What a difficult year it has been for any business getting off the ground. Between social distancing, labor shortages and delivery disruptions, you really needed energy and perseverance to survive these challenges. Many successful businesses shuddered their doors not able to adapt to the unexpected changes or slash to their income.
Always Strive To Improve Yourself
Getting started poses many challenges on a normal day. Many work with the least expensive tools to get up and running often operating with money they’ve saved rather than a loan that takes great effort to secure. Inventory and manufacturing tracking software is likely must further down the list in acquisitions as young businesses tend to make do with Excel spreadsheets to track their inventory.
Yet, the advantage of being a startup is that you are not yet stuck in your ways. Making sales and making payroll may be at their most difficult right now, but that may also mean it will be much easier for you moving forward, when the challenges abate.
Workable Advices for Founders
The businesses that survived and thrived did so because they were willing to adapt. We can kick and scream all we want, but when the local government enforces fines or worse, that will only get you so far. This is not to suggest complacency, rather that it’s a time to make lemonade out of the lemons. Here are a few ways companies did this over the past year:
- Stagger employees work schedules to meet social distancing requirements
- Set employees up to work securely from a remote location
- Set protocols to make employees feel comfortable. If you are concerned your work force might dwindle during a viral spike, interview candidates.
- Use online conferencing tools to conduct office and customer meetings
- Research alternative suppliers (local ones are best)
- Stock up on non-perishable inventory items
- Add new sales channels to your marketing mix
- Come up with new solutions to reach people online
Each industry faces its own challenges. Restaurants and any event-based business dealt with the impossible, yet some restauranteurs survived by creating meal delivery services.
A champagne manufacturer started shipping bottles to the homes of wedding guests to celebrate with a virtual toast – now that’s creativity!
Ask yourself whether any of these ideas might fit your business:
- Can you increase sales with an ecommerce store?
- Can you offer free delivery thus compete with big box stores?
- Can you offer an incentive for choosing your business, either a volume discount or sale price?
- Can you create variations of your product to reach more people?
- Is there a creative way to operate while still following the rules?
- Could your product or service thrive in a new vertical market?
The more versatile you are willing to be the likelier you are to persevere in the face of adversity. Just when we have become used to our new “normal”, new expectations and regulations are thrown at us again. If a startup is going to evolve into an established business through all these changes, you’ve got to be willing to ride the waves and not let them knock you over.
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