The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on our daily lives. The way we shop, do business, and work has changed drastically — and local businesses have been affected the most.
Now that we’re settling into the “new normal,” the process of re-establishing your business can appear daunting. However, with the right preparation, this time can also be an opportunity for growth.
Here’s some key advice for businesses looking to rebound after COVID-19.
Revisit Your Business Plan
The world has changed over the past few years, and your original business plan may feel out of date. Find out what’s different in your market and region, and whether or not your customers still have the same needs.
For example, has the shift to digital impacted how people interact with your business? Were any new laws implemented during the pandemic that affect your business’ reach, such as regulations about what or how you can sell? Figure out if these new opportunities require adjusting your original plan.
Go Slowly and Communicate
Rebuilding a business can take time, and it’s important to get things right. It’s better to be measured in your approach than to hastily push forward. Remember that everyone is in the process of readjusting their daily life, and customers are aware that businesses are also adapting. Clearly communicating changes sets realistic expectations, and honesty creates trust.
Get the Right Financial Support
Collaboration and the willingness to help our neighbors allowed us to get through the most challenging periods of the pandemic. So whether you need a business account that works for your new needs, or a loan or line of credit to kick-start your success as you shift to a new business model, make sure you have the right financial support in your corner. A local partner, like a credit union, can understand the specific needs for your local market and provide valuable insights to small business owners. Check for other means of support for businesses in your area, such as grants from your town or city, financial aid from local chambers of commerce, or even marketing guidance from advocacy groups.
Change Your Hiring Strategy
Finding high-quality employees is more challenging than ever, as many people have shifted their priorities and careers over the past few years. This means it could be a good time to invest in past or current employees by training them for new roles. For new recruits, it may take some extra effort to find the right candidates. Here are a few hiring tips:
- Create clear and effective job descriptions.
- Use word of mouth within your community, as well as digital channels, to advertise roles.
- Consider what you can offer in addition to compensation, such as training programs, the option for remote work or flexible hours, and company culture perks.
Prepare Your Business for the Future
If there’s any silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the lessons learned about preparing for the future. Business owners had to adapt, pivot to innovative solutions, and figure out how to survive in a cash-strapped time.
For any business, figuring out how to be financially resilient during downtimes is important, but so is adapting your processes. Keeping up with technology to be able to integrate e-commerce and remote work will help future-proof your business, for whatever challenges lay ahead.
Phil Sutliff is the Head of Business Banking at Citadel Credit Union. Citadel offers a full suite of dynamic products and services for businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area that are looking for a better banking experience. Unlike traditional banks, Citadel’s Business Banking is built upon the Credit Union’s not-for-profit status, which allows for a unique level of service and commitment to help build financially strong businesses that directly influence and care for our communities, families, and overall local economic health.