While small businesses are frequently focused on transforming through growth, external circumstances that are out of their control can prevent them from doing so. There are four trends right now, not industry-specific, that can help your organization pivot during times of crisis. It comes down to how quickly you react to optimize your business processes instead of planning for an unknown future.
Strategically pivot your business with an emphasis on protecting cash and building a multi-stream revenue strategy. Take a look at all planned expenses for the year — don’t be conservative when making changes. Here are some areas you can look at:
- Planned investments, future hiring, travel, and entertainment are things that can be put on hold right now
- Put aside events and team-building exercises, so you can shift that cash towards employees that keep your company running
- Ask your team to volunteer to work reduced hours before furloughing to get through tough times
- Identify technology tools and software packages that you won't need with a reduced workforce
- Look at your planned service or product expansion, and determine if it will help increase revenue or if the cost is too much of an investment without proven ROI
- Look at building out a revenue strategy with multiple options for bringing in revenue — don't rely on just a single option to cover your bases
Integrate Data across all business systems to help you make quick and informed business decisions.
- Figure out where all of your data comes to help identify sources of truth, then build an integrated approach that reduces manual reporting. Take advantage of automated processes
- Integrate finance, sales, and customer service for a full 360° view of your customer, which allows you to sell better, invest, and divest as needed
- Integrated finance and sales data allows transparency in sales activities for commissioning and up-sales activities
- Integrated finance and sales data also gives you the ability to see who’s paying and when. You can determine where you need to collect or adjust net payment terms to meet your immediate cash flow needs, all while honoring your customers' challenges as well
Move from on-premise to cloud solutions for cost savings and efficiency in ongoing support and administration.
- Moving from an on-premise to cloud solution allows you to support a system without necessarily needing to have specialized full-time talent onsite. No ongoing maintenance is needed from IT: instead, there is a System Admin role which can be internal or external to your organization
- Lower operational costs: low upfront capital investment, which means no hardware purchases along with the ability to scale by subscription models and users
- Growth is easy to manage and scale as you can add virtual infrastructure as needed; you do not need to buy ahead, so this help to save on costs
- Remote working is easy as employees have flexibility to log in from anywhere
- It's easier to connect interfaces from vendor to vendor when everything is SaaS-based
Rightsize your cloud-based licensing within your SaaS architecture to ensure you are using what you paid for, and so you can maximize your investment or divest.
- Subscription models allow for a cost-effective and customizable entry approach
- They're highly adaptable and maintainable with less money spent on resources (like on-premise infrastructure and talent); there's no need for big servers or hard-wired infrastructure
- Rightsize the number of licenses you are using today to ensure you are maximizing your cash investment in the product and not overpaying for licenses that aren’t being used
- If your renewals are coming up, negotiate different payment terms or contract duration so you can manage the risk and keep cash now. Many product companies are happy to work with customers to help them stay adopted into their investment
In a time of crisis, one of the most important things you can do for your business is focused on optimizing and working with what you have to maintain a lean organization. Once your business finds solid footing and stability, you should have the ability to start putting cash in reserves, which is a great indicator that your business is ready to transform and move towards that next goal.
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