What the pandemic has taught me as a business owner

Last month marked two years since the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic. While there is no doubt the past few years have been unprecedented, it’s interesting to look back and see how mindsets have changed while businesses have pivoted and evolved. Acknowledging that customer and employee preferences have also evolved will help you explore future pathways.

Armed with good information, you can put in place strategies to build resilience and plan for a positive future. Here are some key ideas for you to consider:

Building mental strength

While there are plenty of articles with tips about physical fitness, it’s also good to explore tips and tools you can use to improve your mental health and boost your resilience.  The way that we handle stress, sadness and anxiety can be assisted by using strategies that help us approach things in a calm and more clear-headed way.

Some tips that you can try include:

  1. Being present and focusing on one thing at a time. Some tips include turning off your phone, only checking emails at a specific time of day, and focusing on the task rather than letting your mind wander.
  2. Getting some exercise will help you because it can increase blood flow and increase nerve connections to your brain – in turn stimulating ‘happy chemicals’ that will improve your mood and reduce stress.
  3. Plan something enjoyable that doesn’t involve work.
  4. Learn to say no! Set some boundaries to ensure that you aren’t overreaching.
  5. Practising mindfulness will help you check in with how you are feeling. There are plenty of free apps and online resources to guide you in the process.
  6. Reach out if you need help. You could do this by accessing services provided under the Government’s New Access Program for small business owners.

Looking into the future

Scenario planning is a key tool that will help you grapple with uncertainties and unknowns that may come your way.

Some tips for scenario planning include:

  1. Consider some of the major external and internal trends impacting your business. A handy tool to use is the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) framework.  Realise Business advisors can work with you to analyse how your business may be impacted using this handy tool.
  2. Once you have identified issues, an excellent way to set priorities is to develop a scenario grid.
  3. Reviewing, recognising and taking pro-active steps to address possible threats will strengthen business resilience.
  4. Like life, scenario planning is not static, so it makes good sense to regularly review the internal and external factors impacting your business.
  5. Analyse your budget and review whether your cash reserves would meet up to some of the more challenging scenarios your business could face. Since the pandemic began, research has suggested that businesses set aside up to 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund.

Remember, Realise Business Advisors can work with you to develop a PESTLE framework and scenario grid for your businesses, just get in touch.

Getting creative

Creativity isn’t just for artists and actors. Being creative in your business will help you innovate and identify your point of difference. It will also make your business stand out from the crowd and attract the right type of customers.

Here are some ways that creative thinking can help your business:

  1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Rather than just guessing, survey your customers. Getting their feedback and speaking with them will help you understand how they see your business.
  2. Recognise that things change, and you need to keep your business fresh to be competitive. Set aside time to review how your business is operating to meet customers’ changing needs. This will help you come up with new ways to match customer demand.
  3. Bring your team into the creative process. Harnessing the ideas of your staff and brainstorming will bring fresh thinking and approaches to your business.
  4. Creativity in your business will stimulate the way you think, and it will help you embrace new ideas and remove roadblocks.
  5. Creativity can also help you overcome the fear of failure. Testing new ideas and ways of doing business is the foundation of innovation. Armed with the right information, you can innovate and meet new demands.
  6. Take advantage of grants and government assistance.

The more you think about it, the tough experiences of the pandemic have provided new pathways that will transform your business, just as much as they exposed potential business threats and points of weakness.

Book your free advisory session today

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