For most companies, 2020 has been a very challenging year. It has meant substantial changes, whether as a result of unparalleled growth opportunities for those in the lucky sectors, or unexpected challenges for those affected negatively by COVID 19. As a Haywards Heath business coach, I’ve got some opinions about that which I will share here.
The economy is now officially in recession, and many business owners are looking ahead at how to manage the tougher business situation in a way that still generates positive results.
One Haywards Heath business coach shares his top tips for thriving into 2021 and beyond
Charles Darwin is often quoted as saying, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Never has that been truer than right now.
The effects of Governmental control during 2020, the lockdown, and all the other adjustments forced upon the working world are immense.
Some have already been experienced, some are in the imminent future, and some are coming up within the next year.
Whatever business you are in, it has been ‘interesting times’ and continues to be so.
What are the key issues for SMEs right now?
There is no doubt that the marketplace has slowed for many sectors, and others have been restricted in their operational scope.
For most independent SMEs that fall outside of the hospitality or retail environments where this is very apparently impacting, there has been a period of both ups and downs.
The biggest problem is lack of confidence. The whole marketplace is depressed not just by the structure of Covid restrictions, but also by the mindset of business owners. There is a caution apparent in every action, and a mindset of ‘protect what you have’ that is limiting ambition or the trialling of different approaches for any that aren’t forced into it by immediate need.
This is problematic for a number of reasons, and the easiest example to reference is the stockpiling of toilet rolls. When the lockdown was first announced, many people, including many normally highly rational and considerate people acted irrationally. They went into a rationing mentality that did not just involve personal protection and selfishness, but also impacted the others who just wanted to get on as normal in a negative way.
Within the business environment right now we are still seeing these character traits appearing. Suppliers are reducing terms and credit levels, customers are demanding greater guarantees, and the businesses in the middle are feeling the squeeze. They are then limiting their operations, and hesitating on the making of positive decisions elsewhere.
How can you develop a healthy attitude to making relevant changes?
As you plan the future of your business (and I do hope you are planning – the world is changing around you!) it’s important to take a considered approach. Here are some tips to help you do that:
Review and refine your business model
Whilst some companies are making wholesale changes to their operating approach (e.g. restaurants moving to delivery only, and office workers moving to remote working long term), most don’t need to make totally drastic adjustments to become ‘better’.
Equally, a stubborn mindset to making changes in case the situation reverses within a medium-term is also shutting off the opportunities available. The reality is that very few industries and companies are totally unaffected by the situation, and almost all will benefit from making some tweaks to ‘tack into the prevailing wind’.
To review your business model, you need to assess the situation across a number of factors. These include:
- The current demands and requirements of current clients and others who you can serve.
- The existing skill-set of your people, and the adaptability of your working set up.
- The current and potential service and product lines that you can offer (and fulfill) upon.
- The availability of cash, and the commitment of resources.
- The marketing and sales capability you have.
Challenge your mindset
Research the marketplace, client situations, competitor actions, and expectations for your industry. Approach this with a positive mindset, as if you were a startup with some capital available, and the option to do anything you want.
Take a look for others who are pioneering in their field. Who is shaking up the system and proving successful? Is this a path for which you can be an early adopter (either of an adapted approach, or into a new market, or in the provision of a new service or product).
I would not recommend a new service AND a new market as the risk factors increase substantially in that arrangement.
Write a new plan
If your current business plan either doesn’t exist or is no longer viable, then write a new one and go after it.
Things have changed…and you need to as well.
Your plan should include a good level of detail on all the key elements, and in particular, should focus on the control and management of cash flow. There is no doubt that access to funding and credit moving forward is going to get harder, and better arguments and forecasting will be essential to winning a lending bid.
Where you require funding or have already borrowed (perhaps using the CBILS loans) it is vital that your financial projections take account of the repayments, as well as any increased overheads through a return to work for furloughed staff.
Target the 9 Profit Levers
There are 9 main methods of increasing your business profit, and these are explained within my most recent business ebook. It is free and can be downloaded from here.
Get some advice from an expert
Most business owners have been well trained for the job they have, and have become passable at running a business using the model applied to date. The reality, however, is that the majority of business owners have never really been trained in how to run a business efficiently and profitably, and almost none have been trained in the design of fresh business strategy.
Now, in most fields in life where we hope to achieve great results, it goes without saying that you’d seek out and expect to have sufficient training and guidance before ‘having a go’.
In the recognition that many business owners are learning as they go, and as a result, are achieving (or not) largely through trial and error of new approaches, it might be a good idea to seek out some expert advice at this critical time.
NOW is the best time to take on some personal development…not after it all calms down!
The author of this blog is Tim Rylatt, a multi-award winning business coach, with an office in Haywards Heath. He is the author of two books on business strategy, and as well as running his coaching practice, is also a shareholding director in two marketing agencies. As a coach, he is direct and works either face to face or online to help you define and execute meaningful action plans.
Working with a business coach gives you access to expertise that is complementary to your industry knowledge.
Together you will achieve more…as many successful businesses will attest to!
To book a FREE 90-minute business review or strategy session with Tim, call 07735 414185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To connect with Tim visit his LinkedIn profile here
If you’d like to check out available coaching services, you can find more information at UK Growth Coach – coaching services page
Hire a business coach = grow your business!