Questions to ask as your small business recovers from COVID-19
As small business owners look to operations after COVID-19, there are some important business questions to ask. These questions will help you determine what adaptations you want to keep, whether your business model is working, and if there are additional changes you want to make to keep your company operational through future economic downturns.
It’s not always fun to do this sort of examination, but the answers to these questions will help you to make the best possible decisions for the future.
1. What worked and what didn’t work in my business model?
Almost all small business owners had to make changes to their business model. Whether it was hosting meetings with clients on Zoom, learning about encryption technology to allow employees access to sensitive information from home, offering restaurant food for take-out or managing dance classes online, most small businesses adapted in some way.
Did I have to adapt my business model? Did I alter my goods or services in any way? Did I change how my premises are used? Did these adaptations enhance my business in some way? Do these changes highlight gaps in my business model that should be addressed? Should I make some of these adaptations permanent?
Maybe you have a lot of clients who would prefer to have meetings online rather than face-to-face. Perhaps offering classes online is a way to reach out to students or clients who can’t attend weekly sessions in person. There may be perfectly good reasons to continue with a revised business model.
2. Do I need to make changes to my supply chain?
You have some control over your supply chain, but not a lot. Disruptions happen and they can drastically affect your business.
Review how the various components in your supply chain reacted to the pandemic and whether they helped your business or hurt it.
Did the suppliers in my supply chain remain open and transparent with me? Did they reach out to me to discuss revising our agreement? Were they reasonable in their expectations and willing to work with me? Do I need to have alternate arrangements or back-up plans in case there are future supply chain disruptions?
Your supply chain has a huge impact on your business. Trusting your suppliers and knowing you can work with them will allow you to feel more secure in the future.
3. How has my staff adapted?
Your staff has faced a great deal of stress and uncertainty during COVID-19, due to professional and personal concerns. Team members may have had to transition to new ways of working—at home, on a new schedule, or with new policies and procedures in place.
Are there changes to how my staff works that I could continue to implement? Should I provide additional training for staff? Have I communicated openly with them? How adaptable was my team?
One benefit from having employees work from home more days a week is that such opportunities for remote working can boost employee morale while saving you money. Now that you’ve invested in the technology to allow staff to work from home, is it worth it to allow this scenario to continue, even a few days a week?
In addition to looking at your business, take a look at your customers and clients. Were they supportive of your business during this time? Did they turn elsewhere? Did they respect the changes you made to your business or the policies you put in place?
Each of the above questions—about your business model, your supply chain, your staff and your customers—will help you make informed decisions about the best way to run your business as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.