As small and medium-sized businesses look to what’s next on the heels of the global pandemic, there can be more questions than answers. In times of doubt, it helps to look to what’s worked in the past. Startups are revered as hubs of innovation and their founders have applied creative thinking in the face of limited or scarce resources.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, adopting a start-up mentality can help you see old problems in new lights. Here’s a look at what that means in the current climate:
1. Embrace frugality.
Startup founders know that cash is king and they have to do their best to operate as lean as possible. The takeaway: Estimate what your sales and expenses will be, and then revise the forecast by cutting sales by half and doubling expenses. This will give a more realistic picture of what may happen, especially with the economy still on the rebound. You’ll never regret being responsible with your finances.
2. Stick to your expertise.
Are you bogged down with tasks that aren’t mission-critical and don’t bring money in the doors? Consider how you might adjust your approach to operations. Ask yourself: What are the tasks that need to be completed and what types of skills or people are required to complete those tasks? Once you have that in mind, evaluate your current team and determine if anyone matches what you need. If they don’t currently exist within your company, you may need to hire outside help.
3. Seek customer feedback.
What your customers needed or wanted last year might not be what they want now. That’s why it’s important to survey them and ask how you might better serve them through products and services. When you get your answers, take some time to assess how you might adjust your current offering to better meet demand. At the same time, you might need to adjust pricing to account for changes in the supply chain.
4. Network to build connections.
Networking is kindling for startups and can be just as helpful for established businesses, too. The reason that startup founders lean into such opportunities is they know that a single connection they make can lead them to a new customer opportunity or resource that can change their trajectory. Established companies need to pursue all networking opportunities for the same reasons.
As the country opens back up and business owners feel more cautiously optimistic, it’s a good time as any to return to the fundamentals.