As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, business and workplace culture can change instantly with regards to working, networking, and keeping your business afloat. 'Unprecedented circumstances' was the chosen buzzword for 2020 and with it a complete shake-up to how small businesses operate.
It's imperative to make sure your small business has a way of keeping up with changing times and to future-proof your organisation.
1. Keep up with your sector
Your small business is your sector, ensure you understand and keep up with regulatory changes, new competition and industry practices. Don't be ignorant about wider-scale issues and trends that could impact your industry, which could affect how you operate. For example, if your business is situated around telecoms make sure you're always checking Ofcom and attend networking events to work out best practices.
This will allow you to always stay ahead in case of changes to your products and customer protections in place.
2. Understanding your industry pricing.
Next, make sure you understand your industry pricing this could make a huge difference in securing customers and clients. By doing your research and competitor analysis you can ensure your small business always has a better and cheaper price compared to others. Making sure your business stays at the forefront of your target market. There are tons of advantages of doing this such as when industry regulations do eventually force you to hike your price you'll still be the cheapest option.
3. Find your niche
Find your niche and stick to it, this is important in terms of communication and marketing. It's imperative that your small business is seen as the expert in your field and that everyone knows it, especially when showcasing influence and knowledge. This can help future-proof your business by being known as the number #1 in your field.
4. Never stop your marketing efforts.
Marketing should still be at the forefront of your small business efforts, this can include paid ads, content management and organic search. It's important to always check the level of influence your small business has across your industry and by monitoring you have the best chance of staying at the top. Never be complacent in this and always keep your visibility amongst your competitors using landing pages, social media and Google ads. The key part of running a business is to ensure that sale leads are always coming in so you can stick above your bread line.
5.Own your company culture
A big part of a small business is your employees who are the face and bread and butter of your organisation it's important to always manage and keep your company culture positive. For example, flexible working, out of work socials, bi-weekly retrospectives and group chats across the company. All of this helps your employees stay connected and committed to supporting each other when it comes to bad reviews or a run-in with an upset customer. Develop a company culture that best suits your business and team so that your employees will always do their best for your organisation.
6. Get a great team in place.
Moving on from our previous point ensure your employing people who are the right fit for your company. Getting this right from the get-go will ensure that productivity metrics are met and your organisation will be filled with like-minded individuals who have the company goals at heart. Taking on staff who are not the right fit for your company can be costly and time-consuming. It's important to have practices in place where you can easily identify these people such as interviews with the CEO, personality tests and also trial days. Take your time to find the best candidates and surround yourself with trustworthy staff who have their own autonomy.
7. Invest in a hosted phone system.
Finally, a hosted phone system can also future-proof your small business. With, traditional lines phasing out it's important to have a reliable business phone line. A hosted phone system means you're able to keep your phone number consistent, work remotely and set your business hours. Having all this will add greater structure to your organisation and ensure you keep the same shape everywhere.
From the points above, it's safe to say that a key part of keeping your small business future-proof is internal factors such as employees, company culture and marketing. However, it's also important to ensure that you are well aware of industry changes and prices to ensure this never catches you off guard.
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