At a business lunch a few months ago. Someone told us about a technique he likes to use during his daily employee meetings. At the beginning of their meetings, he has all attendees take turns telling everyone something good that happened. It can be something personal, professional, a joke, anything that shines a positive light on something worth sharing. They started this tradition long before the woes of 2020. It has become even more important recently as it starts off every meeting on a positive tone. We don’t need to tell you that this year hasn’t been the best one yet. We also don’t want to focus on that. While brainstorming this week’s blog topic, we thought, why not expand the tradition and share a positive note for small businesses. So, here’s our “Something Good.”
Backbone of AmericaStatistically, more people work for small businesses than corporations in America. We are truly the lifeblood of the economy. While it may feel like we’ve been taking a beating between being closed/restricted for COVID-19 purposes, and now, in many places, to protect against riots and looting, small businesses will be needed to bring the nation’s economy back. The first half of 2020 likely didn’t live up to your optimistic strategic plan, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for the year. Now is the time to begin digging-in and preparing to make something of the second half of the year, no matter what comes down the pike next.
Treat this as an OpportunityRecently, we blogged about the 9 things you should do while your business is down. Those are all still relevant, but we want to dive in a bit more on one of these: determine your next offering. There has never been a better time to reinvent yourself.
- Expand Your Target Market: No industry is truly recession-proof, so narrowing your business focus to one or two markets can be devastating if one of those targets tanks. Research who else you can serve. While we don’t recommend creating a wildly different product line in an area that you don’t have experience (this is a recipe for an expensive disaster), see where your current or a related offering may be beneficial to a new group of people. This will open up a whole new audience for your services.
- Introduce a New Product Line: Alternatively, you could bring a new product to your existing customers. Sometimes this is easier than getting to know a whole new group of people. Interview your customers, determine what their major pain points are, and design something that alleviates that pain. Learn about competitors, test the solution, and go to market. Your customers already trust you, so this is likely an easier sell. That being said, make sure you have effective customer service and account management lined up. While a customer may give you a little grace with a new product hiccup, that grace isn’t unlimited for anyone.
- Redefine Your Industry: The COVID-19 crisis forced many changes to businesses that thought they were doing the best they could. Fast Food restaurants typically had a drive-thru as a convenience, but now that is the life-blood to keeping the restaurants open. Another change that hit us, with many employees working from home, weak spots surfaced with the technology needed to communicate with them. Look for solutions to our new problems.
- Drive Yourself and Competitors Forward: Is there is a tool you’ve created that everyone in your industry could utilize? For example, IT expanded over the years by offering products to their competitors that helped make their business better; i.e. dashboarding, training, streamlining processes. Rather than look at your competitors as enemies, how can you make them your customers/partners?