Business column: Seize the opportunities rather than the adversity

Business column: Seize the opportunities rather than the adversity

By Joada Allen, president, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber | 30/03/2020

Business column: Seize the opportunities rather than the adversity

I’M writing this article the day after the Government introduced tough new social isolation measures in a desperate bid to contain the spread of Coronavirus across the UK.  

Almost immediately, the business landscape has changed beyond all recognition. 

Shops are shuttered, streets deserted and many are getting used to a prolonged period of working from home. 

Of course, this isn’t just a business issue; it’s one which affects us all. If the Government’s instructions haven’t affected your life in some way shape or form perhaps you should be asking why?

Perhaps what sets true entrepreneurs apart from others is their ability to seize opportunities where others see adversity. 

Although it’s very clear that it will be some time before many of lives will return to normal, we must recognise that the way in which we all work is changing and evolving. 

It’s possible that many employers will think differently about flexible working and that can only be good news for those forced to choose between business and family commitments. 

Time is something we all complain we don’t have enough of - even if you cannot trade as normal, there are plenty of steps we can all be taking to builder stronger businesses. Here are my five tips:

1.    Stay on top of your finances
There are different measures in place to support different types of businesses, but maintaining a healthy cashflow is vital for all businesses. Invoice clients, chase late payments and apply for any support which you may be entitled to receive. If you are applying for additional lending, such as increasing your overdraft or applying for a loan then spend time working out your financial forecasts and the impact taking on additional borrowing will have on your business. 

2.    Talk to your customers and suppliers
Almost all businesses are experiencing some form of disruption at present. Be open with your customers and suppliers and explain how your business is being affected.  

3.    Get on top of your admin
When we’re busy, admin often falls to the bottom of our priority lists. Now is a golden time to finally empty your inbox. 
Spend time reviewing your terms and conditions and company policies. Also spend time about thinking about how to minimise risk to your business. For example, by backing up data and keeping your IT systems up-to-date.
 
4.    Marketing matters
Put pen to paper and think about how to attract new customers. Research the competition, look at developing special offers to attract new customers. Develop a social media schedule, get grips with Search Engine Optimisation and start looking ahead for future networking opportunities. If you've got a great story to tell about your business share it! Many publications are crying out for some good news at the moment.  

5.    Innovate
Can you partner with companies offering different, but complementing services? Can you sell products or services online? Can you run your business more effectively and efficiently? Don't be afraid to explore the content available from TED Talks - They can help you to strengthen your weaknesses and even inspire new ways of running your business. 

Whatever the challenges your business is currently facing, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber is here to support both you and your members of staff. 
Whether you are a member of the Chamber or not, these resources can be accessed at https://www.brchamber.co.uk/covid-19-update/.