(BPT) - As the U.S. begins to reopen, many small business owners across the world are strategizing for the future and the new normal.
According to data recently published by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, more than 85% of U.S. small businesses have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
But still, we are starting to see glimpses of optimism. According to a recent survey, as businesses are slowly reopening, a majority of Americans are looking forward to supporting small businesses. The survey found that 75% of people plan to support local businesses as much as possible once physical restrictions are lifted in their communities.
“The last few months have had a dramatic impact on our business, but it also has shown how resilient we can be and given us the opportunity to help more people. When your business is purpose-driven and keeps customers top of mind, you can not only survive, you can thrive,” said Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO of Goodr.
Here are four steps businesses should focus on as the nation moves into its next economic phase.
Manage and motivate your people
As the world continues to shift and adapt, your employees will be looking to you to set optimal safety standards while keeping everyone safe, productive, and customer-focused. Help your employees stay connected to the vision of your company and practice radical transparency with them. Acknowledge how their contributions are helping your company to thrive, while being sensitive to the responsibilities they are juggling outside of work. Continue to reinforce company goals such as speed, accuracy, productivity, teamwork and commitment to customers, but also support employees and be flexible to their needs in this environment. Whether you’re helping customers or helping your employees, the more you can encourage others to stay connected and get the support they need, the more your business will thrive.
Prioritize customer service
Your customers will be wondering whether you’ll be able to maintain the same quality of service in light of all the economic disruption. Now is the time to do everything possible to foster their trust by maintaining high standards and meeting every commitment you can. At the same time, it’s important to be fully transparent if your company simply can’t function as it normally would. Fill customers in on what you’re doing to mitigate risk, support your staff, help your community and plan for the future.
Establish financial strength
Consistently take a hard look at your finances, evaluate the resources available, and determine what actions you need to take to keep your business solvent now and into the future. Do not make short term financial decisions — think of the long tail consequences. For example, look for smart financial options that offer zero or low interest rates and deferred payments.
Continue planning for the future
Never stop being proactive about planning for the future. Think about how your company will continue to function as the world moves into recovery and growth stages. Keep adjusting budgets and strategies as the economy evolves, trying to identify new industry opportunities and ways your firm can continue to grow and prosper.
A critical piece of a successful path forward for small businesses is technology. The small business advisors at Dell Technologies are partners who can recommend technologies that will help you lay the essential foundation your company needs to thrive in the coming months and years. We work closely with our customers to help them determine if strategic investments could help them reduce costs, solve business issues and drive growth.