8 Tips to Get Your Business Back on Track
The COVID-19 pandemic destroyed many businesses. And, for those that are left, the future is far from certain. However, as the economy begins to pick up again, it is time to take stock of how the pandemic affected your business and plan for recovery.
Businesses that were hit hard by the pandemic may struggle to find a way forward. Indeed, business owners are going to need skill and determination to get their organizations back on track again.
But the demise of so many companies offers new opportunities to those businesses that have survived. So, now is not the time to throw in the towel. Instead, now is the time to start planning the relaunch of your business. Here are eight tips to help you get your post-COVID business recovery underway.
1. Assess the Damage
Trading conditions have been improving in most sectors. However, the damage caused by the pandemic will still be evident. So, the first step to recovery is to assess the current financial position of your business.
First, bring your accounts up to date to assess the profits or losses during the pandemic. And update your budgets and cash flow forecasts to calculate how much money you will need to kick-start the business.
Remember to include all the business restart casts. You might need to recruit and employ new workers, for example. And inventory might need replenishing. All the costs required to restart the business will need to be included in your revised figures.
2. Plan for Growth
For many businesses, recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be like starting over again. And this means rewriting the business plan to reflect the changed circumstances and the challenging business landscape that may lie ahead.
Assess the current strengths and weaknesses of your business as it stands today. And develop a plan to grow your business not only back to where it was but to where you would like to be. Develop new marketing plans to bring in new customers. And plan to reconnect with old customers you lost touch with during the pandemic.
It would be best to build some slack into your business plans, just in case the COVID virus causes further business disruption. And bear in mind that some customers will still be very wary of the virus. For example, your business might involve face-to-face meetings or visiting people’s homes. In which case, some customers will expect you to take appropriate COVID safety precautions.
3. Consider Alternative Business Models
Many companies changed the way they did business during the pandemic. Some stores switched to online sales, for example. And some restaurants offered home deliveries for the first time. In many cases, these interim measures turned out to be highly successful. So successful that these new ways of trading are likely to become a permanent fixture.
So, it would be wise to conduct market research to discover how your competitors coped with and are recovering from the pandemic. And consider if the alternative business models might be a better and safer way forward for the future. Or, perhaps, a mixture of the old and new might be appropriate for your business.
4. Assess the Need for Funding
Your cash reserves will likely have been depleted during the pandemic. And, as mentioned above, you will probably have to invest in some business restart costs to get the ball rolling again. I which case, you may need to source some additional financing to fund your business recovery.
Depending on where your business is based, there may be national or regional business COVID recovery assistance you can claim. Or there are the usual business loans and other types of finance to consider. Other potential sources of finance include accounts receivable funding, purchase order financing, and merchant cash advances.
5. Develop a Realistic Timeline for Recovery
The COVID pandemic did a great deal of damage to the economies of the world. As a result, it will take time for business activity to return to the levels enjoyed before the COVID crisis. Likewise, your business will probably not immediately bounce back to pre-COVID levels. So, business recovery will need to be planned, step by step.
Steps along the way to recovery might include securing finding, rehiring employees, and restocking inventory. And there will be a time lag between restarting marketing campaigns and the sales materializing.
Many of the individual steps to recovery will need to be taken in a specific order. There is no point in investing heavily in marketing, for example, if you don’t have the stock to fulfill sales orders. So, plan the recovery timeline with care, and consider the dependencies of each step.
6. Be Aware That Economic Recovery Will Bring Further Challenges
Other businesses, including those in your supply chain, will also have been affected by the pandemic. So, there might be delays in obtaining essential supplies and services. The economic bounce-back is also causing shortages in some regions. For example, there is a truck driver shortage in some areas. And, even though large numbers of people lost their jobs during the pandemic, there are labor shortages in some industries. Inflation is also on the rise, so you can expect to see price increases on some supplies.
So, your business recovery plans will need to be flexible. And it will help to keep an eye on global and regional economic news. It is not all bad news, but it’s not going to be all plain sailing either.
7. Have a Contingency Plan
Hopefully, the COVID pandemic will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, the coronavirus did highlight the need for contingency planning. And it would be wise to learn from recent events and always have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Once your business is back on its feet, start building up a cash reserve to shield you against the unexpected. Be cautious about sales forecasts and commit to spending based on the most likely scenarios rather than the best possible. And try to avoid overburdening your business with debt if possible.
No one wants to be overly pessimistic about prospects for the future. However, COVID is still around, and there could yet be new variants of the virus. It would be advisable to consider what steps you would take if COVID or another disaster causes further disruptions to business.
8. Learn From What Became the New Normal
No one could say that the COVID pandemic was good news for the business community. However, one thing that surprised many people was how well some companies adapted to the various restrictions on their businesses. And some of the changes that companies had to make turned out to be cheaper and more efficient than the old ways of doing things.
Restrictions on travel, for example, meant that virtual meetings replaced face-to-face meetings. And it transpired that video conferencing was cheaper and more efficient for many types of meetings. Workers also discovered that working at home is indeed possible. And working from home saves travel time, reduces office costs, and, if implemented well, increases employee motivation.
Immediately reverting to pre-pandemic working practices may not be the best route to recovery. Instead, consider learning from what worked during the pandemic and consider how the COVID working practices might benefit the business in the future.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, it’s essential to carefully plan business recovery and take it step-by-step. And be aware that there may be further pandemic challenges to come. But don’t be discouraged because if your business survived the pandemic, you are in an excellent place to build a better, more resilient business moving forward.
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