Top Tips to surviving in business
According to the Office for National Statistics 213,285 businesses failed in the UK in the first half of 2020, a 14% increase on the same period in the previous year. Without looking much more deeply into the numbers it is not possible to say for certain how many of those that failed were due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown but we would not be far wrong to say that the 14% increase, or 26,193 businesses failures were as a result of the pandemic.
But, as ever with statistics, we need to take care, as whilst hopefully the worst is behind us there is no doubt that many businesses are still struggling from wounds inflicted from the pandemic and will fail in the second half of 2020 and indeed in 2021. However, we must also remember that many businesses have achieved remarkable success by pivoting very quickly or indeed just being in the right place at the right time.
Every entrepreneur and business owner wants their business to grow and prosper and not to wither and die, but sometimes it can be too easy to blame failure, or at least the lack of success, totally on outside influences rather than accepting responsibility for not having taken the right actions at the right times.
So, what are some of the top tips to surviving in business?
- Understand Your Market – It is not only when launching a business that you need to fully understand your customers and market. Constant research and customer feedback are necessary to ensure that your products and services stay relevant and offer the right solution at the right price point. Remember to constantly check what existing and potential competitors are doing.
- Stay Ahead of the Curve – Using the constant research that you conduct make sure that you stay ahead of the curve and your competitors, and anticipate what the market will want. If you lag the market, often by the time you have caught up it will have moved on again thus leading to a permanent and damaging state of playing catch up.
- Correct Business Model – Make sure that the business model that you base your business on is the best one for your business. This should be flexible and you should not be afraid to adapt it over time and to remain flexible in order to ensure that the business model remains relevant as time goes by.
- Flexibility – Just as constant market research and customer feedback ensures your offerings are as good as they can be, and constant reappraisal of your business model ensures that it remains relevant, then flexibility in all things is key. Many of the businesses that have done the best during the first part of 2020 were those that were not afraid to adapt and pivot their entire business substantially.
- Communicate Effectively – Communication is far from being only advertising and marketing; it should be about engaging with existing and future customers and indeed all other stakeholders. Shout about the good things and the new things that you are doing and don’t be afraid to talk about the difficult times in need.
- Work with the Right Partners – Of course any co-founders, and senior and critical staff member are crucial but so too are the external partners. Forming a good Advisory Board can make all the difference between success and failure, and working with the right project partners can control costs and improve efficiency.
- Grow Sales and Grow Profits – Ultimately, surviving in business is about making sales and growing profitability, but do not forget the importance of cash and cash flow and this can be particularly challenging when growing a business as any growing business consumes cash. By using the first six top tips these will help lead to this last one.
As is evident to all, 2020 is proving to be a tougher year than most to operate any size business but by growing your business in the right way and taking note of all the top tips above you will greatly improve your chances of surviving in business.