Today marks the beginning of a new four-week lockdown in an effort to control the rising infection rate of Covid-19. But as we all work to slow the spread, a very real economic threat is posed to small and medium-sized enterprises up and down the country.
According to research by Simply Business, around one in five small businesses predict that they will not survive the second lockdown and could be forced to permanently cease trading. What can SMEs do to ensure the best chance of survival during and after lockdown 2.0?
Be authentic and honest. Though we may be at home hiding from the physical threat of the virus, we certainly cannot hide from the reality of what this pandemic means for our collective way of life.
Businesses should acknowledge this reality and address it head-on if they are to capture and keep the attention of consumers. In a world that grows ever more confusing and uncertain, people want to feel that they can trust your business to be transparent and empathetic. A genuine sense of care and compassion will go a long way.
We are no longer a nation of passive consumers. It would be fair to say that we are all searching for a little more meaning in our everyday lives. So, tell your brand story and apply it to these trying times.
Same goes for the treatment of those within your business. Amidst so much unrest, your business will have the best chance of survival if everyone within the organisation feels that they are part of a cohesive team working toward a common, meaningful goal.
Learn from past experience. In March, we went into lockdown completely blind, with no frame of reference from which to draw upon. One positive of this lockdown compared to the last is that you will likely have some idea of how your business will be most affected.
This gives you a little more clarity on how best to prepare for, and mitigate, the impact of lockdown as much as possible. You may also have existing measures in place that you developed during the previous lockdown, so you can implement these more quickly this time around.
Learn from any mistakes you made during the initial lockdown and think strategically about how you can rework your processes and initiatives to avoid the same pitfalls.
Get tech-savvy. It is vital that SMEs turn their attention to the potential of technology during this time. Businesses are growing increasingly reliant on technological solutions. The more you are able to adapt to this new landscape, the better your chances of survival will be.
As consumers spend more time indoors, they are also becoming more tech-savvy. This presents a new opportunity for businesses to reach a growing number of potential customers via digital channels.
Whether it be Increasing your social presence, working across new communication technologies, introducing online checkouts, contactless payments, or revamping your website, there are a number of measures you can take to adapt to this new environment.
Know what financial support you are entitled to. There are a number of government support schemes in place to help SMEs during this uncertain time. Visit GOV.UK to learn more about your options and decide the best course of action for your business.
Looking to receive tailored advice from someone who has real experience as a business owner? Browse Wiseup’s curated list of mentors today and book a free virtual coffee.
Wiseup is also offering a Covid-19 support scheme to those who have been furloughed, made redundant, or feeling uncertain about their careers due to Covid-19. Find out more about the Free Covid-19 Career Support scheme here.