As COVID cases continue to increase across the country, many small business leaders have chosen to work remotely indefinitely. And, even though some have since returned to the office, 57% of SMB owners who increased remote working during the pandemic said they will likely continue to operate remotely post-COVID.
As business owners adjust to these new working conditions, they must have sufficient human capital, as well as the right tools and technology in order to remain productive and profitable.
For SMBs, investing in the necessary resources could be a significant financial undertaking, especially when finances are already rocky due to the pandemic. However, allocating money to the right resources could greatly benefit your business in the long run.
As cash reserves run dry, business owners have looked to new financial sources to continue investing and keep afloat during the pandemic. PPP loans, lines of credit, and small business loans have all provided financial relief for small companies in the last few months. Some have even turned to their personal savings or tapped into their home equity to come up with the additional funds to keep conducting business.
Of course, you’ll still need to be strategic with your spending. However, by investing in the necessary resources, you can better support your workforce and keep moving business forward. Here are four smart investments to consider as you navigate this new way of business:
The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation, making it essential for small businesses to continue adopting new technologies to remain competitive. Keeping up with emerging technology trends should remain a top priority for business leaders, especially while their teams are remote.
As your business continues to evolve, you must invest in digitizing processes to ensure resilience and continuity during the pandemic and beyond. Implementing intuitive management software, updating legacy systems, and folding artificial intelligence (AI) tools into your operations could help expand your digital capacity and improve your team’s ability to work efficiently.
- Flexible Workforce
In the past, many businesses limited themselves to their full-time workforce. However, with most employees now working from home, the pandemic has presented the opportunity to build a flexible workforce. This could mean outsourcing work to part-time employees, temps, contractors, or freelancers who specialize in specific aspects of your operations.
A flexible workforce may be more budget-friendly for businesses that don’t have the capacity to add to their payroll. However, outsourcing can still be costly. When considering a flexible workforce, you must first evaluate your budget and then prioritize projects that require skills your team lacks. For instance, if you need to redesign your website but don’t have the capacity, you could save both time and energy by hiring a web designer and paying out-of-pocket for similar self-contained projects.
- Training and Reskilling
In the era of remote work, business leaders need to ensure their teams continue to develop their skills and capabilities. As business needs continue to change the required skills for remote teams, skill gaps have become a concern for SMB leaders. However, by investing more in online training and reskilling, you can develop a resilient workforce that’s capable of navigating changes to the business landscape.
Onboarding new full-time employees or even outsourcing talent isn’t always financially feasible for small businesses, which is why you may want to place a greater focus on improving your current workforce. Providing your employees with the proper training materials and resources to conduct their jobs will ensure they are agile and adaptive during and after COVID.
- Marketing Tactics
Investing in outdoor advertising won’t yield as much return as most people are still self-isolating. However, you can still amplify your online presence and build customer loyalty through your digital marketing efforts. The pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for you to revisit your marketing strategy and reallocate your spending toward digital promotion.
Small businesses should put an emphasis on search engine optimization, social media campaigns, and external communication efforts to boost their online presence. This enables business owners to reach a broader audience and keep at the top of their current customers’ minds. Investing additional time and money into your marketing can help you better understand your target audience and stay relevant within your industry.
While the pandemic has presented financial challenges to small businesses, it has also presented new opportunities for growth and development. As you continue to nativage these uncharted waters, keep these investments top-of-mind for both short and long term success.