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6+ Ways to Transform Your Business During a Crisis

Editors Note: Expert content needs an expert content writer and Yorkshire Powerhouse is pleased to publish this advice article on business exit strategies, kindly written by a real expert in his field – Mark Horner from The Alpha Group.

Please contact Mark for any aspect of advice on business exit planning – click on the advert links above or below – please mention Yorkshire Powerhouse when you make contact.

Suddenly, everything changed, now it seems change is the only constant. All businesses have been impacted and most have suffered. Managing Directors and business owners are facing a time of great uncertainty and the road ahead is unclear.  Is now the best time to be thinking about exiting your business or do you simply need to transform your business?

The survival of the fittest

We all know who said this, Charles Darwin, but many people misconstrue his message. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

The entrepreneurial mindset sees that opportunity is now here and knows that the best businesses can be forged in the worst of times — sometimes in our darkest days, new ideas and innovations provide flashes of light. All we need is the spark of a great idea. What new companies, products, movements will emerge?

Although the impact is unprecedented there are still opportunities which will enable our businesses to become adaptable to change than ever before.   ‘Now’ is a great time to experiment, create, invest and innovate.

First, you need to take stock, tighten your belt, evaluate your fixed costs and take action to weather the storm, batten down the hatches.

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Working vs not working

There may be changes you need to make to your business and now is the time to act. Evaluate your staff and premises, review contracts, ask yourself what is truly necessary to run your business. Spend cash wisely. Look closely at the bottom line to reduce losses. Streamline so you can move on freely and free up resources to invest.

Reach out for help and take time to see what resources you can get, investigate loans, government support, local council support, other companies with which you have a great relationship, networks, there is a wide range of support out there, in all different sectors, and it can all com together to help you transform your business.

6. It’s a virtual world

Businesses everywhere are embracing the opportunity to provide a digital version of their real-world products. Our face-to-face executive boardrooms are now online. Many other businesses can deliver products and services electronically. Even those who supply physical products can transition to online ordering and kerbside pick-up or offer a full delivery service for orders.

It is a great time to launch an eCommerce store with Shopify offering an extended 90-day free trial. Fitness instructors are holding regular workout classes virtually with Zoom. Interior designers are offering virtual consultations and creating content with links to buy products.

Make sure to add value, Children’s Karate classes are as much about building character as fitness, about providing a shared social experience, so make sure to use the virtual world to extend your offering.

With lots of people furloughed and stuck indoors, the demand for online content and learning is through the roof, what can you teach?

5. Go Global

There is a huge opportunity to take your business global. Now your customers don’t have to drive 40 minutes to reach you, they are with you in seconds, they can be anywhere in the world. However, there are four things you need to consider.

Money

Cash is King, as they say, and in these times, dollars are as good as euros, and there are great reasons for wanting to be paid. Money, after all, is the silent applause of a job well done.

The internet has made taking payment in other currencies ridiculously easy, even Calendly can connect to Stripe so people can book and pay in one seamless transaction. Remember everyone in the chain is going to take a cut, and currencies fluctuate, but providing you have low volumes and high transaction costs this is likely to be small concern, and as your global business develops, you can address this later on. The important thing is to get started.

Remember not to discount the value in being British, for many people, this is a sign of honesty, quality, tradition, fairness and these are all worth paying for.

Time

Time is a big consideration, not just time, but remember not everyone has the same day. As we are close to the meridian, we have a privileged position in that we can act as a bridge between all the time zones being central between Kiritimati where its 14 hours behind UTC, and Pago Pago where they are 11 hours ahead.

Internet Connection

This can be a factor, while most parts of the world have much better broadband than the UK, there are still areas where this is problematic. Also with the internet, it could be fine at both ends but blocked underwater. As with all things, make sure to have a backup plan, provide transcripts, record zoom training sessions so you can issue them later, have a clear policy for refunds or to provide alternate sessions.

Finally, if the internet connection problems are in your house, it might be worth investing in a second connection for your kids to use with their xbox.

