Nearly everyone felt the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, but small businesses were some of the hardest hit. Many reported slower sales and supply chain disruptions that forced them to scale back their business operations.
The pandemic isn’t over, but small businesses are slowly starting to recover and rebuild, with the goal of resuming normal operations once restrictions are lifted and the tidal wave of business starts flowing. But now, cash-strapped entrepreneurs face a new challenge: rebuilding and growing a business without taking on a full-time job in the process.
Here’s how you can work on your business — instead of in your business — when you’re short on cash and employees who can help out.
How To Rebuild After The Pandemic
As you begin to rebuild your business, you’re probably starting to wear new and different hats out of necessity. Cash flow is limited, so rehiring a whole full-time staff to take care of everything might not be an option.
It can be tempting to jump into your business’s day-to-day operations and find yourself taking care of tasks you’d normally leave to employees. Answering the phones and responding to emails may be a short-term solution, but don’t make a habit of it.
Instead, you should focus on reaching the next level in your business. Start thinking critically about who can do necessary tasks and the kinds of structural changes you need to implement to make things cost-effective and scalable.
And as you rebuild, make sure to distinguish between working in and working on your business. Let’s look at a few different ways you can do this.
1. Focus On People And Processes
Hiring the right team is crucial to rebuilding your business. You need to find people who have the skill sets you need, and from there, you can rely on them to build out the right processes for your business.
However, you also want to find someone who will be a good cultural fit for your business. Make sure you’re clear on what kind of culture you’re trying to build and the traits an employee should have to fit in. Knowing this will allow you to find competent employees who also have the values and interpersonal skills necessary to be an asset to your company.
2. Utilize Technology (Carefully)
It’s important to integrate technology into your business, but be careful not to lose sight of the customer experience. Our world is filled with technology, so finding ways to incorporate the human touch can be a key differentiator for your brand. Instead of replacing customer service with technology, find ways in which your technology can enhance the customer experience.
One way my own company has done this is by leveraging partnerships through our referral program. This program helps pair people who work with small businesses, such as bankers, commercial mortgages and real estate agents, with additional financing solutions. Smart technology and even smarter people have helped us build out a streamlined process that makes this more efficient than ever.
There are countless ways you can add value using technology, but this approach only works when you have prepared employees to guide the customers who need it.
3. Think ‘Big Picture’ Results And Audit Processes
To make lasting changes that help your business grow, you must consider results in the big picture. Of course, you need to check in on your business’s daily activities to ensure everything is on track, but don’t get bogged down in the details.
Instead, spend your time evaluating what’s working and what isn’t. From there, you can make process changes that will improve your day-to-day operations. Treating your small business like a franchise will ultimately help you move forward in the right direction and scale.
4. Consider Financing
Again, taking your business to the next level often means hiring the right people. This can be costly at first, but it’s usually worthwhile in the long run.
Financing can help you bring on more people, but you want to be sure it’s a good solution for your business. You can put yourself on the right track to finding the best financing option by first answering a few basic questions.
How much additional capital do you need to hire the right people? Will you be hiring several employees at once or making gradual hiring decisions as you scale and grow? Are there any other growth-related expenses that might require additional cash as you build your team?
When you need a substantial amount of capital, small-business loans that provide cash in a lump sum can be a good choice. For situations where you’ll make gradual hiring decisions as you go, a business line of credit may be the better option. With this flexible financing option, you can borrow from your total approved credit limit as you go, and only pay interest on what you take.
If you have the cash you need to hire more staff, then you may not need additional capital for this purpose. Nonetheless, having a business line of credit on the sidelines to cover sudden expenses can be quite valuable.
If you’re trying to rebuild your business, the most important thing you can do is take a step back. Stop getting wrapped up in the day-to-day operations and begin investing in the big-picture changes that will truly drive your business forward.
By focusing on the four steps outlined in this article, you’ll not only find a way to rebuild, but your business will be stronger, more adaptable and easily scalable as a result. In turn, this will leave you the time you need to create and innovate, which made your business successful in the first place.
When you think about the long-term growth of your small business, the cost of one employee likely won’t come close to the potential revenue from seizing new opportunities and finding direction for your company.