During these tough times, many businesses are being forced to either close temporarily, or slow down. This provides a terrific, unexpected opportunity for business owners to help refine current operations, allowing for improvement both now and in the future. Here are our top 6 tips to best utilise the extra time you now have and work on your business:
1. Improve Processes
Take a step back and look at your business from the outside. How do others see it? How do customers interact with you? What can be improved on? For a café this could be the menu design or contents, the ordering process, how the kitchen receives food orders or how they are delivered. A tradie may consider the way their clients contact them, the effectiveness of their invoice process or the maintenance schedule for their tools.
2. Update Technology
Have you moved everything possible to the cloud yet? A large number of back office business operations are able to function smoothly through a crisis when they have been well-connected with cloud systems. Is your business using a cloud accounting system? Now is a good time to review what is in the market that could work best for you. Xero has been the recent favourite choice for cloud accounting systems, but MYOB’s New Essentials is impressive and certainly worth considering.
3. Implement Efficiency Tools
Many specialised tools have been created to make life easier for small businesses. Do some research during this time and see what might apply to you. Do you receive invoices? Make the switch to e-Invoicing to improve accuracy and reduce the time spent on tedious processing. Select a simple free option such as Link4 to try out with your current accounting system. Also, make sure you use an e-Invoicing service that supports sending invoices too, that way you can get paid much faster and increase your cash flow.
4. Sustain Communications
Use this time to maintain strong relationships with your trading partners – suppliers and customers. Get in touch with them; see how they are coping through the crisis. Offer genuine assistance where possible. Strengthen these connections now and the rewards will come as everything frees up again.
5. Build Marketing Plans
Work on a marketing plan, while you have time. How will you get back to full speed after the crisis? How does your website look? Now is a great time to refresh it so it reflects where your current business is at. What special offers can you provide? Brainstorm future online campaigns: Instagram promotions, live videos, new platforms to get involved in. Use online resources to create content, create schedules, and centralise your messaging. There are so many free or cost effective marketing options out there. Discover, and begin to implement, what is right for your business.
6. Rewards Programs
Australian’s are great at supporting businesses when they need help. It is an important part of our culture. We will be there for each other as we come out of this. But all of us will be coming out of it at the same time, so how does your business capture the generosity and support of Australians? Return the favour! Be generous to them. Does your business have a rewards program for customers? Now might be the time to review it or put one in place so you can thank your loyal group of supporters when times improve.
We do live in unusual times, but it’s a chance to take a breath and use the slower period to our advantage. Apply these business improvements today, and your business can be ready for a much stronger future.