What SMEs Can Do to Survive (and Even Thrive) in the Coronavirus Era

22

APRIL, 2020

These are unusual times…

Running any business has always been a risky endeavour. But, the pandemic that has brought the world economy to a grinding halt is a particularly difficult challenge for many Irish Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). All the restrictions on daily life and business and all the long-term uncertainty, has taken a toll on the nation’s smallest employers and money-makers.

At this very moment numerous SMEs are struggling to maintain their financial stability as the cash-flow squeeze tightens. Many more have shut their doors never the re-open again.

But there is a proverbial silver lining to this cloud. The SMEs that survive this period will undoubtedly be in the better position than where they were before the world even knew what a Coronavirus was. These enterprises will take the opportunity to learn how to run better and more efficiently. They’ll be better prepared for future crises, more connected to their customers and create more focused and consistent messaging.

But, how can cash-squeezed SMEs get to this place?

Here are a three attitude shifts that must happen:

1. Mind the money. As cash flows become less predictable or even dry up altogether, a top priority for SMEs right now is to get some kind of financing or credit to tide them over till sales pick up again.

But, seeking financing alone is not enough to deal with severe cash-flow issues. SMEs also should be looking for ways to operate more efficiently and effectively. This can include transitioning resource-heavy, error-prone processes to more cost-effective automated ones and giving up on costly in-house legacy systems in favour of nimble, online platforms. It may also mean re-thinking work flows and role descriptions.

2. Focus on the opportunities, not the difficulties. This is about maintaining and building relationships, looking for the opportunities and creating value. It’s about having both long-term and short-term objectives, and meeting customers where they are right now.

One of the most important part of this is knowing how to pivot. For example, I recently heard about a spinning instructor who rented out her bikes and started holding classes on Zoom.
There may be many new ways for SMEs to operate– even under such difficult circumstances. Historically, massive disruption generally leads to new applications, inventions, products and services.

3. Continually re-evaluate operational activity. One big, positive change for many SMEs will be an increase in consistent and frequent monitoring and analysis of business operations. It’s amazing how many SMEs only look at “their numbers” on quarterly or even yearly basis. By being more in tune with how their business is performing and how the market is responding to their efforts, business owners and management are in a much better position to make effective and timely business decisions.

In short, for the SMEs that can work today to shift their operations, plans and goals to match the current realities on the ground, they will be in the best position to experience a bright tomorrow in the future.

Read More of our New Articles

How Working from Home is Changing Irish SMEs

What was once the practice of a select few professionals, remote working has quickly become the norm for many jobholders in Ireland. Seemingly overnight, organizations of all sizes have had shift their operational models and make major upgrades …

Why Now is the Best Time for SMEs to Expand in the UK Market

One of the positive outcomes of the events of the past few months is that it is making SMEs rethink the way they operate. At this very moment, owners and management teams are questioning the systems, assumptions, and even the customer-base they …

What SMEs Can Do to Survive (and Even Thrive) in the Coronavirus Era

These are unusual times. Running any business has always been a risky endeavour. But, the pandemic that has brought the world economy to a grinding halt is a particularly difficult challenge for many Irish Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). All the …

What to Look For When Choosing a Professional IT Services Company

I recently visited with a small business interested in hiring a professional IT services company. A few minutes into the conversion, they mentioned the expensive package of products and services a competing IT company had offered them. It was …

How Digital Signage is Transforming Business Marketing

Extremely adaptable and highly engaging, digital signage offers significant advantages over printed “analog” signs. While digital displays are already employed in a number of internal business environments as an effective way to disseminate …

AI and Machine Learning are Transforming How SMEs Do Business

In the shifting sea of business buzzwords, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning currently have a commanding presence. Everywhere you turn these days, it seems like someone is talking about how businesses are leveraging analytics…

What Should You Focus on When Planning Your 2020 IT Budget?

With the end of the year around the corner, if you’ve put off planning your 2020 IT budget, then it’s about time you get going. The technologies you choose to bring into your business today will help you to stay productive and competitive …

Why Upgrading Software and Staying in Your Maintenance Contract is So Important

Upgrading software and staying in your software maintenance contract is good for your business, much like exercising and eating healthy food is for your body. Taking care of your business’ network and the devices it supports, helps to keep these…

SMEs and the Transition to a Paperless Office

As the business world continues to embrace a growing field of digital solutions, devices, and agile business models, the concept of a paperless office has been gaining traction. In a paperless office, the use of paper is significantly reduced by creating and managing business documents in their digital form.

Why SaaS does NOT have your back!

Don’t Rely on SaaS Vendors to Do Their Own Data Backup

If you are working with a SaaS vendor in your SME and don’t think that SaaS data backup is necessary, you may want to think again.

It’s no surprise that Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms like …

Bringing in Business Automation to Streamline Your SME

As the owner of an SME, you can easily find yourself and your staff caught up in the daily mountain of menial, yet essential tasks clamouring for your attention, rather than focusing on the endeavours that can grow your business. Even if you have …

Prevent Data Breaches in Your SME with These 5 Cybersecurity Tips

These days, knowing how to prevent data breaches has become a fundamental business process – as important as sound financial management, on-target marketing, and good customer service. But as the frequency and sophistication of …

Why Irish SMEs Need to Step Up Their Data Protection Policies

In May of 2018, the GDPR along side Ireland’s Data Protection Act 2018 (the “DPA”), became the biggest change in data protection rules to occur in Ireland. While much attention has been placed on this new batch of data privacy legislation, …

Don`t Put Off Moving Your Business to the Cloud

Over the past decade, there has been a widespread adoption of cloud-based services among corporate enterprises. Countless surveys and case studies point to the fact that online platforms and applications are helping these organisations these …