As we begin to emerge from self-isolation, businesses must start to think about adapting to changes in consumer behavior to survive in a post-COVID world. This is where we have the advantage due to our ability to be nimble, flexible, and dynamic with our business model.
Adapting your business, taking a pivot in a new direction or expanding what you already know to an online audience are some of the most common paths our Flying Solo community have taken in response to COVID-19.
While changes to your business may have to happen quickly, the planning phase is equally important. With that in mind here are four key steps to consider to assist with your business pivot.
Understand your audience
Before COVID-19 hit, you may have had a good grasp on who your customers are under “normal” conditions. However, the pandemic has unequivocally shifted consumer behaviour and spending. As a result businesses must review and reconsider what your customers’ main needs and wants are to create a business solution that meets their needs.
One way to gather this valuable intel is to go out there and speak to people. Send a short survey or post a poll on your social media channel asking how your customers’ habits have changed. Similarly, if you haven’t already started your business, seeking feedback from family and friends is a simple way to garner insights before you take the leap and invest in change.
Identify new distribution channels
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on many small businesses and has forced some to change the way they operate.
Businesses in the hospitality, arts and manufacturing industries have been some of the worst hit. However for some the challenges caused by the pandemic has opened up opportunities in new places. For example, the demand for online business has never been higher, which is largely due to lock down measures and social distancing.
During these unprecedented times, we’ve seen restaurants digitise to offer takeaway services and fitness companies offering classes via Zoom as a way to keep their customers engaged and attract new prospects.
By evolving your business and responding to consumer behaviour, you can begin to identify new revenue opportunities which is essential to maintaining a healthy cash flow.
Waste not, want not
You may be considering adapting your product to meet customer demand but that doesn’t mean you can’t make use of resources that are already available to you.
After all, innovation is the key to success and in cash-strapped COVID-19 times, making use of all available inventory could be a way for you to expand your business offering.
A great example of an industry doing this successfully and effectively is distilleries repurposing to make hand sanitizer. We’ve also seen fashion labels like Nobody Denim produce medical scrubs in order to protect the essential workers fighting COVID-19.
Boost your business confidence with a finance kick
If money is tight right now, it can make backing your new business idea a little scary. Speak with your bank or financial advisor and find out how they can support you through this change including potentially access to loans.
You may also want to consider applying for grant programs such as St.George Kick Start which provides a chance to win a share of a $100,000 cash pool prize to get a much needed cash injection and reshape your business for the ‘new norm’.