Here we are at October 2020. So far this year you have made it through the summer bushfires, end of financial year, transformation of the workplace due to COVID-19 and are most likely still experiencing the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

Given we are only a couple of months away from the new year, now is the ideal time to take stock and look at what processes and procedures you can sure-up or optimise to ensure that your business can survive a year that has been full of challenges, and more importantly, thrive in the upcoming one.

Whether the challenges of COVID-19 end soon or stretch into the long-term, other new challenges will inevitably arise. That’s why it’s vital that you are always ready to assess, review and pivot your business so you can weather any storms that might come your way.

Whilst every business is unique, outlined below are 10 tips to help your business move forward and grow in this year and beyond, regardless of industry:

Tip 1: Outsource when possible

Outsource tasks that you are not good at and don’t try to cut costs by doing everything yourself. It is important to take proper and professional advice in relation to business insurance, accounting and tax, and of course any legal concerns or issues that may arise. In relation to insurance, find a good broker or call your existing broker to check that your policy includes coverage for business interruptions or other provisions that may help you in difficult times. It may also be a good time to take advice on whether your current cover is the right one for your business now and looking into the future. Recent changes in the business environment may have affected the number of employees that you have or the type of operations and activities you are running, all of which can affect the type of cover you need.

Tip 2: Take the COVID-19 restrictions seriously and implement them in your business.

If you operate from a physical location, consider whether asking visitors to sign a COVID-19 waiver would be appropriate or prudent. As an example, COVID-19 waivers can include provisions such as “You acknowledge that visiting our premises carries with it the risk of exposing yourself to COVID-19, which you voluntarily assume” and “You agree to indemnity and hold us harmless from any damages that may be incurred from your visit to our Premises.” Whether such a waiver is appropriate for your business will depend on your premises and the people who are visiting.

Tip 3: Bring in the money!

Cash flow in business is key and even if profits are low it is a good time to recover outstanding bills, get on top of your books and call in any retainers, deposits or bonds that are being held by third parties.

If cash flow is an issue, consider what credit facilities or refinancing options are available to your business. Your accountant may be able to advise you on whether you qualify for any new stimulus initiatives or tax credits that you are not aware of. There are also a number of Small Business Grants being offer by the NSW Government and private organisations that may be able to give your business a cash injection and allow you to continue to grow.

Tip 4: Keep existing customers happy

Attracting new customers costs 5x more than nurturing current ones, so for a business to thrive over the long-term, maintaining strong client relationships and repeat sales is essential. Not only does this keep your cashflow consistent, but a happy customer is more likely to refer you to other new customers, bringing you free word of mouth marketing for your business.

Tip 5: The chase is on

Often during challenging times, business development grinds to a halt. However choosing to stop does nothing but place your business on the track to closure. No matter how difficult or resistant the market may seem, it is imperative that you continue your business development efforts. Securing a few new projects or new clients may prove easier than initially thought, and it will go a long way to boosting you and your team’s morale ( and your bottom line).

Tip 6: Astute financial management

Finance is the lifeblood of any business. You need to ensure that your finances are managed properly during challenging times if you want to achieve business growth. Analyse your balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statements regularly to help keep business expenses under control. It’s also important to take the time to review how you spend your money with the goal of reducing certain expenses whilst investing more in areas that will help you make more profit. 

Tip 7: Reassess your marketing

There is no doubt that the market landscape has transformed throughout this year. Household incomes and consumer spending habits have changed, and how consumers spend is vastly different to just a year ago. This evolution calls for a review and update of your marketing plan and initiatives. Right now, taking advantage of digital marketing to drive customer engagement, build brand awareness, deliver customer service and more has never been more important.

Tip 8: Invest in the business

One of the surest ways to grow your business is to invest in it. Investing in the business can mean many different things, from upgrading your website, upskilling employees, buying new technology and more. Investing in your business should deliver benefits over the long-term as not only will your business look more impressive, but it should operate more efficiently too, helping to increase its overall profitability.

Tip 9: Invest in yourself

Investing in you is just as important as investing in the business. Whether this means learning new skills through seminars, online training, mentoring, coaching, or returning to education to further your knowledge and qualifications, its important to always be growing and developing new skills to add value to your business.

Tip 10: Last but not least…self-care.

It is all too easy to prioritise business, clients and other commitments during challenging times. However it is exactly at these times of high stress that you should prioritise yourself. By taking the time for self-care, you will be better able to manage stress and be in a healthier mental and physical state, which will enable you to bring your best self to work. Whatever self-care looks like to you – whether it be the beach, exercise, short getaway, meditation etc. – it is worth the investment as you will bring a better mindset, more clarity and increased productivity to work.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a testing year for business. Nonetheless, by taking the time to ensure your financials are in control, current clients are happy, marketing is up to date whilst maintaining a future-focused approach to your business, should help to make the remainder of 2020, and upcoming 2021 a period of success for your business.

Antcliffe Scott Lawyers.