As a business owner, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. We live in volatile and unprecedented times, and there are so many variables and risks that you should take into consideration if you want your business to survive. A great example of this was the covid-19 pandemic that created an immense amount of challenges for business owners, especially those that have businesses within the tourism, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Business owners that employed business survival strategies were much more likely to cope with the pandemic and keep their businesses going than those that weren’t prepared.
In this article, we’ll have a look at what business strategies are and some of the most effective business survival strategies, some of which are incredibly easy to start using in your business today. At Real Business, we are passionate about educating small business owners in the UK, and we believe that business survival strategies are essential for minimising risks and external factors that could have a detrimental effect on your business.
It’s time to prepare for anything!
What are business survival strategies?
Business survival strategies are a wide range of different strategies and tactics that business owners make use of to give their businesses the best chance of survival. The recommended strategies will often change depending on what business expert that you’re speaking to, as well as the dynamics of your business. There are hundreds of examples of business survival strategies. The trick is finding out what will work best for you.
Why do business owners use business survival strategies?
In the UK, around 20% of new businesses fail each year, and it’s estimated that only around 5% of new businesses ever reach their 5th birthday. It is quite a staggering statistic and can be incredibly daunting for new business owners.
Running a business of your own is tough. Competition is definitely fierce, and there are many challenges that need to be overcome if you want your business to experience success.
While employing business survival strategies may seem time-consuming and even costly at times, you’ll definitely thank yourself when hard times arise, and even without ever experiencing a crisis, business survival strategies can still add a lot of value to your customers, staff, and business offering.
Business survival strategies should be used by both new and established businesses in order to give them the tools, backup plans, and secret weapons that they need to take on the challenging world of business.
Step 1: Risk assessment
Each and every business is slightly different, and depending on your location, the industry you fall under, and the size of your business, you’ll be faced with different potential risks that you’ll need to guard against. The first step in employing business survival strategies and tactics is to find which ones would be the most effective for your particular business model, and this can be done through a professional risk assessment. Risk assessments should always be carried out by someone who is experienced and competent to do so. This could be the employer or an HR or business expert.
What business survival strategies should I be employing?
While risks may be company-specific, there are many survival strategies that would benefit the majority of businesses, and these include:
Try to think of your business as somewhat of a stock portfolio. Having a successful stock portfolio encourages diversification, and in the same vein, the more diverse your business offering is, and the broader your client base is, the more likely you are to protect yourself from unexpected changes in the economic climate. If one of your products or services experience a dip, you still have the others to fall back on.
Good cash flow is the foundation of business survival. In order to implement any ideas or innovations you may have for your business, and to make necessary improvements, you need to have surplus cash on hand. A good cash flow will also assist if anything in your business had to go amiss.
When did you last inspect your business model for any unnecessary costs? Cutting down on costs and debit orders that no longer serve you is a simple yet highly effective way to ensure that money is not leaving your business unnecessarily. You can use this money to save for unexpected circumstances or to invest in shares, or implement other business survival strategies.
Backing up your data
One of the most common threats to any business in this modern day and age is losing your data because of a natural disaster or even a hacker. Ensuring that all of your data is backed up on a cloud that is secure against online criminals is an absolute basic for all businesses. It is an easy and affordable step to take that would save you a lot of drama should anything happen to your original files.
Stay on top of compliance
Is your business compliant with current laws and regulations in the UK? Are all of your employment contracts up to date? Do you know where all of your important documents are? In the time of a crisis, being completely compliant will be of great advantage to you.
Credit check new customers
As a business owner, the last thing you want to waste your time doing is following up on clients that owe you money. Before you allow any clients to purchase on credit or lay-bye, you may want to protect yourself by performing a credit check on any new potential clients to ensure that they’ll make their payments on time.
Any increase in revenue will act as a cushion against disaster, crisis, and mishaps. Are there any avenues of revenue that you’re currently missing? Are there any ways that you could increase your business’s revenue? There are so many ways in which your business could bring in more money every month. It is all about looking for opportunities and making the most out of them.
