As we enter one of the most turbulent periods of our history with the aftermath of the Pandemic, withdrawal from Europe yet to be fully worked out, war in Ukraine showing no signs of ending, rampant energy prices and the highest inflation rate for decades, now is the time to get your business in order by doing these four simple checks.
1. Study your finances carefully. This doesn’t mean quickly scanning the spreadsheet your accountant/bookkeeper/partner emails over to you once a month (or event less!). Business finance can be kept very simple: put yourself first, figure out how much you need to live on, then work backwards from there to understand how much you need to turn over. With rapidly rising prices, you really need to be looking both at your household budget and your business finances much more often. Those price rises also need to be factored into your pricing.
2. Have some form of business plan. In such an uncertain world, you cannot rely on guesswork, past performance as well as tried and tested ways of working. The rules of business are changing rapidly, as technology transforms both our daily lives and the way in which human beings now interact with one another. Therefore, it is essential that you have some form of plan for how you are going to run your business over the next 6/12/24 months and perhaps beyond (if you are looking to sell or retire).
3. Measure your performance online. With so many channels, audiences and pieces of content being posted, even the smallest business needs to measure how well it is doing online. This is known as your ‘digital footprint’. From understanding how your website is working to analysing how well your social media sites are performing, it is vital that you have a handle on your digital presence. At the same time, just looking at the customer experience people have with your brand/product online will tell you so much about how well (or not) you are doing. It is also a great idea to see what your competitors are up to!
4. Keep learning. There are now so many resources available to businesses – many of them completely free. YouTube is an incredible learning hub, Meta offers a range of free Blueprint courses, Alphabet has its own Google Garage courses whilst many business support organisations will offer a range of completely free workshops and seminars. The key thing is to keep learning new ideas, fresh ways of doing business and how to stay ahead in a rapidly changing marketplace.
For almost all organisations, there is now no such thing as ‘business as usual’. Whilst your financial performance may not be affected this year by the changing economic conditions, there will come a time when you become uncompetitive or even worse, unviable as a business. So, make those changes now, no matter how painful or uncomfortable they may be.