The past year was one of the most challenging and tumultuous periods we got to experience. The COVID-19 pandemic changed multiple aspects of our life, including the way we do business. Consumer behavior changed; businesses were forced to go through unplanned transformations such as remote working, unplanned furloughs, and layoffs, or worse, company closures.
When you add an ongoing global health crisis to the list as well, you’ll start to understand why 2020 had a drastic impact on employee productivity, business activities, and sales.
In this situation, businesses have two options: either continue with their past approach and hope for the best, or take a step back, reconsider their options, and get ready to leave 2020 behind. We believe the second option will help companies the most, as it gets more and more obvious that we are heading towards a new normal, where past approaches don’t seem to work anymore.
If entrepreneurs want to see their businesses recover and head towards success in the following year, they need to get ready for the challenges that may come. Consider the following strategies to help you achieve your goals.
React to the changes that happen in your business
Change is inevitable, even with no pandemic around, but it becomes that much more difficult to deal with when you are caught unprepared. The past year was full of changes that happened at a rapid pace, so it is only natural to feel a bit intimidated.
If you start observing that client behavior has changed and the old ways of keeping them content is not working anymore, it’s time to react. Don’t wait around hoping for things to go back to how they used to be because there is a high chance it won’t happen.
One of the best methods to tackle change is by implementing a strategic plan that is focused on remaining productive and competitive even when things don’t go the way they should. As you start working on this plan, ask yourself one main question: What big disruption would cause your business to change, and how can you be ahead of the situation?
Understand and prioritize consumer needs
Consumer behavior is bound to change from time to time. Usually, these changes are pretty easy to predict, as they happen gradually, so businesses have plenty of time to adapt to them. However, when these changes happen rapidly and in an unnatural way, entrepreneurs will face quite a challenge trying to understand the needs and wants of their customers.
There is no better strategy here than to communicate openly with your clients and find out how their needs have changed. This conversation will help you spot new opportunities and understand what can be done to keep your business flourishing. A simple question at the end of a client call, asking them how they are handling the situation, is sometimes enough to give you a direction.
Instead of working hard, learn how to work smart
We are often told we need to work hard if we want to succeed, but this is quite an old-fashioned statement. When an array of tools and technologies that can help us better manage a business are available at our fingertips, why not use them?
Working smart revolves around leveraging all the resources you have to simplify your business processes and promote productivity. No one likes to do dreadful, repetitive tasks that could be performed faster and better with the use of automation. This will free up your team’s time and allow them to focus on the tasks that really matter.
Business managers can keep better track of employee productivity and client bills with the use of a great app for timesheets and expenses. This allows them to manage projects, bill clients, and pay their workers in a fair and easy way.
Profit matters, but it’s not the only thing
Many entrepreneurs see profit as a sure way of telling how their business is doing. But while profit is important, it is not the only thing that determines success. Success is a reward of hard work, and profit follows, not the other way around. Your company will need to do much more than making money if you are aiming for long-term success.
According to a 2018 report, 78% of consumers believe businesses should have a positive impact on society and improve their community, not just make profits. Doing good for the community and making money should not exclude each other but should be prioritized differently. Having a positive social impact on the world around you will prompt clients to support you, and profits will follow.
Be a leader, not a strict ruler
One of the biggest challenges an entrepreneur will face is managing to be a good and fair leader instead of a demanding boss. Here, the challenge comes from the fact that, often, the line is so fine that it can easily be crossed without you even realizing it. After all, it is your business, and you want everyone to treat it with the same level of respect and dedication you do.
This period of change is a great moment to show your leadership skills and lead your team towards success. Seeing they are guided by someone who is not afraid of challenges and works proactively to react to them will breathe some confidence into your team. It will reassure them that, even though tougher times are coming, you can navigate past them.
Put the emphasis on quality, not quantity
Consumer demand is taking a plunge as customers reassess their needs and focus on the things that truly matter. During these times, quality is more important than quantity, and you should start taking this approach. Don’t pressure your employees to do more, but rather do better.
Take this time to focus on the quality of your products or services and find ways to improve it when necessary. Encourage your team to brainstorm and find new methods to improve their results without having to necessarily work longer hours or give up on well-deserved breaks.