The COVID-19 pandemic hit the worldwide business landscape hard, with Australia experiencing an economic contraction of 2.5% in 2020. Small businesses, in particular, had a 15% decrease in sales that year. However- things seem to be looking up.
Despite some COVID restrictions that are still in place, Australia is projected to experience a 4.4% increase this year. The country’s vaccination rate is also increasing at a rapid pace, with more than 4 million vaccine doses administered this May.
Small business owners may think that things are finally going to go back to the way it was. But is that really true?
A lot has changed since the onset of the pandemic – including how consumers behave. From in-store shopping to curbside pick up. Food delivery instead of dine-in. Streaming new movies in lieu of going to the cinema. Many small business COVID success stories happen when owners rose to the challenge. And if these changes are here to stay, small businesses have to consider fully transforming as well.
Businesses may fare differently during the pandemic, depending on their field and scale. But now that things are seemingly about to return to normal, there are some universal things that you can take note of to ensure that your small business can succeed in the post-COVID world:
Optimise what works
Though many small businesses experienced financial loss during 2020, some thrived. For example, some small specialised grocery stores in Melbourne managed to leverage social media to deliver their goods to customers’ home. A beverage manufacturer in Canberra managed to increase its revenue from online retail. If you happen to be one of the small business owners with small business COVID success stories, consider optimising the innovations you’ve made during the pandemic and keep them as part of your normal operations.
Check your finances
Consider your state of finances before deciding to return back to how you usually run your business prior to COVID-19. Though the government provided numerous relief package for small businesses during this pandemic, most of these would eventually cease. Be sure to check your liabilities and assets to ensure that your business can function in the first few months when you return to normal operations.
Leave behind some business processes
Since many small businesses had to innovate to survive, there may be merit in leaving behind some business processes you used prior to the pandemic. Perhaps you’ve managed to streamline your customer orders by using online forms instead of manually writing them down? Or found that your products are a huge hit with international customers than local ones? There’s no shame in changing how you run your business if it means success and resilience in the long run.
Boost your team’s morale
The COVID-19 is hard on everyone, not just financially but also emotionally. Many of us had to go through some form of quarantine process for months on end and limit our interactions with people we don’t know. This can hit your team’s morale hard. Be sure that you have a plan in place to help them return to normal business operations. That way, your team’s productivity levels can return to the way it was before the start of the pandemic.
The above are but just a few ways that you can prepare your small business for a post-COVID world. We don’t know yet when that would happen and how it would look like. But better to begin now in restarting your small business ready in a post-COVID world.