The reality is that the business environment can be very fluid. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have meaningful sustainable business expansion.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be flexible when planning and also nimble enough to change plans when circumstances require.
Take advantage of the disruptions to re-evaluate your original business strategy and make adjustments to the new normal.
1. Organisational Audit – Complete Strategic Review
There is no use panicking in the face of uncertainty. Delve into deep into your business and have a keen understanding.
Don’t just look at your weaknesses and the threats in the economy. Also, identify your strengths and potential opportunities.
Be aware of the comparative advantages you have over your competition and exploit your potential.
As a leader, involve everyone in your team. They are the ones who have experience on the ground. Have them brainstorm.
Perhaps things can be done in a more efficient manner or new tasks and methods can be employed. Listen to their opinions and hear them out.
Your analysis should pinpoint areas where your business is struggling. It will also allow you to explore areas that could be extremely lucrative.
Remember, major disruption creates vast opportunities too!
Seeking the opinions of employees who are on ground could give you great returns.
2. The Only Certainty Is Uncertainty
The year ahead will guarantee one thing – life from now on will not be like before the pandemic.
If you can’t embrace this fact, your competition definitely will.
Lifestyles and work have changed. Work from home has become widespread but people are still adjusting to it.
The way people work and play will never be the same again. Can your business take advantage of this?
For example, ecommerce businesses that have been focused on selling furniture for home workstations have been doing well. Similarly, communication software like Zoom have been making a killing during these times.
3. Customer-Centricity – Make a plan to serve customers better
Any relevant strategy for sustainable growth and success is focused on solving the problems or needs of the customers, the consumers, the patients or whomever benefits from the output.
Building a strong relationship with them, providing an exceptional customer-centric experience for them, will inevitably lead to sustainable growth and success.
It doesn’t matter how big or how successful you become if you lose touch with your customers. You may think you’re successful because of the profits you’re making but, if your customers are no longer happy, then you’re only fooling yourself.
What you think is success may be a fleeting moment in time, and if that’s the case, you could be missing out on long term success.
Therefore, it is important for you to plan a strategy that allows you to focus on delighting both your new and existing clients.
4. Stay Tuned To Opportunities, Threats & Trends
Trends can be positive or negative for your business.
Keep tract of local news and consumer trends. With the world trying to find its new equilibrium, there will be early warning signs of both.
Rising community infections could signal when the next lock down will be.
Have your Plan B ready and execute it when the time arises.
Keep your inventory low. Hording large amount of stock is highly risky when you do not know what the situation will be in a few weeks time. This is especially true if your product has a close use by date.
5. Brand Loyalty – Create Connections
Your customer is King.
Remind your customers that they are special to you – that yours is not a purely profit driven company.
Let them know you care.
Send them a thank you note for their support during these difficult times. Send them thoughtful gifts that will make this time easier for them.
Your customers will love the personal touch and be remember to your brand.
Do not forget your suppliers and other external partners. They support your business but they too are suffering as the economy resets itself.
As conditions have changed, many contracts would be outdated. Renegotiate the terms for mutual betterment.
Show kindness and work to help them sustain their businesses. They will reciprocate and do the same for you.
Building good relationships with your customers and partners will sustain your business and build brand recognition and loyalty.
6. Appreciate & Engage Your Team
Growth strategies can be invigorating or debilitating. You have to keep your eyes wide open when you are strategizing and you cannot allow yourself to lose sight of the team buy-in.
Growth requires everyone to be on board and that means you have to ignite their passion for the cause. Meaningful communication and constant reassurance are keys to success.
Your staff is the backbone of your business. They support your entire setup.
Understand that they too are undergoing huge mental and emotional stress during these times of major adjustments. Be supportive.
Show appreciation and they will invest more in their tasks and your business.
Share your plans. Some might prefer routine over disruption but being able to anticipate what is coming will prevent the stress and shock of sudden change.
Preparation is crucial. Otherwise, you will run the risk of disorienting your team.
If business is war, you want to keep the focus, drive, morale and unity in your soldiers.
When you do so, they will fight for your sustainable business expansion and market dominance.
7. Partnership, Collaboration and Community
There is no downside to outsourcing everything except your time and energy. If you are not willing to outsource various aspects of your business, you will end up trading your life for your business.
If you are actively seeking to grow your business or enhance your life, there is virtually no limit to the amount of value you can obtain by making smart strategic choices about where you invest your time, energy and money.
There are now dozens of websites and online marketplaces that offer specialized services from design, development, and marketing to financing, legal services, and banking. One of the best parts is you can test out low-cost, low-risk projects. The trick is knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and putting your resources toward tangible goals.
An ecosystem is an environment of mutually supportive relationships. It encourages companies to thrive by giving them an endless supply of new ideas, cutting-edge technology, vital marketing expertise and deep pockets full of eager consumers.
Ecosystems are important in business. They can spring up around a product or service–just like the range of mobile phone cases, headphones, and other paraphernalia for cell phones; or around a person–just like the legions of writers who contribute content to the web for free in hopes of establishing their own personal brands.
An ecosystem is crucial to sustainable growth because it provides the structure that surrounds and supports the businesses within it. That spreads “stakeholdership” out from the individual to the larger community, and it creates a stronger, more robust whole.
8. Finances – Mind Your Cash Flow
During uncertainty, cash is king.
Ensuring that you have a big buffer is important. So manage your cash flow well.
Have your accountant compare your actual net income and expenses with your planned estimates. Your analysis will help identify where you are over or underperforming.
Make the necessary changes and rebalance where necessary.
With the government’s various schemes to support businesses, see what you need to do to qualify for a grant, subsidy or low interest loan.
By taking advantage of them, you can create a cash buffer which you can use to not just ride out the storm but to take advantage of opportunities you have identified.
9. FLEXIBLE, ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP
In order to sustain growth, entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners must keep their wits about them. They must remain aware of changing market conditions and be able to quickly identify and exploit emerging opportunities. This means they must be strategic both in the short term (where their focus is currently) and the long term (where their focus should be).
An adaptive, flexible leadership style comes from being mindful. Interpersonal, individual, and working lives are all interconnected. Mindfulness helps us understand these relationships and how to utilize them to create, innovate, and lead.
Your Sustainable Business Expansion
When your business has experienced a significant setback, it is tempting to fall into the trap of focusing only on what has gone wrong and desperately trying to correct each and every one of your “mistakes.”
Your sustainable business expansion is often more a result of a slow down in your business growth than any one particular mistake you may have made.
It has never been easy for any company to grow well, and maintaining a perfect balance between aggressive growth and stable business systems and processes. It is enough to come to the realization that while business growth is exhilarating, there is also much to be said for sustainable growth.
Nobody knows for sure what will happen in the future but one thing is for certain; entrepreneurs, who plan ahead, anticipate change and react quickly to unexpected shocks will come out winners.
Startups which do so will ride out the storm and come out with a secure foothold in the market.
Older businesses that do that same will have greater market share and enjoy market dominance. They will have more market recognition and brand loyalty.
Keep a look out for what we’ve discussed, do the necessary, prepare for your sustainable business expansion and come out a winner! Should you like to discuss how you too can prepare your business in the year ahead, contact Blazing Conversions for a chat.