We’ve all had an intense ride this year, from unexpected changes of plan to being required to redefine all of our strategies. Nowhere has this been more prevalent than in the business world. And those who own small businesses have likely felt it the most deeply.
Your attitude when dealing with the unexpected is truly what can make all the difference. It can allow you to make the best of what you have to work with, and even finding new ways to thrive! But, it can also sap your energy, and in turn, your confidence.
So, what do you really want? How do you see your business unfolding over the next year, two years, or decade? These are the important questions to be asking right now. And you have the unprecedented opportunity to do so, right now!
The hallmark of your task list as a small business owner for the rest of the year can be summed up in one word: flexibility. And we mean flexibility in your mind and attitude, as well as your business practices. Finding ways to cut costs, develop greater efficiency, and support your team are the ways you will find success this year, and for years to come.
Many business owners are looking at what makes the most sense for them during this time, and deciding whether to have a physical location or go virtual can be one of the most important considerations. Artisans, writers, coaches, and digital content creators find great success in moving their businesses to a remote setting. This allows for maximum productive uses of time and low overhead – no reason to spend money designing and maintaining a storefront when your customers have an even better experience receiving your services and interacting with your staff on a virtual platform.
Instead, focus on investing in a website designed with the user experience in mind, as well as virtual project management platforms to help your team manage their tasks. This can be an excellent way to keep in touch with your team and support them in supporting you. Also, a website that is easy to use will allow your customers (and potential customers) to feel at ease exploring your offerings and to feel great about their purchases.
However, if you are the type of business that requires a storefront to deliver your services effectively, looking into maintaining and designing your space can be a critical step to ensure the success of your venture. You can start with the “bones”: the roof, the walls, the windows, the rockwork, and the landscaping.
Though it may seem simple, taking a few moments to walk around your storefront from the perspective of your employees and clients can make all the difference. It can be difficult to see what you offer from the perspectives of others, especially when you have been the one leading the way. However, failing to change your perspective is a huge mistake. You aren’t the one who is going to be purchasing your product or services – your clients are! And your employees are the ones who ended to believe in the services enough to promote them to your community.
It might sound basic, but ensuring that the structure that houses your business is sound can save you considerable costs. It also makes a massive impact on your customers. We as humans are very sensitive to our environments, and coming into a business space that is well-maintained, tastefully appointed, and promotes a feeling of safety and security can make all the difference. Customers who feel safe and nurtured are more likely to return and recommend their friends and loved ones to patronize your business.
So, where do you start? Go outside and take a look at your building. Do your roofs and gutters look clean, waterproof, and well-functioning? If your roof is a little worse for the wear, a professional roof replacement can be the quickest way to add value to your building. It will also protect your building (and its contents) from undue damage, which will save you maintenance and repair costs down the line.
Also, take a walk around your indoor space. Is there enough light and fresh air? Light and fresh air are immensely crucial for the health, happiness, and longevity of your employees and customers. While you’re at it, check out the lighting that’s already installed in your space. Many people are sensitive to fluorescent lights. With raising awareness about sensory issues, taking the time and consideration to ensure the space is accessible and comfortable for everyone is well worth your time.
Consider adding live plants to your showroom or office space as well – live plants improve the oxygen quality in the room, and they have been shown to improve mental health for those who work near them.
As humans, most of us are wired to respond more enthusiastically to an environment that is nurturing and easy to navigate. It makes them feel safe and cared for, and as a small business owner, you know that care is one of the main strengths you can provide to keep your clients coming back again and again.
Finally, let’s talk about day to day maintenance. Do you have a streamlined plan for how you and your staff care for your business environment to ensure that it always feels great to come to work every day? Including your team in the care and maintenance of the space is a strategy that can also help your employees feel a sense of ownership over their environment. It can also ensure that they feel cared for as equal partners in sharing a space where you can all succeed.
No matter which step you chose to focus on first, we know that taking these steps early on in the business planning process can help you achieve greater success as a small business owner. We know more than most how much you have on your mind, and it can feel perhaps like a waste of time to focus on so many small details early on.
However, we’ve watched many business owners take the time and energy to focus on the small steps early on, and reap the rewards in profits and community connection for years to come. And building a strong community of clients and fans around you will ensure that not only are you successful, you are also happy and fulfilled.