Running a small business sounds like a dream - you’re the boss and thanks to your entrepreneurial grit and innate smarts, lifelong success is surely yours. However, the ride to riches is far from sunshine and roses.
Unfortunately, while 64,488 firms were created 64,809 firms closed their doors in the year ended February 2021. Resulting in a net decline of 321 firms, the highest decline since 2012.*
The ongoing effects of Covid-19 have resulted in owners everywhere being stressed to the max! The lack of available employees due to border limitations, illness, and isolation requirements in addition to the low unemployment rate (3.3%) and underutilisation rate (9.2%) in the June 2022 quarter has many small business owners struggling with the need to be available 24/7, among many other issues.
So what's the best step forward to stay on top?
Five tips to keep your business profitable during a pandemic.
1. Delegate like your life depends on it
In business, it’s surprisingly easy for your attention to detail to become a flat-out obsession. Sure, your business is your baby, but it's also a source of income and professional development for your employees. Let them make mistakes — it's often the best way to learn. Focus less on the mistakes, and more on what unique skills and abilities your staff offers. It's a rare business that thrives without the contributions of many.
If you’re a solo-preneur, it’s even more important to reach out for help. Can you outsource certain tasks?
As with everything, prioritising involves factoring not just the actual cost, but the opportunity cost of doing that task yourself. What else could you be doing with that time that's better for your bottom line?
2. Take advantage of technology! If a machine can do it, let it.
Manually entering paper invoices or receipts? Sweating over paperwork and manual tasks? You don’t have to. Take a step back and inventory which of your day-to-day tasks can be automated vs. delegated, and march confidently into the future. Focus your attention on high-value tasks where no one (especially not a machine) can take your place.
3. Get support
There are low-cost resources, such as Business Mentors New Zealand that can provide critical mentoring. Reach out to people eager to help and who have been there and done that. Often the very best mentors offer emotional as well as strategic support.
Demand more value from your professional advisors, like your accountant. A good accountant should be providing you with much more than just your numbers and compliance! If you would like to talk with one of our friendly and knowledgable accountants or business advisors about improving efficiencies for your business please get in touch today.
4. Keep thinking big picture
It's easy to develop "impostor syndrome" when things get tough, that nagging and often untrue sense that it's only a matter of time before someone reveals you’re not worthy of all you've achieved, so it's always good to focus on the concrete steps that got you where you are today. You can't envision a strong future if you are always mired in self-doubt. One entrepreneur whose insights are featured in Entrepreneur magazine, Steve Tobak, suggests resetting your balance with three deceptively simple questions: "Are my goals true? Am I capable? What's the worst that can happen?" And, above all, breathe.
5. Be kind
We had to chuck the Covid-19 catchphrase in here somewhere! However, to be fair we do agree that any small business owner should be taking this onboard. Be kind to yourself and those around you. Failures will happen. Remember some of the very best business success stories sprung from the ashes of something that went wrong, including Walt Disney, once deemed "unimaginative", and Thomas Edison who was an abject failure at selling a new vote tallying system. Not bad company to be in.
This theme of kindness must also extend to your family. It's easy for a small business venture to quickly overtake leisure time, but keep some things sacred, whether that's a family dinner or something similarly meaningful.
Remember, striking out on your own is hard enough so focus on building a strong foundation, even if there are unexpected (and often stressful) twists and turns along the way. Many have gone before you and many will come since. Embrace that community and your family and stay true to your dream of success.
*Data sourced from Stats NZ and the not-for-profit organisation, The Facts.