If you are on the verge of launching your own small business, then we can only imagine how stressful the last year or so has been for you. We all know that anyone starting their own company is at the mercy of the marketplace to some extent, but the waters have never been as turbulent as they have been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone hopes for the smoothest possible launch but that has hardly been on the cards since March 2020. However, this summer has finally shown us some reasons to be cheerful. More and more people are getting vaccinated, businesses are reopening, and it feels like we are starting to see something that looks like a return to normality.
However, anyone who has been following the news in the last eighteen months or so knows that the pandemic is not the only thing that can throw obstacles in the way of a fledgling business. There are a number of issues on the horizon that are causes for concern, in addition Coronavirus’ continued potential to wreak more havoc on the business landscape. You need to make sure that you have your bases covered and that you are ready for whatever challenges the end of 2021, and the start of 2022 will throw at you. Here are a few tips to help you make sure that you are making the most of all your assets and that you have the flexibility you need.
Anticipate Issues Before They Arise
There has been no shortage of issues that we have witnessed in the last few months alone that feel like they should have been foreseeable. There have been plenty that were foreseeable, and which happened anyway. You don’t need a pandemic to derail a business and there have been a series of issues that have caused already vulnerable companies, still reeling from the impact of COVID-19, to raise the alarm that hard times are still here. The numerous supply issues that have occurred because of the twin forces of the pandemic and Brexit are the best example. We have seen a massive shortage of HGV drivers, and in turn we have seen empty shelves, supermarkets warning about rising prices and unavailable items, and fast-food chains announcing that they can’t offer chicken or milkshakes.
You may not feel like these specific issues affect your business, but the fact of the matter is that there will be ways in which these major upheavals hit home one way or another. How can you stay ahead of them? Building in flexibility is ideal, but it is not always an option. Keep following the news, keep talking to your experts such as your accountant and your lawyer to go through worst case scenarios, and remember that you need to focus on what lies ahead as much as the issues at hand.
Look For Smart Ways To Save
We are all doing our best to look on the bright side right now but only a very foolhardy entrepreneur would think that this is a smart time to splash the cash where you don’t need to. When you are first launching, there is always the temptation to go big on your investments. This is your baby, after all, and it makes sense that you would want to pay to get the best. But we all need to be keeping one eye on our budgets and looking for those little, or big, ways to save will absolutely help you if things get more difficult a month or two down the line. The office is obviously a big expense, but what about all those other business-related costs?
Don’t be afraid to go hunting for the best possible deals on everything from your energy bills to your shipping costs. Talk to your accountant about what kind of tax breaks you can be applying for, and what kind of costs you can avoid at this early stage. Take phone plans, for example. The work phone is one of those things that you cannot do without, but there is no reason why you should be paying for more than you need. A SIM only plan will give you all the essentials without tying you into costs for bundles that you are never going to use. Lebara offers a wide range of different SIM only plan options that can be tailored to suit your business’ specific requirements. With no credit checks and 30-day rolling plans, there are no strings attached.
Do You Really Need An Office?
For a very long time, the office has been something for small businesses to aspire to. It is a status symbol as much as anything else, a statement that you are here and that you mean business, literally. It is somewhere to welcome potential clients and somewhere to put on your email signature. Of course, there are plenty of practical benefits to having everyone under the same roof too. But when the world locked down back in March 2020, everyone was forced to consider the idea that maybe the office was not as essential as we had assumed it was. We all had to figure out how to keep moving forward while working remotely because there was no other choice.
Even now, as many businesses consider the return to the old workplace, or have already started the procedure to get everyone back in, a lot of people are still asking the question: is this really going to help us? If you are just starting your business now, flexibility is going to be absolutely crucial. An office is a big expense to commit to, and if there is another major rise in cases or another lockdown, you may have to give it up soon after you’ve paid for it. You should also consider that not committing to a physical location may actually help you find people who are better suited to their roles from all over the country.
Focus On Your Online Presence
One of the best ways that you can give your new business the best possible foothold is to start working on your online presence right now. So many businesses were forced to pivot to online out of necessity during the lockdowns, but if you incorporate your online strategy into your business plan straight out of the gate, you will give yourself a big advantage.
Start by making sure that your website is easy to use and easy on the eye. Avoid templates that look like having a home page was an afterthought. Work on your SEO strategy now by creating content that demonstrates your expertise and what sets you apart from the competition. Remember that Google factors user experience into how they determine search rankings, so don’t just fill blog posts with key words and leave it at that.
Start building your social media presence as soon as possible. Keep in mind that this is one of the best ways to get your brand name out there and to interact with your core audience. Engage with your customers and start working on your brand persona. Research which channels your target audience uses and prioritise those. Everyone can spot an insincere brand social media channel so make sure yours has a real personality.