The new normal.
It’s a phrase we’ve been hearing for nearly a year, generally referring to how we must adapt and adjust to changing safety protocols, shopping habits, work and school environments and more as we navigate our daily lives in a pandemic.
The new normal has also applied to small business leaders as they’ve adapted their operating models to meet changing customer needs and safety regulations. In fact, a fall 2020 WSFS Bank survey found that a majority of businesses (88%) changed the way they operated in response to the pandemic, and nearly all of them (89%) are likely to retain their new operating models.
But for many small businesses, the new normal will be so much more.
Business leaders will be operating in a new economy that will bring its share of opportunities and challenges. Some business owners may not want to push forward and choose to enact their exit strategy, while others will continue to blaze a new path for their business.
Regardless, change will be required. Here’s how you can begin to plan for your business’ future in a new economy.
Have a Startup Mentality
While it’s not time to completely go back to the drawing board and disrupt how you run your business, look at every aspect of your business like you are first starting out.
Now is the time to be innovative and creative in your approach to delivery of products and services, what you offer, how you can interact with customers long term, and how you can leverage vendor, banking and other relationships to emerge from the pandemic primed for sustained success.
This is a great time to flex your entrepreneurial muscles.
Diversify Your Business
Even after we emerge from the pandemic, new habits and ways of going about our daily personal and professional lives will be lasting.
As a small business owner, you will need to pay attention to and adapt to customer behaviors. More than half (54%) of the businesses surveyed by WSFS said they had experienced growth during the pandemic, with four in 10 (42%) citing “paying attention to my customers” as the primary driver.
Consumer and B2B customers alike are now accustomed to a new way to engage with your business and buy your products and services; these habits will likely continue to some degree well into the future.
Look for new revenue streams for your business as well. Have you had great success expanding your business’ reach via social media during the pandemic? Host virtual workshops for other small business leaders to help them learn the ropes, all while generating leads, potential partnership opportunities or new clients.
Collaborate Within Your Community
Even if your business has been able to sustain itself or thrive during the pandemic, other businesses and industries have not been as fortunate.
Now is the time to take what you have learned and help fellow businesses, helping to bring along those who were left behind as you innovate and create new ways to operate, develop relationships and strengthen your role in your community and industry.
A great way to do this is partnering with other local small businesses to offer packages with unique offerings to customers. Use themes for the packages that appeal to consumers, such as holiday packages and seasonal items.
In the long run, everyone will be stronger for it. You can help lead the way.
Use these approaches, and others that are specific to your business, to develop a strong strategic plan now so you are prepared for a post-pandemic economy built on new consumer spending habits, continued use of technology platforms, and visionary approaches to small business operations and revenue streams.
Helping you boost your financial intelligence.
Read our financial resources from your friends at WSFS.