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How to Use COVID-19 Crisis to Refocus Your SME

By: Annie Button


Shopkeeper running his business while wearing a mask, coronavirus pandemic concept

There may be no business in America that has not felt the impact of COVID-19 one way or another. SMEs are more likely to be disproportionately affected by the crisis; in fact, more than 60 percent of smaller businesses believed that their revenue was likely to shrink in the next six months.

Where larger businesses can make cutbacks or find large scale savings, this is not always an option for small companies. However, it does not have to be the case that COVID-19 is universally bad news for SMEs. In fact, this period may actually be the perfect time to refocus your company and to find a way to work more effectively, as we meet the challenges come out of the pandemic. 

Now is the time to make hard decisions

The fact is that now is the time that businesses will need to make hard decisions. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the economy, and things have changed significantly. For many businesses to survive, they have to make the kind of painful decisions that might be unthinkable in normal times.

But from these hard decisions there comes an opportunity. Whether you are reducing staff numbers, downsizing your premises, or ending partnerships, each provides options to change the business for the better. A smaller team can be more focused and more productive – and you might find that downsizing actually reveals you never needed so much space in the first place.

The fact is that when hard decisions are forced on a business, you can find creative ways to make the most of the situation. “My advice is this,” says Brad Burton, founder of 4Networking “if you can live with the downside of any decision you should go for it! The faster you make a decision the faster it either works and we win or it fails and we gain experience. Failure is a down payment on better and correct future decisions”. 

You can create a new, realistic business plan

Did you know that 1.5 million SMEs have no business plan whatsoever? Doing work day-to-day is where the money comes from, but you can be severely limited by not having an idea of where the business could grow to, and how it would get there. Of course, even for those businesses with a plan, COVID-19 has changed so much of the business landscape, your plan may no longer be possible.

Whatever the case, it is important to create a business plan that reflects the reality of life after COVID-19 and how it has affected your company. You cannot hold on to the targets and goals that you had in the past, the world has been radically altered. 

Digitize your company

COVID-19 has forced many businesses to find new ways to operate. Where lockdowns were enforced and individuals were encouraged to work from home where possible, a huge number of SMEs had to find effective ways to do this very quickly. And while this may have been a challenge, SMEs have been rising to it

Many more people are now working from home and using digital services in order to get there work done than ever before. Whether it has come in the form of utilizing VPNs and video conferencing software, or simply getting on with tasks away from the office, a huge number of employees have found there are benefits to working at home.

There is an opportunity, however, for companies to go a step further. Rather than simply thinking of this period as a blip – consider making use of the benefits of home working all year round. Now could be the perfect opportunity to digitize your company – no longer rely on paper files, embrace digital infrastructure. You may find that this is a fantastic way to save the business money, and allow staff to be more productive. 

Final thoughts

COVID-19 may have been a huge shock to the system which has been a burden to a large number of SMEs. But that doesn’t mean that it cannot also be an opportunity to refocus and find new ways to grow in the modern world. Don’t think of this pandemic as purely a negative; keep on looking for the chances to turn it into something truly beneficial. 

Published: June 1, 2020

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