Short term tips for SMEs during these uncertain times

Many SME owners are understandably feeling concerned about the next few months and adapting to the new normal. According to a recent poll by Vistage, a business mentorship organisation, almost half (44.9%) of UK SMEs are concerned about their immediate business proposition during the COVID19 pandemic.

At times like these the value for SME leaders and owners to obtain support from their peers through networking groups and associations such as the SME club will help them cope and also provide guidance to each during this difficult period.

While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic does seem to be showing signs of slowing down in the UK, businesses are not experiencing the same relief and the economic impact of this situation will continue for many more months.  As we enter a new phase of normal, business leaders are looking for the steps they should take to adjust and pivot in this time of crisis.

Below are some tips to help you manage your SME in the short term as we adapt and manage the new normal.

Manage your Employees wellbeing

Not matter what the size of your team it is important to look after your employees and make sure they are coping and up to date with the company and any changes during this new normal. Remember to show them empathy and try and be as flexible as you can as everyone is experiencing a lot of uncertainty at present. They may be having to re-learn or have completely new jobs in a new strange and stressful environment.

SME owners and leaders need to lead from the front and ensure the business is operation well whilst trying to offer some form of normalcy to help their employees cope. Whether that be advice for employees understanding the government support during furlough, or parents struggling to manage work with home schooling.

Listen to your clients/customers  SME owners need to maintain, build and nurture their relationships with their client base and also key suppliers. It has never been more important to keep your customers up to date and involved in the business during this time whilst making it clear that you understand their situation and that you are willing to collaborate and be flexible with them during this period. Offering a flexible service and payment terms now will build a long term loyalty from all your clients. Also make it clear the business is well placed to adapt to the new normal opportunities and learn from the current challenges. By nurturing these relationships now, your business will highlight that you are aiming to come out of this crisis stronger and better.

Adapt your business model

There’s a need for all SMEs to innovate and remain sensitive to consumer needs. The pandemic has hastened the desire and need for change in many industry sectors and is already forcing many companies to rethink their operation, staff, requirements and also core purpose. Many SME owners are juggling many plates at the moment and innovating maybe hard to manage but it is essential to make time for this and ask your customers what they need. For example, the migration from shop front retail to ecommerce has been looming for a long time and the current pandemic has certainly accelerated this demand.

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