This Year, Look at Your Small Business Checkup Through a Different Lens
running-a-business | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Candice Caruso | Published: January 2021
In a year of constant change, one thing remains the same for your small business: it’s time to assess your business’s successes and opportunities heading into 2021.
This year, it’s more important than ever to look at your business a bit differently. A recent WSFS Bank Business Survey revealed that 88% of businesses made changes to how they operate due to COVID-19, and many business leaders feel these changes will help them navigate 2021 and beyond.
With a second wave of the pandemic upon us, here are actions you could take for your small business as you prepare for 2021.
Evaluate Operational Efficiencies
If your business underwent a transformation during the first COVID-19 wave, whether minor or a significant pivot to new products, services or distribution, take a hard look at how these changes can contribute to the long-term health of your business.
Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of businesses surveyed by WSFS plan to keep their operational changes in place. Now is a great time to determine if your business should do the same.
Make Your Accounts Payables Work for You
Do your vendors accept credit card payments? If so, using a business cash back credit card can help add to your cash flow while paying bills–and paying them off every month if you can.
Review Vendor Relationships
Is there wiggle room in what you are paying vendors for products and services? How about utilities? Research competing vendors’ pricing and if there are cheaper options, see if you can negotiate lower pricing, and investigate lower delivery charges for utilities, such as electric.
Nearly half (49%) of businesses surveyed by WSFS said lowering their operating costs contributed to growth during the first wave of the pandemic.
Look for Funding Options
Speak with your SBA-preferred lender about loans that can benefit your business, such as SBA 7(a) and SBA 7(a) Express loans and traditional loans that support to small businesses. Your bank can help you determine the best options for your needs.
Another great resource is your local small business development center. Many of these organizations have funding programs through micro-loans and grants designed to support small business growth in their communities.
Review Your Pricing
Have changes to your operations provided more convenience to your customers, but may have increased your expenses? Evaluate whether your business should alter pricing to meet needed margins, or if there are opportunities to keep costs down.
Boost Your Online Presence
The pandemic has brought an increase in online sales, including for local small businesses that have online stores or can provide services virtually. Make sure your customers can easily find what they need when visiting your website, make check-out as easy as possible, and make sure your security certificates and other security measures are up to date.
Be More Social
Many small businesses have taken to social media to communicate with customers considering reduced foot traffic in brick and mortar locations or social distancing guidelines making in-person meetings difficult. Still, the WSFS survey found that one quarter (26%) of businesses cited connecting with customers as a significant challenge during the pandemic.
Update your business’s social media profiles, post regularly, join local Facebook groups to “fish where the fish are” and offer special deals and coupon codes to stay connected with customers and boost sales.
Taking these steps to assess your business’s needs in 2021 can not only help prepare you for short term uncertainty but also set up long term flexibility to keep your business on solid financial footing.
About the Author – Candice Caruso
Candice Caruso is Senior Vice President, Director of Government Guaranteed Lending at WSFS Bank. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 12 years as a business funding expert, and has been featured on Bloomberg Radio, CNBC’s Closing Bell, The Wall Street Journal and Franchising World.
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