This past year has been insane — COVID-19, wildfires, riots, killer bees, the list goes on. These unexpected events have turned the world as we knew it upside down. It’s hard to imagine any business could finish as strong as it anticipated at the start of the year, yet there are still things you can do to help your business finish the year stronger than you started.
Set Goals and Build a Plan
A lot has changed over the course of the year. Your goals have most likely changed too, and that’s perfectly fine. To finish the year off strong, you should decide what you want to accomplish by the end of the year and set SMART goals. SMART goals will ensure your objectives are tangible and reasonable for the timeframe left. Share your business’s goals with your staff and post them around the office where everyone can see them. This helps keep your team stay focused, motivated and moving toward your collective objectives together. Once you have your goals, it’s time to make a plan to achieve them.
Most businesses created a business plan for the year last winter. Unfortunately, this is not the same world or business climate you started in when building your plan. If you haven’t already, the best thing you can do for your business is to reevaluate your business plan and make adjustments based on your new goals.
We know that COVID-19 and the other events of 2020 have created major obstacles for businesses. To maintain and increase sales, you’re going to have to get creative. Don’t be afraid to adjust or try out new business models/strategies.
For instance, people aren’t out and about like they were pre-COVID-19. If possible, consider building and promoting an online store. According to Digital Commerce 360, online merchants gained an extra $107 billion this year as a result of the pandemic. Starting or expanding an online store will help you reach customers who can’t physically get out right now or make your brand available to people outside or your normal market area.
Another way companies have maintained or increased sales is by altering product/service offerings. For example, restaurants have started expanding delivery and curbside pickup options by adding the service or partnering with companies like DoorDash and Uber Eats. We have seen similar adjustments in other industries as well. Auto manufacturers started producing respirators, the spirits industry has been creating hand sanitizer, and furniture and office supply companies are making partitions for offices and restaurants. These offerings don’t have to be permanent, but they can be great for bringing in new business while providing necessary products and services.
On the converse, it can be a strong business move to limit product and service offerings. Majority of locally owned restaurants have condensed their menus for COVID-19 to cut back on costs. Additionally, clothing stores and other retailers have also limited their variety of goods to focus on more popular items.
Adjustments are going to vary from business to business. At the end of the day, you have to do what works best for your business. Take the time to plan the rest of the year so you can maximize your bottom line.
As a business owner or manager, you know how stressful this year has been. Your employees are also feeling the pressure and probably are experiencing some form of burnout heading into the fourth quarter. Reenergizing your staff is a good way to ensure you finish the year strong. Reenergizing and motivating staff can be accomplished through a number of methods.
First, start by acknowledging their stress and burnout. By having an open dialogue with your staff, you can come up with helpful ways to incorporate fun, stress-relieving activities into the workplace. Some easy de-stressors you can incorporate are daily walks with co-workers, meditation time, trivia or (virtual) happy hours. Allowing time to unwind and relax at work is key to keeping employees motivated and moving forward.
Another way to motivate staff is through incentives. Giving bonuses, time off, gift cards or some other form of incentive can help encourage employees power through the end of the year. Although these gestures seem small, they will make your staff feel valued for their hard work and show you appreciate all they do, especially during this difficult year.
Keep Promoting your Business
When money gets tight, one of the first things businesses want to drop to save funds is their marketing and promotions. This is a bad strategy because effective and thoughtful advertising has been proven to increase sales despite recession and other economic barriers, according to Zimmer Communications. By meeting your customers or potential customers where they are at, you have the opportunity to bring in new customers, increase sales and speed up the purchasing process.
At SaveOn, we’re devoted to helping businesses be as successful as possible by connecting them to new customers and promoting product and service offerings at the hyperlocal level. To learn more about how our team can help your business reach your goals, visit saveon.com/business.