5 Lessons Small Business Owners Can Take From COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread devastation throughout the globe, leaving numerous businesses struggling in its wake.
Many small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) have suffered especially, taking huge hits both in terms of staff and finances. From specialist cake shops who’ve had no choice but to offer home-delivery quarantine cupcakes to hairdressers who’ve simply had to sit and wait to reopen their doors, the world has been flipped upside down over recent months.
However, while it’s easy to look at the doom and gloom of the pandemic, what lessons can SME’s take from COVID-19? And how can they safeguard themselves in advance of a potential second wave?
This article will look to answer both these questions and more, highlighting what businesses can do to learn from the outbreak so that they can change their approach moving forward.
- Flexible Working Works.
While many businesses will have adopted a work from home arrangement already, gradually moving towards a more flexible working approach is a great idea from both a financial and productivity perspective.
Research has shown that working from home can actually increase staff productivity while also lowering the likelihood of generating mental health conditions. This is largely because the employees feel like they can have more control, utilising their time in a way that suits their personal life and daily activities.
Plus, since staff no longer need to come into an office environment as much as they used to, the potential savings businesses can make in terms of overhead costs is huge. This is something for SME’s to bear in mind moving forward, as setting up a more flexible working arrangement could pay dividends not only now but in the future as well.
- The Cloud Is Essential.
This may seem like a no-brainer in today’s technology-obsessed society but the COVID-19 pandemic has rubber-stamped the importance of cloud computing in the workplace.
Since employees won’t have been able to access the main server available in the office, they will have instead had to rely on accessing work-related tools, software, applications and documents through an online alternative.
This is something SME’s business owners will need to learn from over the coming months. To combat the threat of a second lockdown, businesses will now need to alter their approach to make working processes available online, rather than physically.
- Social Can Make All The Difference.
Many SME business owners will have had no choice but to turn to social media over recent months, utilising paid search campaigns and marketing tools to stay relevant and in the mind of their target consumer.
As a result of this, social media has demonstrated just how powerful it can be when it comes to both reaching new customers and keeping an internal workforce motivated to work.
Since many processes and procedures have recently had to change towards operating online, a large number of businesses are now becoming increasingly reliant on internal social messaging platforms like Slack, Zoom and Whereby to create a scalable unified platform in the workplace.
This is something that should be encouraged as we head back to normality – a social solution designed to support collaboration and communication across teams, departments or even countries.
- You Can Never Over-Prepare.
Nobody could have seen this crisis coming. Many business owners will have been hurt by it, putting years of work building up to something in the gutter, but it’s important to remember that everyone, everywhere was affected by it. Therefore, as hard as it may be to do, it’s important for business owners to not get too hung up on what they’ve lost.
It’s also important for businesses to prepare themselves in case it happens again. While nobody likes emergency planning, scrambling to tally their numbers for a loan application or having to let staff members go, the more prepared a business can be in advance, the better equipped they’ll be to deal with another potential disaster down the line.
- Things Will Get Better.
Everything may seem pretty bleak right now but, with time, they will get better.
Just look at any other major disaster over the years. Whether it be the Great Depression, World War II or 9/11, the world eventually found a way to recover from the trauma and financial impact caused.
With this in mind, positivity is absolutely vital. Businesses will crumble if they come out of this pandemic thinking pessimistically – only those with the strength to hold their head up in face of adversity will be left standing in the end.