Its trying times for many business owners across the county. We all need to take a look at our business as we get through another lock down, Elaine Smith gives us 5 top tips on reviewing our business while closed, Elaine runs ‘Eye on the Business’, which helps small businesses throughout Ireland get up and running again by focusing on their numbers.
1.Get to grips with your business numbers. List all your sales and costs for the past six months. Divide the costs into cost of sales (costs which went directly to providing your product or service) and overheads (fixed costs, e.g. wages, rent, rates, electricity).When you deduct all your costs from your sales figure each month, the number you have left is your profit or loss. Because of the wage subsidy schemes, many businesses have actually posted a decent profit since reopening after the last lockdown. Why should you spend time your time measuring these numbers? It is the first step in giving you back some degree of control over your business, in a year which has been so much out of your control. Use your figures to calculate the cost of being closed and the cost of reopening again. You can also use them to forecast whether the final few weeks of trading in 2020 will be profitable and you can also see the entire year in front of you, rather than waiting until your accountant prepares your tax returns next year. Get the information together now and use it to your advantage.
2. Review your pricing: If you don’t like what you see after working through your business numbers, you need to change something. It comes down to a simple matter of increasing your prices, reducing your costs or eliminating waste!
3. Review your business model: Are you still offering people what they want? Have your customer numbers gone up over the years or were they declining, even before the lock-downs? Reflect on your business and think about areas you could change and services or products you could add to create a better business.
4. Stay in contact with your customers: If you’re a hairdresser or a beautician for example, have your list of clients ready to contact when you’re told you can reopen again. Remind them, during the time of closure, you haven’t forgotten about them and you could potentially have your first week of reopening already booked. The Government’s Covid-19 guidance may change again but for the moment, you can only work with what you know right now.
5. Try to get your business online. The trading online voucher from your Local Enterprise Office is there to help you start selling online. It takes time to research what you want and to chat to web developers, so use this time wisely. We know next year there may be further lock downs, so try to prepare for those as well. Add booking systems to your website or Facebook page. Write blogs and social media posts, so people know you are still out there. A positive, proactive attitude makes people feel good, so spread your positivity and make it easy for your customers to book with, or buy from, you.
We all have elements we would like to change or improve in our businesses, but we seldom have the time to do it. Try and rise above the frustration you may be feeling and use the time that you can’t be ‘IN’ your business to work ‘ON’ your business.