As we approach the first anniversary of COVID19, what have we (as a small business) learnt from it all. Here at Turlon & Associates, we have adapted and adopted a new way of working but most importantly a new mindset of working. It is not something we sat down and thought about greatly, we simply reacted to what we saw in front of us and reacted to what our clients needed also. It is interesting to read, as we continue with Covid-19 restrictions, a survey carried out by the Small Firms Association showed the following:
- 35 per cent of small businesses feel that the business environment is improving
- 33 per cent of small business are reporting a weakening
- the majority of small business have kept wages at their current levels or to award pay rises where the business performance allows.
But there is a sting in the tail, where a large proportion of business have reported having to decrease working hours, pause or cancel recruitment and let staff go temporarily, therefore,
it is not surprising that 14 per cent of small businesses are considering lowering pay rates. That is in stark comparison of nearly 61 per cent of small business continue to intend to grow their businesses through investing in their brand, staff and Brexit proofing their organisations, in the coming months.
So what this all say, simple really; small business are reacting and dealing with the changing landscape through three major initiatives:
- continued belief in there brand and a willingness to invest in what is already there. You have to believe wholeheartedly in what you have, otherwise it is time to shut the doors
- an acceptance of that the world of digital is the way fromward. The aim of any small business is to be able to use technology as a backbone for the business to guard against shocks like this in the future and use digitalisation to build resilience within the business and its practices. Digitalisation not only offers continuity but also gives a competitive advantage in the market.
- a desire to be innovative in how we work, approach people and most importantly how we deal with our business. It is not about being innovative on the brand, it is being innovative on how we deliver the brand.
For us, these are the three major things that we have learnt; belief in our brand, desire to explore the digital world and innovative in our practices.
Without wanting to lead this post down a merry road of optimism, one of the other things we have learnt in the past year is the value of a rainy day fund. By its very nature, it means having a reserve but to us, it is a little more than that. It is not just having a reserve, it is having a pipeline to fuel the fund as well as a fund to manage the ongoing operations of the business. This may not sound very ‘entrepreneur’ like, but it is a practice that allows you to be the entrepreneur. It’s what makes business both exciting and stressful but a good business model
will know the risks they take and we just make sure we have the backbone to follow it up. Having the right rainy day fund to help cover shortfalls can be the difference between making it through some hard times and finding your business on life support. It is like the army analogy, an army can’t march on an empty stomach; similarly a business can’t deliver on a stressed platform.
The road ahead is still uncertain, but there are certainly signals of optimism but it is how we approach it is so important. We have a firm belief that as a small business we need to invest in ourselves. This is not just financially but from a learning and acknowledging what we have come through. Lastly, we wish you well during this and do please feel free to reach out to us on [email protected] at any time. We would love nothing more.