Mimi Orji 34 minutes ago
Growing your small business through an economic downturn can be one of the most daunting things to do. Not only are you completely unsure of the next steps to take, sometimes, you’ll literally be unfamiliar with your next possible best shot.
And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Graphics Designer, a Content creator, Freelancer or just an Entrepreneur, when a new year looks uncertain, you might feel lost on what to do. And this might affect your business growth.
With the second wave of the Covid-19 infections sweeping around the world, coupled with uncertain economic projections and jamb runs ,there’s a lot to worry about. Because, for most people, over the past 12 months, life has not been the same again.
In spite of all this, for you as a digital entrepreneur, things might not be exactly too awry. Because, looking at the positive side, you still have a lot going for you. Now, calm down, let's explain this.
It’s true nothing beats the idea of seeing your clients physically, getting in direct contact with them or being able to go where you should without limitations… But, as a digital entrepreneur one of your foremost advantage is that the crisis has moved so many people to embrace virtual services.
With some pattern of lock downs and restrictions on movement, more and more people are embracing alternative ways to cater for their needs and stay in touch with their loved ones without leaving the comfort of their homes.
This situation presents you an opportunity to take care of your clients’ needs without being in contact with your clients.
As someone that’s already experienced in digital (virtual) business, what you should be doing right now is to find opportunities to excel above your competitors who are most reliant in providing these services offline. So, how exactly can you grow your business and excel above your competition in uncertain times?
To answer this question, I’m going to list below seven important steps that can help you to grow your small business through uncertain times.
Now, before we proceed, I want you to note that one thing about growth is change. Change accompanies growth all the time. If you really want to grow your small business through uncertain times then you need to accept the fact that whether we plan for it or not, a lot will always have to change along the way.
You may not know exactly what is going to happen but you have to be willing to embrace change right from your mind and then work on taking realistic risks that will help you scale through.
Of course a lot of the risks will show up before you will seem really daunting. But you will have to take some of them by all means.
So, before taking these risks, you want to be sure you’re doing the right thing. You want to think it through and measure it alongside your goals before settling for the most realistic ones.
Remember part of embracing change also involves changing your mindset about certain things concerning your business. For instance, if you were not really convinced you can ever make as much progress with your business online you need to start changing your mind towards that and begin to look at the possibility of what you can do online.
Analyze your prospects
Find out, what exactly are the variables you can control? What are the other ones you can’t really control? For instance, it’s possible you cannot control the effort the government of your country will put in dealing with the pandemic or any other situation that’s causing instability. At most you can only worry about these things.
On the other hand, you can control to a large extent the effort you put in promoting your business, people’s perception of your brand and the value you deliver to clients.
Instead of spending time worrying about the uncontrollable factors, focus on the ones within your power to control and do your best to shape these things as much as you can.
Set your goals
Now that you’ve embraced the sudden change that is going to affect your business, to grow your business through uncertain times, you need to set up new target and goals.
Begin to find out the things that’s now possible for you, with the current development. Also, out of these possibilities before you, find out the most important ones and then work on how to get this through as part of your business goals.
If the most realistic thing for you to do online at the moment is to create an avenue to make more sales then work on this efficiently. Whatever your goal is all about, be sure you set new and realistic goals that are now in line with your new realities.
Review your Existing System
To grow your business through uncertain times, at some point, you need to take a step back and take a look at your existing plans and systems, can they really sustain you with the current realities on ground?
Find out, what are the possible areas you can change or adjust to create a better outcome for both you and your clients?
As soon as you have found this, the next thing is to work on using the available data to adjust your mode of operation or create a new system that will help you to achieve your goals in line with the new realities.
Create realistic Plans
After creating your goals, you need a realistic business plan on how to achieve each and everyone of these goals. So, what are the plans for you?
Assuming your foremost goal is to make a million dollars sales this year, how do you intend to arrive at that goal with all the uncertainties on ground?
What are the things you will want to do in order to arrive at this?
If it’s about making sales calls, how many times will you have to make sales calls to get the number of clients that will buy from you so you can arrive at this figure?
