Running your own business is a lot of work. No question. From late night inventory counts, to early morning deliveries, not to mention all the staff management and paperwork that goes on behind the scenes—as a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate.
When the future is uncertain, the road forward can feel even more daunting. The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit small businesses hard, forcing temporary closures, new safety procedures, and limited in-person guest capacities.
Despite the numerous adversities small business owners are facing, they remain some of the most resilient groups of people in America, adapting to whatever is thrown their way and getting creative to stay successful. You’re likely getting tired of people throwing ideas of ways to get some extra business capital at you—and don’t get us wrong, that’s important—but there are other ways to stay successful, aside from lending options.
Whether you’re a veteran entrepreneur, or just started your own endeavor, you can likely pinpoint a few things you could improve to help you become a better business owner—turbulent times aside. Read on for five things business owners can do to stay successful and forward looking in these uncertain times.
1. Stay Focused on the Big Picture
Every business owner wears a lot of hats, but none more so than the small business owner who is personally responsible for at least 4.2 different roles within the organization. The most successful small business owners are able to complete day-to-day tasks while maintaining focus on long term goals. Whether that’s remembering to keep track of food waste costs while still perfecting your new dish or remembering to file payroll while designing the latest fashion—keeping the big picture top of mind while meeting short term objectives will keep your business moving forward. Even if the near future looks a little different than it normally would, try not to get stuck worrying about tomorrow. Focus on your long-term goals and keep pushing towards them—it’s one of the easiest ways to keep moving forward.
2. Build Your Network
No matter how niche your business is—find a network. Networking is a great way to generate new business and grow your business’s audience. Whether it’s your food services contact, accountant, or another small business owner in your area, increasing the number of people who have a stake in your business will not only positively impact your bottom line, but will allow you stay up-to-date on emerging trends, money saving techniques, and other tips. Check to see if your community has a local business association, a local chamber of commerce, or an industry-specific organization to help you stay involved in the local business community.
Find out how other small business owners in your community are staying nimble during COVID-19 and consider creating special promotions that cross promote your businesses. Facebook is a great place to connect virtually with small business owners in your community who might have tips and tricks for getting through this.
3. Delegate, Trust, and Retain Your Employees
There’s a lot you can do as a business owner—but you can’t do everything. Working with a team that you trust and can delegate to is crucial to running a successful small business, especially when operations look a bit different than usual. A recent study found that business owners who successfully delegated work saw a 112 percent higher three-year return rate as opposed to those who didn’t. As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to relinquish total control over the business you worked hard to build—but an important step in growing your business is expanding your team. With workers putting their health at risk during the pandemic, protecting your employees should also be a top priority. From proper social distancing, to face coverings, and extra cleaning protocol, take the time to show your staff you value them and implement procedures to keep them safe.
4. Get Savvy About Online Marketing Efforts
If your brick and mortar location isn’t operating at full capacity, taking your business online is critical. One of the easiest and cheapest ways for independent business owners to market and grow their business is by building an online presence—whether through social media, a website, or other online marketing avenues.
Studies show that 70-80 percent of people research a company online before visiting the business or making a purchase with them, so it’s important for your business to be accurately represented online. Don’t rely on third parties to provide accurate information about your business—create a professional looking website that describes what your business does, how to contact you, and if possible—start selling online. With the future uncertain, prepare for potential closures by ensuring you have a robust website.
With or without a website, you can grow your business with social media. 75 percent of small business owners say that social media has increased traffic—if your business isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, join today. Your social media pages don’t need to be groundbreaking, simply keep your audience connected with your business by sharing updates, news, promotions, specials, and COVID-19 updates.
5. Remain Passionate About Your Business
No matter how grueling the work may be, and how stressful the past few months have been, the very best business owners stay passionate and excited about what they do. When a business owner is enthusiastic and driven about their entrepreneurial endeavors, it permeates to the entire organization, creating a more welcoming and positive environment for both customers and staff. Entrepreneurs who convey passion about their business have more income, sales revenue, and growth in sales and earnings compared with entrepreneurs who are less passionate. Patrons are eager to support your business right now—show how much you appreciate that support.
Being an entrepreneur is exciting yet challenging, and at Beyond, we believe in giving you the tools to help your business thrive and grow. From payroll to workforce management, our integrated suite of business solutions can help drive your business forward and stay successful during challenging times.