5 Questions to ask as your business recovers from COVID-19
As you look to what happens within your business after COVID-19, there are some important questions to ask yourself and your team. They’ll help you determine what adaptations you want to keep, whether your business model is working, and if there are additional changes you want to make to keep your company operational through future economic downturns.
It’s not always fun to do this sort of examination, but the answers to these questions will help you to make the best possible decisions for the future. The hardest thing to do is business is often ask the tough questions because the answers may not be what you want to hear. You don’t have to do it alone, get your team together (on video call or otherwise) to brainstorm and collaborate.
1. What works well and what works less well in my business model?
Almost everyone had to make changes to their business model during the recent downturn. Whether it was hosting meetings with clients on Zoom, learning about encryption technology to allow employees access to sensitive information from home, offering restaurant food for take-out or managing dance classes online, implementing new systems to deliver different products, most small businesses adapted in some way or another.
Did we have to adapt our business model? Did we adapt fast enough? Did we change our goods or services in any way? Did we change how our premises are used? Did these changes enhance our business or workflow? What opportunities did these changes identify for us? Should these changes be temporary or permanent?
2. How well did we execute our customer communications?
Letting your clients and customers know what’s happening in your business is key. If you’re in a service based industry, a simple conversation can make the world of difference. Long term relationships are built in the short term. Were your customers supportive of your business during this time? Did they turn elsewhere? Did they respect the changes you made to your business or the policies you put in place?
Did we let our customers know about any changes happening in our business that might effect them? If yes, how? Email? Personal phone call? Did we talk with them about any concerns or needs they had? Did we glean any valuable insights into our customers business, eg, did they thrive? How can we continue to support them?
3. Do we need to make changes to our supply chain?
You have some control over your supply chain, but not a lot. Disruptions happen and they can drastically affect your business.
Review how the various components in your supply chain reacted to the pandemic and whether they helped your business or hurt it.
Did the suppliers in our supply chain remain open and transparent? Did they reach out to discuss revising our agreement? Did we? If no, why not? Could that have been helpful? Were they reasonable in their expectations and willing to work with us? Do we need to have alternate arrangements or back-up plans in case there are future supply chain disruptions?
Your supply chain has a huge impact on your business. Trusting your suppliers and knowing you can work with them will allow you to feel more secure in the future.
4. Do we need to make changes to our systems and processes?
Ensuring you’ve got the right systems is key for the efficiency of your business and maximising profitability. Technology and automation software can have a dramatic improvement on business workflow? Often when things are a little quieter, implementing new systems is a great idea, because you have the added bonus of time, a commodity rarely available in small business.
What systems have been wanting to improve? Did working remotely introduce new technology to our workplace? If so, can we continue to build on it? What other cloud based software can we implement to automate some of our process in supply chain or customer care? Did our business grow so rapidly we need to find a technology solution to manage our product more seamlessly? There are a number of cloud based apps that can help you improve your processes and save you both time and money. Cloudsolve can help you integrate number of cloud based apps to streamline your business. Take a look at some of them here.
5. How have the team adapted?
Your staff have faced a great deal of stress and uncertainty during COVID-19, both professionally and personally. Team members may have had to transition to new ways of working—at home, on a new schedule, or with new policies and procedures in place.
Are there changes to how our team works that we could continue with? Can we provide additional training for staff? Did I communicate openly with them? Did we communicate openly with each other? How adaptable were they? What opportunities can arise from this? What did we miss from not being in the same working space, if anything?
One benefit from having employees work from home more days a week is that such opportunities for remote working can boost employee morale while saving you money. Now that you’ve invested in the technology to allow staff to work from home, is it worth it to allow this scenario to continue?
Each of the above questions—about your business model, your customers, supply chain systems and your staff —will help you make informed decisions about the best way to move forward as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Once you’ve worked through what worked well and what worked less well put in action plans for each put. What do we need to know now? Don’t forget to assign tasks and get ownership from team members, or if you’re on your own….then give yourself a realistic timeline of what you want to achieve.
Get in touch with us to chat about your business and how we can continue to help you thrive.