Business

5 Ways To Strengthen Your Business In Tough Economic Times

From global financial crises to a pandemic that caused businesses and individuals to put their lives on hold, there is no doubt that companies have been through some very tough economic times. While the 2008 financial crisis showed that the top international enterprises were not recession proof, COVID-19 brought even more challenges that no one could have predicted.

New habits and practices are now a part of everyone’s daily life and has become part of the work routine. Working from home was a necessity as lockdown forced people to remain in their houses in order to reduce the spread of the virus. Going out to cafés or the cinema was something taken for granted but as restrictions were placed on the number of people who could gather even for family weddings or funerals, small to medium enterprises as well as the global giants struggled to survive. Keeping afloat has never been harder but there are ways to bolster up your business, starting with talking to your business loan broker.

1. Revisit your expansion plans

It may seem to be counterintuitive to be looking at growth and expansion during what are straightened economic times, but everyone in the sector is faced with the same challenges. Those who do not rise up to face these challenges will fall by the wayside. They will be cutting operations and letting valuable staff go; these are the things that open up gaps in the market that a forward-thinking company can fill.

In order to attract newly available customers, you need to invest in the product or service you offer as well as review your online presence and marketing plans. You should consider investing in research and time for product development to improve your offerings to the consumer. It is also worth reviewing what form of financial package you can access in order to look at purchasing new equipment or develop your current premises. Look at your strategic business plan and consider applying for a term loan which you can discuss with your business loan broker.

2. Ensure cash flow is maintained

The life blood of any business is cash flow and keeping it stable is important. Recession planning is a key tool in any business owner’s armoury. In straightened times you should consider the options that financing can offer – allowing you to buy in supplies, supplement payments, and upgrade the facilities or equipment.

You also need to factor in setting aside some emergency cash for unexpected bills. For example, the current pandemic has seen an enormous increase in cleaning equipment costs in order to keep both staff and consumers safe, a cost that no one predicted prior to 2020. A business loan broker can support with financing which can stabilise cash flow.

3. Meet the needs and expectations of your customers

Remember that consumers are going to be suffering the same type of economic constraints as businesses. Knowing how this affects them means you can meet their needs quicker than your competitors. Think about what areas of your business you would not access or would drop if you were having to watch your personal budget. Consumers will be reviewing their limited funds and you do not want your services or products to be something they give up because they cannot afford to access them.

Are you maximising the use of social media to offer discounts or savings, and are they attractive to your customers? Have you made it very easy for them to order and pay for items or services without having to travel or spending more than a few clicks on your website? Reach out to your returning customers to see if you are meeting their needs – it has never been easier with mobile technology and devices, and you can find out if they are planning to move elsewhere. If you know in advance, then do something about it to retain your biggest and your best customers.

4. Invest in technology

During the various lockdowns and even before that, consumers were moving toward online shopping and browsing for products and services. Employees who could work from home (depending on the sector) were able to continue to support clients where the employer had up-to-date technology and ways of working and communicating on a virtual platform.

Even hospitality and catering industries have moved to electronic point of sale or mobile ordering from home to ensure that customers and staff are kept safe during the pandemic. As the world starts to return to normal, utilising payment methods online or self-ordering systems not only speeds up the service to the customer, but also reduces wastage through incorrect orders. It further maximises use of staff time on the ground so they can focus on customer service and increasing sales. Review the use of technology to speed up production time or produce invoices in order to streamline the business and save money when times are tough.

5. Keep marketing your brand

As mentioned above, the use of social media such as Facebook or Instagram is a great way to reach out to new and existing customers which is not that expensive. There are a number of marketing channels to ensure that you keep your brand at the forefront of customers’ minds even on a global scale. Emails, blogs, Google ads, YouTube and more can ensure that you draw traffic to your website and ramp up orders.

Make sure that the website is mobile-friendly and that you fully understand your marketing base in order to offer quality products and services to your customers. Make it easy for them to like, share, and promote what you do so they feel a connection with the brand. Consider loyalty schemes and rewards and be creative with deals and offers; remember that even if you are based in one country, with marketing your services and products can be accessible to the global market.

For more help and advice, speak to your business mortgage broker today.

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