How To Invest In Your Business During Slow Times
The best way to spend your time and energy when times are tough
As we await the full impact of the Coronavirus, many business owners are faced with unforeseen pressures. But also, we believe, a nugget of opportunity.
In this blog post, we’re exploring three ways you can invest in your business during slow times.
Spoiler alert: none of these involves spending loads of money!
Why you should use this time wisely
For those lucky enough to have a remote-working-friendly job, the business might be ticking along as usual.
Big Domino Marketing is a 100% online business, with all of our staff working as hard as normal (if not harder right now) and we are fortunate to have retained most of our client base during the pandemic.
But your business might not be so lucky.
Apart from the obvious choice to migrate some of your business online (which we suggest in this blog here) there are other things you can do right now that will greatly benefit your business once your doors open.
3 Ways to Invest in Your Business Right Now
1. Train Your Staff
We have absolutely zero doubt that you are performing functions in your business that can be delegated to someone else.
But we can just as easily predict that you’ve never had the time to train them on how to do it to your expectations and high standards.
Well, that excuse is out the door now.
This is the perfect time to train your staff to take over some of the more mundane tasks you’ve been wasting your energy on for ages.
Quite often, these are important tasks that need to be done by someone competent, however, they don’t necessarily tie in with income-generating activities.
In other words, things you should pass on so that you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
Technology has made it easy to schedule online training sessions with your staff. Use Zoom, Google Hangouts or whatever works best for you.
This is how you invest in your business by spending time and expertise, but without spending money.
There are two important reasons to do this:
1) You will delegate tasks so that you can work on things that really move the needle in your business
2) You will be showing your staff member/s that you value them, you trust them to take more responsibility and that they are a valuable member of your team.
It goes without saying that you should train staff that show the aptitude, attitude and inclination to be good at that task.
If the task is extremely detail-orientated and technical, you’ll need to assign a staff member who is already detail-orientated and meticulous in their work.
Play to their strengths and up-skill them, so that you can work on other things.
2. Revamp your Business and Processes
Admin. It’s every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare.
Now, if you’re lucky, you’ve passed on much of the admin duties to other staff members, as suggested in point 1 above.
However, to truly invest in your business and take a long-term view of its future success, you need to examine your processes. And oftentimes this means going through the nitty-gritty of paperwork that accumulates with running your own business.
This is something that you’d normally never have time to do because you’ve in the trenches every day keeping the company running and the customers happy.
But maybe now you have a gap.
Take some time to ask yourself these hard-hitting questions:
1. Where am I losing business to my competition?
2. How can I simplify how we handle ordering, manufacturing, delivering, creating, fill in the blank.
3. Are we doing things because that’s how it’s always been done? Can we revolutionise the way we do things?
4. What do we get wrong? What trend/s can I see when I look at the customer complaints?
5. Where am I the bottleneck? How can I remedy this?
6. What are we wasting money on? Where can we cut back?
The answers to these questions in themselves will take you many hours and days to implement.
But think about how answering these questions will improve your business going forward?
The key to this exercise is to look honestly and critically at your business, yet have a solution-orientated and problem-solving attitude towards it.
The time spent making changes will not be wasted. Changes that improve efficiency, uplift staff morale and reduce risk of error are always worth the effort to implement.
When you invest in your business like this, you can truly take it to the next level because you’ve optimised your processes.
A quick word on cost-cutting
This can be an emotionally-charged subject, because, in certain situations, you might have no choice but to retrench staff members to keep your business afloat.
Likewise, you might feel the need to immediately dispense of all luxuries to quickly save some money.
There’s nothing wrong with this but we want to share what we’ve done instead.
Our approach has been to look at the business first.
Where is the business wasting money?
For example, we’ve cancelled subscriptions to numerous products and platforms that we signed up for, but don’t really use all that much.
These are always charged in Dollars so we are already saving quite a bit of money there.
We believe in creating and seizing opportunities (yes, even in tough times), so we’ve launched a new course to generate extra income and we’re onboarding new clients to keep things ticking over.
Again, it depends on the industry, but the point we’re trying to make is that we’re doing everything in our power to cut jobs absolutely last. We’re thinking long term, not short term.
Because this pandemic will end.
The choice lies with you, and your unique situation, but we encourage you to look at cost-cutting (and money-generating) activities with an open mind to finding new opportunities and ways to generate additional revenue.
3. Create Killer Content
Another thing you probably have very little time for, but costs very little, is content creation.
We’ve said it a million times, but if your ideal customer can’t find you online, your business is pretty much invisible.
We’re not saying you have to be active on all the platforms. But pick one and go all-in.
Here’s a blog explaining the main focus of the most popular platforms.
Creating content can be a pain, especially if you don’t think you’re all that creative or photogenic.
So maybe work with someone on your team who enjoys social media and come up with a month’s worth of pictures, captions, blog posts, videos or whatever you do best.
For some great tips on how to get good content creation ideas, click here.
Now is a great time to give away high-quality information for free, to attract an audience and for your brand to be seen as likeable and trustworthy.
Social media is also a way to invest in your business, because it helps you gain credibility in the eyes of your potential customers.
The Takeaway on how to invest in your business
Entrepreneurs are a special breed of people because they tend to tackle challenges head-on.
In fact, they welcome hard times, because they know that more people become a success out of adversity than when things are smooth-sailing.
There are many ways you can invest in your business when times are slow. Doing so will position your business for better days to come.
Use this time and don’t give in to despair. Adopt a can-do attitude even though things might be exceedingly difficult.
Things will get better.
This will pass.
But in the meantime…
Are you going to use these tips and invest in your business?
Originally published at https://blog.bigdomino.co.za on April 29, 2020.