12 Killer Questions That Every SME Owner Must Ask Themselves In 2021
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Whether starting a new business or managing an established venture doesn’t matter. Business in the post-pandemic era will look a little different to how it did before Covid struck. In truth, only the most efficient companies will survive and thrive in the modern era.
Even if yours has overcome the initial challenges of the past 12-18 months, the journey isn’t over. It will be necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy for these testing times. Ask yourself the following 12 questions for guidance, and you won’t go far wrong.
#1. Do You Have Enough Capital?
The harsh reality is that your business won’t get very far without a good level of capital behind it. So, it’s imperative that you conduct a full audit of the company. This will help to ensure that the cash reserves are of the necessary level to complete the intended tasks. Otherwise, financial problems will haunt you at some stage.
When the financial calculations don’t look good, there are always ways to cut costs without reducing your quality. Ideas range from changing energy suppliers or web hosts to embracing remote workers instead of having huge offices. Of course, looking at fundraising options is crucial too.
#2. Are You Surrounded By The Right People?
It’s impossible to run a successful business with just one pair of hands. Even if you have the skills needed to thrive, there aren’t enough hours in the day. Therefore, assembling the right team of employees should be at the top of your agenda. When you get this step right, they won’t simply spearhead success. Crucially, they’ll allow you to work without distractions.
Finding the best candidates for the company isn’t always easy. You will need to analyze personality traits as much as their experience and education. A reliable worker who is also willing to learn will reflect the business in a far better way. In turn, this will translate to more sales and increased loyalty.
#3. Are Digital Strategies Designed For This Moment?
Following the pandemic, virtually all consumers are now open to shopping online. Even those that prefer offline transactions will conduct their research using online tools. Using an Ecommerce consultant to check that your ideas are aligned with the latest trends and tech capabilities is key. This is not an area where outdated moves can work.
The experts can devise, design, and implement a plan that is tailored specifically to your brand. This means telling your story and engaging your audience in a meaningful way. It is easy to get caught up by monitoring the wrong metrics. But when the strategy uses data-driven decisions from issues that matter, the results are telling.
#4. Does The Company Have Enough Protection?
Protecting your business is crucial for many reasons. Aside from protecting your assets and finances, it is vital for safeguarding employees and consumers alike. Similarly, it will go a long way to maintaining your strong reputation. With around 40% of all cyberattacks targeting small businesses, cybersecurity is vital.
This can be achieved through outsourced IT teams and teaching employees about the latest malware and scams. You should also consider the on-site security by fitting alarms and using entry ID systems. For the very best results, however, you will also need to think about your intellectual property. Copyrights and non-disclosure agreements are key.
#5. Do You Know Who The Customer Is?
If starting a new business or trying to hit the online market for the first time, you will want to reach the biggest audience. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that some demographics simply won’t respond to your products. Only a minute percentage of products boast a global appeal. So, you must find your place in the market.
The best way to do this is to build a target consumer profile. When you know the exact background and buying habits of the user, every aspect of the venture can be adapted to this. Of course, you will still pick up customers from secondary groups but this will aid the speed and cost-efficiency of plans.
#6. Have You Adapted The Customer Care Processes?
Customer care has taken on an even greater role in recent times due to the lack of face-to-face interactions. On-site staff can still provide a winning serve. But it should be noted that a growing percentage of interactions will be handled through other methods. Therefore, investing in the technology and workers is vital.
VoIP tech and web chat facilities are likely to play a significant role in the future of your client care game. However, a virtual receptionist and call redirection service can be equally crucial. This allows you to maintain a responsive and professional brand image without major disruption. It also reduces the investment needs.
#7. Are Products Priced Correctly?
The success of your company will be determined by far more than just the product pricing model. Nonetheless, nobody will pay crazy money for products that are offered cheaper elsewhere. At least not when using a new company for the first time. Therefore, you need to find the right balance between value for the customer and profits for you.
With this in mind, conducting research into the market will be just as important as knowing the audience. This will allow you to place yourself in an appropriate position and work out the best pricing model. When selling to consumers from varying countries, you may need to implement zonal pricing too. m
#8. Are Workspaces Safe & Clean?
The need for workplace safety is nothing new. However, the pandemic has resulted in a far greater demand for good hygiene. Even once people have been vaccines, sanitation stations will be vital for employees and clients alike. Meanwhile, regular office or store floor cleaning must be implemented.
Safety will naturally extend to safety workwear in the appropriate places. You must also ensure that all risk assessments include suitable contingencies. This could mean having an electric safety hook or an evacuation procedure. Finally, you must consider accessibility in the parking lot and entrances, especially for those who need it.
#9. Does The Company Inspire Trust?
Without trust, consumers simply won’t purchase your goods. However, it’s not simply a case of avoiding intrusions or data theft. You also need to prove to customers that your products and services are the best on the market and will deliver the desired results. Frankly, your in-house methods can only do so much.
Consequently, then, you will need to look for outside help, This can come from various sources, such as past clients who are happy to leave a review. Meanwhile, they may be happy to become affiliates as it offers the chance for them to earn a little money. In the current market, teaming up with social influencers can boost your reach and appeal.
#10. Has Technology Been Used To Its Full Potential
As the Ecommerce and customer care points show, tech is a key feature of running a business in 2021 and beyond. However, it should be utilized in all aspects of the venture. The fact is that machines can complete a wide range of tasks at greater speeds and with increased efficiency. Do not ignore them.
Whether it’s a manufacturing factory, order fulfillment, or stock replenishment doesn’t matter. Humans will still be needed to manage the systems but labor and admin are often best left to the equipment. When computers and advanced tech are used to support people, your business will outperform its competitors.
#11. Is Everyone On The Same Page?
The value of good recruitment has already been discussed. Sadly, it counts for very little if the team does not show a sense of consistency. As such, clear communication should be a priority at all times. This must extend to on-site staff, remote workers, ad-hoc contractors, and outsourced teams.
Thankfully, you no longer have to waste hours in team meetings. Sending an email or using team messaging apps can deliver the message efficiently and with clarity. Video conferencing is another great tool that can remove the need for business travel. This is another major bonus in these testing times.
#12. Do I Have The Passion?
A lot has changed over the past 18 months. As such, it has probably changed your outlook on life., For some, this will underline the desire to achieve something with the business. For others, though, investing so much time into the company may no longer appeal. Similarly, the enjoyment may have been lost, meaning that a new chapter is needed.
When this happens, it may be best to sell the business or hire a manager to take over the daily operations while you do something else. If you are starting a new venture at this time, you must accept that simply chasing money won’t suffice. When you have passion for the business, it will shine through and win customers over.
The Final Word
The worst of the pandemic is hopefully over. Nonetheless, these will remain testing times for at least the next year. If your business is not prepared, the struggles will continue. Get things right, though, and you can achieve anything.