Keeping your business afloat while facing a challenging time can be difficult to sustain. A long-term plan is essential in building strategies that can cultivate your company’s longevity. Small to medium businesses (SMEs) often need to navigate and adapt to changing conditions throughout their journey. Here are some of the sustainable strategies that can be applied to keep your business growing and adaptable in the long run.

Do a Staff Review Process

Paying your staff is one of the main expenses of a business. For example, if one employee has a higher rate than the other, but works more effectively, it will cost you less in the future – particularly during hard times. It makes sense to spend money on employees, especially since the right people can improve the course of your business and increase overall efficiency.

Keep Your Existing Customers Happy

When businesses experience challenging times, that’s when they need to service their loyal customers the most. This will prevent you from losing even more customers. Remember, it’s almost always more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.

“Ask your customers what needs to be improved and try to fulfil their expectations.”

Stay connected and engage with your customers, speak to them regularly, ensure that are happy and enquire if you can do anything to help them. Ask them what needs to be improved and try to fulfil their expectations. Constant communication and rea-ltime market feedback is an invaluable resource for any business – use it.

Broaden Your Connections

Connect with diverse business culture and skillsets. Different types of people and skills can push your business to grow and give you a broader perspective on how to improve. Don’t put yourself in a bubble. Speak with experienced people in other niches and other business owners to learn. Network and get inspiration for your next great business idea.

You can also connect with other small businesses going through the same thing. Two minds are better than one, so work together and get creative with how both of you can increase your sales. This can make things faster and easier to solve the problem.

Know Your Numbers

One of the essentials for long-term success is understanding your business numbers. This can guide smart business decisions. Here are some numbers you can review for your business:

  • Cash flow – This lets you view the economic state of your business and shuold be reviewed monthly with 3 and 6 month forecasts. Without cash flow no business can survive.
  • Net income – Used for calculating your business earnings per share. It’s a good indicator if you’re making or losing money.

  • Sales – Check if there’s a dip in the sales or if the sales are going up. Reacting quickly to your sales will help you determine what to change or how to sustain growth.

  • Profit and loss – This gives you an idea of your company’s income in terms of sales and revenue minus the expenses for a specific period (usually quarterly or yearly).

  • Total inventory – Track your inventory frequently to avoid problems such as increasing storage costs, excess in stock, and more. 

Access Financing Options

Small businesses need to be prepared in worst-case scenarios. Make sure to have access to capital or check the financing options available for your business like bank loans. There are also alternative financing options if you don’t want to go through tedious applications. Accounts receivable finance, peer-to-peer lending, invoice factoring, and more offer a faster and more flexible process that will help your business navigate through rough waters.

“With accounts receivable finance your business can access cash almost immediately”

An accounts receivable finance facility, otherwise known as an invoice finance facility, might be an excellent fit for businesses experiencing a temporary blip. Such facilities are based on the sales/revenue that your business makes each month and not on the bottom line profitability. You can elect to draw down funds whenever you like, only paying a fee for what you actually use. Instead of waiting months for a late-paying customer to settle you your invoice, your business can access the cash almost immediately, often within 24 hours! 

Reinvent, Adapt, and Pivot

The market is always shifting so small businesses need to be flexible as needed. Utilise the resources when this happens. There can be a time where your products are not relevant, or your audience’s pain points or priorities shift. A crisis like a pandemic or even a smaller scale crisis like a brushfire can change the course of your business. Allotting space for change, whether it’s for internal or external, can help you get back on the right track for your business operations. If you do change some things in your business, make sure you always have a good reason, enough research, and data before doing so. 

When times get tough, adapt, and innovate. This is how small businesses can stay in the business industry. Follow these tips to make sure your business thrives even with challenges. TIM finance can help you during periods of crisis. Accounts receivable finance allows your business to use your unpaid invoices to access funds within as little as 24 hours of the invoice/s being issued and verified. Unlock tomorrow’s cash flow today with TIM Finance.