COVID19 has left many businesses questioning whether their existing models are fit for purpose. As the health crisis continues and businesses begin to retool to adjust to the new normal – now is the perfect time to see how to shift gears and shape your business for the best possible future.
Testing the resilience of business owners
COVID-19 has tested the resilience of the nation’s small businesses. Many have been left in a place of uncertainty following mass restrictions and lockdowns. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed by almost 2.5 per cent following the outbreak, and Australia has entered its first recession in almost 30 years. However, it’s not all gloom and doom. As business begins to slowly open up once more, it’s important to take stock of the situation and plan ahead. Savvy business owners will look for opportunities to grow, pivot and find new ways to drive revenue.
While the coronavirus crisis took most Australians by surprise, many small business owners have been quick to adapt, heading online, adopting digital-first strategies, cutting costs and conserving cash to ensure they could survive. It’s important to realise however that cost-cutting alone often won’t be enough to see these businesses emerge stronger on the other side of the pandemic. Business owners need to consider how to reframe their value proposition to ensure they are pursuing new opportunities to keep relevant. So, what are the growth drivers and how can you identify the next steps for your business?
Start with your existing strategy
What are your business objectives? To understand this, you need to understand your priorities to ensure you have a clear picture of the who, the what and the why of your business. Have your priorities changed or been impacted by COVID-19? Perhaps your business has pivoted to continue to operate during the crisis – could this pivot be a long-term opportunity or point of future expansion? It’s important to focus on the priorities that will help drive your business forward.
Examine your cash flow
Update your current continuity plans and conservatively forecast your expected cash flow for the next three to six months. Small businesses have always borne the brunt of late payments and this trend has increased since COVID. Pour over your books, examine your outstanding invoice and get a real time picture of your accounts.
“Late payments from customers can impact your day-to-day operations and prevent you from taking on new opportunities, so it’s important to be proactive in examining your cash flow situation,” says Peter Langham, CEO, Scottish Pacific.
Chase your debts
Speak to your clients and get them to commit to paying your invoices on time. Consider offering discounted terms for early payment. It might be time to consider an invoice finance facility as a cash flow solution. This can give you the capital you need to grow your business and set you up for success in the future.
“Invoice Finance can help you turn your unpaid or outstanding customer invoices into a source of readily available funding to increase cash flow, cover new opportunities or costs such as wages and stock,” Langham adds.
Look for growth opportunities
Look for opportunities to grow your business with existing clients. How has COVID-19 changed your value proposition? What costs are you able to cut to redirect funds toward business growth? How can you manage and contain costs now to plan for future growth? Have a frank conversation with your suppliers and talk to them about ongoing supply and payment terms. Investigate alternative supply chains to ensure you are getting the best deal possible. Talk to all your customers now. Make sure they are aware that you are still in business and ready to meet their needs.
Get your staff on board
Your business is only as good as your staff – if your staff aren’t on board with new ways of operating then you will struggle to grow. Make sure to take your staff on the journey with you. Explain what has changed/will change and what your plans are for the future. Reiterate the commercial opportunities you need your staff to prioritise. To achieve your goal, how can you reinvigorate and reinvestigate your team’s service, sales and marketing skills? What do you need to make sure your staff can meet theses goal? Is it new tech, training, extra resources?
There is no denying the coronavirus crisis has disrupted businesses all over Australia. Yet some forward-thinking on how your business can continue successfully post-pandemic could turn that disruption into an opportunity.
For more information or for help with reshaping your business and accessing the working capital needed to do so, call Scottish Pacific today on 1300 123 063, or find out more on their website.
This article was first published on Small Business First. You can see the original content here.