You need to have a clear knowledge of this and then write it down.
If your goal is to get an X number of traffic for your blog at the end of the year for instance, your plans should cover the number of times you’ll post, promote, share your posts etc. It should cover everything you will do to achieve that goal in as much details as possible.
Remember, it might not be possible for you to have an exact idea of how you are going to achieve your goals. Sometimes more ideas will get to you as you get started on achieving the goals itself. With this in mind, you have to keep your plans as flexible as possible. And add up realistic ideas whenever they show up.
Start with the easiest Steps
If you want to keep the momentum that will help you achieve more and grow your business, you have to start with the easiest step or goal. Forget about starting with your hardest goals. That might be unrealistic. And if you fail to achieve the first goal, it might affect your morale and ability to achieve the others.
You need to chunk down your goals into easily achievable formats, based on your own reality. Forget about what other people are doing or saying. Your own reality is different. And if you really want to grow your business through uncertain times, you have to set achievable goals and then work your way to achievement, starting with the easiest.
Do not get things mixed up because you want to achieve so much. Work with what you know you can really achieve within a set time. You can always set more goals as the journey continues.
Review your Expenses
As you continue to review your priorities, you also need to re-analyze your expenditure as a business.
Considering that with the current realities, the things that matters to you before now will most likely not be as important as they were some months from now. You need to put this into perspective and then work on re-prioritizing your expenses.
For instance, if one of your most important expenses before now was about spending on advertising on physical newspapers and magazines, with the current situation you will have to re-prioritize the channels and expenses that matters most to you.
Same thing applies with all other areas of your business. You don’t have any business spending on expenses that do not yield results. You want to allocate your energy and resources to areas that will yield more results.
In the online world, there’s much need for authenticity. People want to know you for who you are, trust your brand and your ability to deliver on the services you claim before they can listen to you.
So, if you want to grow your business through uncertain times, you want to be more authentic, honest and real with your clients. If you’re a small or micro business or a business growing in an area with very little trust in online businesses you have a lot on your hands.
Beyond wanting to make your clients trust you, show them you have the capacity to deliver on their needs. It’s very important. Utilize social proof. Show off your testimonials. And be willing to go out of your way to make a client to trust you.
Also, always remember that whatever you’re building is not just about the current pandemic… The more clients you get to believe in your business, the more your chances at getting these clients to link you up with more clients, through word of mouth.
Innovate, find out better ways to serve your offline clients online.
If you really want to grow your business through uncertain times, you want to embrace the uncertainty itself. Instead of waiting for days that you will resume full offline services, find out, ways you can serve your clients far better, even when they can’t come in physical contact with you.
Can you create a memorable experience for them through a chat bot, real live chats, video calls or zoom meetings? Find out ways to deliver far more value to your client than your competition is doing.
Of course it might look difficult getting around this but, if churches could provide remarkable online services for their congregation throughout the lock down, you can get something close.
While this might not make up for a real physical business meeting, focus on creating an alternative experience that is suitable.
Get committed. It can be really daunting staying through to build your business through uncertain times but if there’s anything you need right now, it’s a sense of commitment to what you’re doing.
You need to be committed to your business and hustle. And beyond staying committed, you need to be willing to fail and still keep your head up high through it all.
The fact the world is going through uncertain times does not mean there’s completely no hope for you.
There’s a lot of hope. But if you must achieve anything, you have to match your hopes with your actions and a complete believe in your ability to scale through and achieve your goals. You have to be willing to survive through. And survive you will when you show commitment.
In conclusion, after taking all these steps to grow your business through turbulent times, be open to making mistakes.
A lot of us entrepreneurs are really scared of making mistakes and for that reason we hardly take risks. This is not good for growth. There’s going to be days you’ll make some decisions and afterwards you feel like you’ve really made mistakes. On those days, you don’t have to write off yourself. Remember that mistakes are part of the growth process. And then learn through the ones you can and move on.
But never ever give up on your self or the things you believe in because you feel the future is uncertain. Pull through it. Keep the drive and we’ll all come out of this stronger and far more experienced.