Running a small business is hard enough when you aren’t trying to weather a global pandemic. That being said, after the past year and a half of doing business, small business owners are likely to need a little more help as they work to rebuild their companies and make up for lost profits. As such, reading the following list of must-have services and products for your business can be a welcome relief as you work to figure out how to best chart a path forward. While not all of the ideas on this list will be perfect for every single business owner, the concepts that they promote can help speed up your brainstorming session as you work to figure out how to strengthen your small business. Keep reading to learn more about some of the must-haves that can boost your profitability, overall performance, and sustainability.
Invest in voice of the customer solutions that give you insight beyond traditional customer feedback.
Many consumers’ behaviors have changed as a result of the pandemic. More and more customers are shopping for items online or on their mobile devices, and these habit shifts may be permanent. As such, harnessing customer feedback in order to improve your customer experience is more important than ever as you re-enter the marketplace. This is where voice of the customer, also known as VOC, software comes in. With the help of voice of the customer solutions, you can truly become responsive to your customers’ preferences and needs. Voice of customer software is helpful for both product development as well as generating more compelling marketing collateral. As such, instituting a voice of the customer program can pay major dividends in your business, since your VOC program may help you come up with data that really bolsters the customer experience by leveraging in-the-moment customer feedback. Your business is nothing without its customers, which is why it’s so critical that you look into voice of customer solutions to begin implementing a VOC program.
Get creative about funding to keep your business afloat.
While the Small Business Association(SBA) did their best to provide extra funding to small business owners via the Paycheck Protection Program and other forms of COVID-19 relief, some small business owners may feel like the monthly payment from a short-term loan may be helpful as they start to get back on their feet back.
Depending on the amount of capital you need, it might be worth looking into bridge loans in your area to boost your cash flow. Especially if you’re looking to help finance a commercial real estate investment as part of your business, a private lender may be able to help you qualify for the right loan amount to make your new property work for you and your business. Many bridge lenders offer a few different perks that can be as appealing to business owners as they are homebuyers looking to take on a second mortgage to flip a home. A few of those benefits include things like quick access to funding, transparent fees, direct financing, and competitive interest rates. If you think this might be a good fit for you and your company, the first step is reaching out to a hard money lender to learn more about the application process and what they could do for you. A hard money lender will be able to advise you on the right type of loan for your specific needs and goals, whether that’s bridge financing or another option.
Dress for success.
Especially now that businesses are opening back up for in-person interactions, it’s important that you dress appropriately. Dressing up a little bit is a great way to make a good impression, particularly in situations where you’re meeting with customers for the first time or the first time in a while. When it comes to dressing up and looking professional, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on suits or dress pants. In fact, a few jackets, blouses, and nice trousers can go a long way. Consider developing a capsule wardrobe that allows you to use the same straight leg pants that flatter your waist with multiple looks or other pieces.
Not only is this a more economical way to create a full wardrobe, it also helps you keep a consistent image, which can be important when you’re representing yourself as well as a small business. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to shopping, the internet is definitely your friend. Simply head to your favorite search engine and type in “straight leg pants womens” or “dressy jackets for all occasions” and you’re sure to find some sites with outfits worth considering. Best of all, many online clothing retailers are offering a refund or exchange if something doesn’t fit the way you’d hoped, so you can try out some new looks completely risk-free.
Find perks that improve employee morale.
What are the pros of working for your company? In order to find (and keep) the right people for your business, you need to find ways to keep employees invested in working with you. It becomes harder and harder to replace years of experience as your staff ages into their roles, so it’s never a bad idea to look into different aspects of company culture if you want to keep your staff. One way to do this is to invest in different perks that ultimately improve your employee’s morale and show them how much you care about them. Even something simple, like beverage delivery, can go a long way when it comes to demonstrating your investment in your team. Searching for “coffee delivery near me” or “water delivery near me” can help you find a coffee or water delivery service that can provide your company with fresh beverages each and every week. Snacks, more generous PTO, flexible work schedules, and complimentary beverages all can help your staff feel seen and valued. At its heart, this translates to less turnover, ultimately boosting your team’s productivity and success year over year.