Stay relevant post-pandemic: 6 changes for SMEs to adopt

Stay relevant post-pandemic: 6 changes for SMEs to adopt

Business Development

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

23 Nov 2020, 12:15 — 6 min read

The coronavirus pandemic has been a big wake-up call for businesses. SMEs are fast realising that they need to be agile, run a lean business and adopt smart technology to safeguard their business interests and ensure uninterrupted growth.

Here are 6 tips for SMEs to sustain and grow as they move forward.

1. Figure out how customer needs have changed

As an SME, you ought to consider that people are building new habits right now. Normal routines have been disrupted and it is important to figure out how to continue to offer services that deliver value in order to remain a part of customers’ lives, during and after the crisis.

Think hard about how the post-pandemic world will change your business and include your customers in your future planning. Reach out to them to learn how their lives have changed and figure out how you can add value to their lives. Explore the fact that there is a growing dependence on online experiences and this trend seems to be here to stay.

Also read: New paradigm for people and business


2. Innovate your business model

For traditional SMEs, this is a chance to change dramatically. It is time to reassess business models and use technology to gain access to larger markets and drive productivity. Businesses have no choice but to adopt digital technology faster, as that is the only way to survive and thrive in the new normal.

Many organisations have had to shift to remote-working models almost overnight. A remote setup allows businesses to leverage global expertise, organise team meetings across geographies, and respond to customer inquiries more rapidly through digital support. The remote work trend is now substantial enough to reconsider current business models.

Here are some examples of how Covid-19 has impacted and reshaped business models:

  • Online consultation by doctors, dentists, and physiotherapists is becoming the new norm.
  • Online education is here to stay. Students can access the best teachers in the world from the comfort of their homes.
  • Conferences now have a significantly higher reach and wider scope. In the virtual space the number of attendees is larger, speakers can be from different geographies and access is easier.
  • Every neighbourhood grocery store is considering leveraging eCommerce to provide their customers with the ability to order online. Many other businesses are following suit.
  • Garment manufacturers have pivoted to making PPE, masks and uniforms.
  • Most restaurants are pivoting to a dine-in and deliver model.

Also read: Taking your business online: An economic necessity


3. Adopt zero-based budgeting

You need to focus not just on increasing sales, but also on decreasing expenses for a healthier bottom line. One of the best strategies to reduce costs is by incorporating a ‘zero-based budget’ assessment. This process requires you to justify expenses for each new period. It helps determine spending outlays that must continue for baseline operations of the business, and expenses that can be reconsidered or put on hold until there is additional revenue.


4. Build your brand

As an SME, you must transform your business mindset from a transactional approach to a brand building approach. Brand innovators seek to create relationships that are more collaborative and inclusive. This approach earns greater trust and loyalty from customers and creates long-term retention. A good example of this is Airbnb. In the hospitality industry, there is generally a clear demarcation between ‘host’ and ‘guest’. Airbnb has managed to create a human to human or citizen to citizen bond, making it a tough business to replace.


Also read: How to build an evergreen brand


5. Reduce real estate assets

A significant expense to companies is rent. After many businesses have migrated to Work from Home (WFH) scenarios, the dependency on physical locations is being questioned and re-evaluated. For many small businesses, WFH has led to greater productivity for a number of reasons including reduced commute time.

If it is conducive for your organisation’s working model, do assess the feasibility of permanent remote working, as this can be financially beneficial.

6. Automate processes to increase efficiency

Business process automation involves using technology to execute recurring tasks, thereby minimising manual labour and reducing spends on manpower. One of the key business processes that can be easily automated is related to employee management, such as logging in, leave approval, and expenses approval; sales and CRM process; automating tracking and collection of payment dues; and customer support.

Before undertaking any initiatives to automate your processes, be sure to assess your current Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Any potential change should be measurable to ensure overall benefit.

Share with us your suggestions for SME businesses to remain relevant and profitable, and about how your business has pivoted during the pandemic.

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