When a national lockdown was announced last March, many of us assumed that normal life would resume in a few weeks. However, we have now entered a new year with COVID-19 as prevalent as ever and the restrictions that have become part of our ‘new normal’, so what does this mean for our small businesses?
Hundreds of thousands of small businesses pivoted their entire business structures in response, moving online and to take away, to adjust to the new restrictions. Despite strict health & safety processes and social distancing measures, businesses have been struggling to get customers through the door. Unfortunately, even some of the UK’s biggest high street names haven’t been safe from the reduction in footfall and 2020 saw Debenhams and Arcadia faced with hard decisions to make.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, small business owners still have options (even on tight budgets) and by being flexible, your business can survive and thrive in 2021.
How to thrive in 2021 as a small business
Make the move online
If you’re not already focusing on your digital presence, then now is the time. Focus on social media and email to reach new customers. According to data from Smart Insights, email marketing is still in the top 3 most effective channels driving website visits, leads and sales.
Understand your customers
Do you understand who your customers are? It’s important to work out who your most loyal, and therefore most profitable, customers are. Who are they? What do they buy? And where from? On top of buying your products or services, your loyal customers can become your best advocates, creating authentic and genuine word-of-mouth advertising – for free!
Look after your pennies and pounds
Many of us are used to working month-to-month with our finances, however, if your business is feeling the pinch, it’s time to look at your daily spending. This isn’t the time for a surprise utility bill! If you’re really looking to control your cash flow, could you be saving money with your office space? Serviced offices are perfect for cash flow as they’re typically on rolling, flexible contracts and offer an all-in-one inclusive one price for everything, freeing up capital.
Concentrate on the ROI
If you’re spending a lot of time and energy promoting everything that your business offers and it’s not getting you anywhere, then it’s time to cut back and focus on the highest profit opportunities. Identify your most valuable products and services and focus on that right now. It seems counterintuitive to cut back but you need to put your energy in the space that is making your business money right now.
If you’re struggling, have you checked if your business is eligible for any funding or support from the government? If you’re based in the Vale of Glamorgan, check the Vale of Glamorgan Council Business Advice page for more information.
This year, in particular the first two quarters, will be critical for our small businesses and our economy. At the start of 2020, there were 5.94 million small businesses in the UK according to the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses. Small businesses are typically more customer-orientated or in-tune with their local community so are therefore more likely to survive economic downturns. By supporting our local, small businesses by ‘shopping local’ and turning to our local community, we will encourage the economy to recover! Plus, we hope that utilising some of the tips we’ve outlined above will help your business get off to a strong start this year.
If you’re a small business that is looking to get 2021 off to a head start, have you considered how flexible, serviced offices at The Business Centre (Cardiff) could work for you? Why not get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about how our flexible working solutions could support your business? Drop our team an email: [email protected]