As the owner of a Small to Medium Sized Business, you probably feel as though you’re dangling over a precipice hanging on by your fingernails. The slightest false move and it may feel like your business could plummet into a void of insolvency which will inevitably mean facing bankruptcy and having to pull down the shutters for the last time. But hang on in there! There is light at the end of the tunnel for SMBs. You will likely have to wait a long time until things to return to normalcy. You can expect social distancing to be the norm for the next few months at least. Possibly even until next year. Nonetheless, the gears of commerce are groaning back to life once more, even if it’ll take a while for them to to resume their former speed.
You’ve spent enough time reacting over the past couple of months. It’s time to get proactive! It’s time to start setting some post-coronavirus business goals and establishing an infrastructure to help you to achieve them.
Keep it SMART
Your goals will be as unique as your business itself. Whatever you want to achieve, however, it’s important to ensure that you set SMART goals. You’re probably already more than familiar with SMART goals. However, just in case, SMART means;
Avoid ague goals like “make more money” or “increase profits”
By what metrics will you be able to track your goals?
By all means be ambitious. But don’t set yourself up for failure.
Don’t set goals just because they look good. Make sure they’re relevant to your business’ needs and priorities.
Have a specific timeframe in mind by which you want to have achieved your goals.
While you likely already have some ideas for SMART goals in mind, here are some to get you started if you find that you need a little extra inspiration…
Keep a clear eye on your margin by investing in Business intelligence
You understand the importance of keeping a close eye on your performance metrics. However, no matter how much data you have access to, it’s important to know which metrics are your higher priorities at an organizational level and which are better left for departmental managers to handle.
No metric should be a higher priority than your margin.
It’s the one metric to rule them all.
Every other metric should be viewed through the lens of how it ties into your margin. If your business isn’t turning a profit, it doesn’t matter how well you’re keeping on top of smaller metrics.
It’s fine if your business is turning a small profit, or even no profit at all, as long as you have your sights set on profitability. Amazon has famously played the ultimate long game when it comes to profits, investing heavily in establishing a strong and diverse infrastructure. As such while it didn’t achieve a margin of over 2% for several years prior to 2018, the ecommerce giant’s profits took off in a big way thereafter.
In the era of Big Data, it’s all too common for individual departments to become self-contained data silos keeping an eye on their own metrics with no idea how profitable the organization is as a whole. Investing in the right Business Intelligence software can help you to make sense of your data and share it at a departmental level so everyone’s on the same page.
Reduce overhead costs
When it comes to margin, one of the surest ways you can keep your business profitable is by reducing your overhead costs. Of course, that doesn’t mean under-investing at the expense of your long term profits, but it does mean keeping on top of wasteful spending and taking advantage of opportunities to reduce overheads.
For instance, even if your employees are ready to return to the workplace, you should still consider the viability of allowing at least some of your team to work remotely. The fewer employees you have under one roof the less energy and consumables you’re using.
Make your business greener
Maintaining remote working for some employees can also mean that your business generates less emissions by sparing them the need to commute to you regularly. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are all kinds of ways in which you can make your business greener and more sustainable. Here are 10 to get you started.
Many of them will also save you money, too. In an age where consumers are more aware than ever of the impact their purchases have on the environment many (especially younger consumers) are more likely to do business with brands that have a strong focus on sustainability and social / environmental responsibility.
Improve your network infrastructure
In the 2020s, every business is a tech business to some extent or another. You likely couldn’t do what you do without your network infrastructure, whether your employees are on-site or not. A cyber security engineer can ensure that your network is free of vulnerabilities which can be exploited by opportunistic criminals in these times of crisis. Wondering what a cyber security engineer is? These skilled professionals can protect your network from security vulnerabilities both on-site and in the cloud. Never make the mistake of assuming that your business is too small to escape the notice of cyber criminals.
Leverage promo codes to re-engage your audience
At a time when consumer confidence is at an all-time low, your customers may need some coaxing out of their shells in order to return to you at the expense of your competitors. Make single-use unique promo codes part of your engagement strategy.
Conventional promotional codes can be spammed and misused. Unique, single-use codes, however, can be leveraged to give lapsed and loyal customers unique promotions based on their previous interactions with your brand.
These can help to shake sales out of their slump and reaffirm your customers’ faith in your brand. Your customers may be feeling financially vulnerable right now. Giving them access to great promotions can show them that you’re on their side.