Language

Fortunately, English is something of a lingua franca in the business world, and even restricting yourself to English speaking countries still leaves a huge margin. However, the real opportunities lie outside English. If you can hire a translator or form a strategic partnership, then you can access not only a huge market, but also a huge largely untapped market.

Culture

Too big to cover here, but not everybody’s weekend is Saturday and Sunday. While in Yorkshire lots of people enjoy the seven day weekend, in France their Fortnight is 15 days.

Leverage your existing resources

What can you provide that other people need? Luxury brands are moving to provide everyday items, hand sanitiser, face masks, gowns and scrubs, engineering firms are making ventilators. Even Apple has started making visors.

Think about what people need now, what they are likely to need in three months, six months, as we get back to normal.

Skate where the puck is going!

Where can your systems, and processes, technology and workforce be deployed to meet new needs?  If you can provide an essential need then you will have a business that is deemed essential. If you can be ready and skate where the puck is going you will be ready for a huge pent-up demand.

4. Collaboration is King

Collaboration brings new ideas, synergies, and business partnerships.  Partnerships give you access to new customers, new products and new markets. Who can you work with that also has resources you can leverage? Where can you build a talent pool? Is there someone who can sell your product or service to their customer base?

Many companies are taking this opportunity to white label what they do.

Can you offer partners anything in exchange for their help, so it’s a true win-win? Could there be an opportunity to bundle your products together for example? Can you provide a premium tier to an established product, or vice-versa? Together everyone achieves more.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  – African proverb

It’s also important to collaborate with other businesses for support and ideas. Being a local or small business can feel especially isolating, but there is power in numbers. Make an effort to connect, whether it’s a networking group, peer-to-peer executive board, chamber of commerce, industry trade group, or even a LinkedIn group.  None of us is smarter than all-of-us.

3. Build relationships with your customers

Now is the time to double down and show your customers you really care about them and appreciate their business. Be truthful about your efforts to serve them, despite the challenges you face, and serve them as best as you can – and let them know how they can support you in return. Loyal customers are champions for your company and great brand ambassadors. Let them know exactly how they can refer you, and make it clear who they can refer you to. Maintain a strong relationship with your clients by contacting them individually, without spamming them. Show them you care. Trust matters now more than ever!

With people spending more and more time online, it’s a great time to share relevant and engaging content related to your business. Videos and photos beat words, so take time to get these right and enlist professional help to make sure your videos convey the right message and stand out. Figure out the best way to engage with your current customers and do so in creative ways.

Ask yourself how you can provide extra for your customers, hosting zoom calls for them, for example, providing them with technical support and advice, donating old equipment or helping them deal with the online world.

2. Experiment to Transform Your Business

Don’t be afraid to try, just be afraid to give up too soon, Imagine if James Dyson has stopped after 5,125 designs.

Now is the perfect time to launch new ideas with minimal investment. Factories that were at full capacity don’t have time to make one-off prototypes. Time spent at home can be spent developing websites. Write that book you were always planning but never starting. Reach out and find others that can help you.

Persistence pays off

Get feedback. Learn and improve with each iteration. Not everything you try out will work the first time. Expect to fail and move on. It may take multiple attempts to figure out what works for you.

If you make your goal to try and fail, and to learn from what you did wrong, so you can try and fail again, eventually, you will succeed without even trying.

1. It’s down to you…

You probably have your own ideas for ways to transform your business that I have not even thought about. I can’t wait to see what you are planning. Do let me know how it goes. And good luck.

Businesses are facing a time of great uncertainty and the road ahead is unclear.  Is ‘now’ the best time to be looking at options to transform your business?  One of the best bits of advice we can provide is to seek out expert help and support to give you the experienced eye and to independently question and probe!

Straight talking … that would be the Yorkshire Powerhouse!

Now you’ve read our article about how to Transform Your Business – have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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DEVELOPING BUSINESS EXCELLENCE LIMITED

The Skipton & Ripon Enterprise Group

Cardno Management Services Ltd

Simply Customer - Customer Service / Experience Expert

Charlesworth Business Growth Services

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