision and leadership that make your business viable. But it’s your employees that make your business great. And in these uncertain times you need to ensure that they feel valued and protected. That doesn’t just mean keeping them safe. It means using employee recognition platforms to help them to feel engaged and valued at work. It means investing in an appropriate bonus / rewards scheme. It means allowing them to achieve their greater career goals with your brand. Because if they can’t, you could risk losing a talented member of your team to your competitors.
In many ways, your customers will judge your brand on the quality of the product you offer. Which means that it needs to be protected throughout every stage of its journey from the manufacturer to the customer. That means everything from investing in robust farm sheds if you make food products to partnering with a logistics company that provides full visibility over where and how your products are to ensuring that they are properly protected while on your premises.
It goes without saying that in these uncertain times, customers want the brands they do business with to make them feel safe. They need to be able to place their trust in you in every facet of your interactions. That means everything from ensuring that you are properly licensed and insured to responding promptly to queries on social media and ensuring that you have an infrastructure in place to make sure they feel protected on your premises.
Your intellectual property
Your ideas are as important to your brand as your product. And if you don’t take steps to protect your intellectual property, your competitors may try to pass your ideas off as their own. And proving that they’ve done this in court can be extremely difficult. This article from Forbes has some great advice about protecting your IP. If you thought that all you needed to do was file a patent, you may find that there’s a lot more to it.
Finally, your reputation is more important than ever. Maintaining it will be the key to your long term success and profitability in this difficult time. That means you can’t afford to let your standards slip as you pursue consistent operational excellence. Make sure you respond to complaints quickly and decisively, especially when they take place on social media. And make sure that you incentivize happy customers to become brand evangelists, alerting their friends, colleagues and family members to your presence.