We live in a day in age in which competition is fierce, so holding on to your current customers is more important than ever. Having a loyal customer base is definitely an underrated business survival strategy as they’ll be there to support your business during difficult times. There are many different ways in which you can retain your customers. Incentives, obtaining customer feedback, and providing great customer service are just a few ways in which you can retain customers.
Always go the extra mile
As we’ve mentioned before, competition is stiff no matter what industry you’re in. If you want to attract new customers, retain your current customers, and garner a good reputation, you’ll need to always go the extra mile. While paying attention to detail may not seem like an inherent business survival strategy, you may be surprised how much better your business will do, and how more predictable your sales will be, if you always go the extra mile.
A focus on marketing
During the covid-19 lockdowns when many businesses could not open, what kept many businesses relevant and afloat was their online marketing techniques. Having a dedicated social following means that people will still be talking about your business and thinking about visiting you when you reopen your doors. The power of social media and online marketing should not be ignored. Effective online marketing strategies are affordable and can really help you grow your customer base while portraying an accurate brand identity.
Staff retention & training
Ensuring that your staff are happy and receive the proper training means that you’re less likely to experience a high staff turnover. Having to continuously replace staff members can be very expensive and take a toll on your business. Staff loyalty often has a direct impact on customer loyalty.
One way to retain your staff is by having a great HR rep to ensure that your staff are happy. Team building is also a fantastic tool in which to create comradery and brand loyalty. One of the most important aspects of staff retention is offering bonuses and incentives to keep your staff motivated.
Back up plans are very important to any business survival strategy. If things go amiss, you should have plan Bs and plan Cs in place to insulate your business as well as possible. You know how the saying goes…if you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail. After you have completed a risk assessment, you should create backup plans for all of the risks that your business is facing, no matter how unlikely they may seem.
Make your staff aware
Once you have a comprehensive business survival strategy in place, you should put it into a format that all of your staff can comprehend. Your staff should be made aware of all of your business survival strategies as well as their individual roles in each of them.
What is the business survival mindset?
Business survival is not just a list of strategies and tactics. It is also very important to have the right mindset and be ever mindful of business survival. You should be constantly aware of any new threats to your business, and this means keeping updated with the news and competitor developments so that you can effectively adjust the business survival strategies that you have in place.
While entrepreneurs may be risk-takers, it is actually more important to evaluate which risks are worth taking and which risks you should protect your business against. If you adapt to having this sort of mindset and becoming hyper-aware of survival strategies, you will see that your business will flourish.
Knowing that you have done everything you can to protect your business against threats will also give you peace of mind as well as the confidence to pursue the growth of your business.
How to implement business survival strategies into day-to-day business?
So how do you ensure that these business survival strategies are implemented on a day-to-day basis within your business? Well, it is definitely easier said than done. If you are able to play some sort of role in hands-on management, you should be able to make sure that your strategies are being properly implemented. You’ll also be able to keep an eye on any changes that may be occurring in your business and adjust your strategies to these changes.
It is important that you understand exactly what is happening in terms of your books so that you can pick up on any issues with the accounting side of things before they get out of hand. Basically, the more that you understand your business, the better.
What happens when a crisis hits?
What happens when this crisis that you have been preparing for actually hits? It can be a terrifying and stressful experience, to say the least. It is important not to go into full panic mode as all your business knowledge will fly straight out the window. Thinking clearly and calmly will be of great advantage to you and your team.
If you have invested in team-building programs, your team of staff members may be able to work better in times of crisis, and this will prove to be incredibly helpful. Crises can be very stressful, and the last thing you want is employees snapping at each other.
And most obviously, any crisis that takes place will be alleviated by the hard work that you have put into your business and your business survival strategies.
If you have already survived a business crisis, remember to learn from the experience and find ways that you can prepare if anything similar were to happen.
We hope that you have learned a lot more about business survival strategies in this article. If you want to equip your business with the most effective business survival strategies, we suggest speaking to a business advisor who will be able to provide you with an in-depth risk assessment and suggestions on which business survival strategies would work best for your business.