By: First Union
Entrepreneurial Crisis? The 4 Best Ways to Respond
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It's inevitable, at one point in your entrepreneurial journey you are going to face a moment of crisis—everyone does. And especially given the current circumstances, that crisis could come sooner rather than later as the economy still is in something of a downward spiral.
Pandemic aside, you will time and again have to contend with those business roadblocks, the hurdles that seem insurmountable, and the setbacks that make it feel as though you just cannot get anywhere. The key is going to be how you handle the challenges thrown at you. Succeed in meeting them, and your company will be able to keep moving forward; let those problems overwhelm and defeat you, and odds are, you may not be in business very long. Below are four ways that you can address the crises that do arise in an effective and ultimately more productive way.
Lean on your expertise
A crisis such as the one that we are now facing may require you to shift and adapt accordingly. That is to say, the old way of doing things, the way you've run your business to date, may now be somewhat obsolete in a post-pandemic atmosphere. So how are you going to pivot to address the situation and keep business running smoothly?
The most successful brands do tend to be those that understand the need to make changes in the event of any type of crisis. Sometimes these are drastic changes at that. So, given this notion of being able to abruptly reorient your business model, one of the key things you need to do is lean on your preexisting expertise.
How could the expertise and experience you have now, be modified to perhaps put out new products or adapt a current service? We have the example of the distilleries switching to the manufacturing of hand sanitizer. Think about what you know, what you have firsthand experience with, and see if there is a way to use this to help reinvent certain aspects of your company.
Move technology front and center
What we've seen is that technology, by and large, helped so many companies stay afloat during the crisis. When people were sent home and shops were shuttered, technology became the only channel that businesses had for communicating and consequently ensuring things got done.
If you haven't fully leveraged the technology available, then it is most definitely time to do so. From video conferencing platforms and software to the use of chatbots to offering online classes, you have to be prepared to undergo a digital transformation if your company has not done so yet.
Not to mention, those businesses who did rely upon technological solutions over the past few months saw their productivity increase. They became more agile and more efficient overall. And because of this, those companies are now outpacing many of their competitors.
Consider helping other companies
Perhaps the pandemic did not affect your business operations directly—or as much as it might have some others. That said, you could consider reaching out to businesses within your niche who are struggling to stay open right now. By helping them, you are for one doing a very good thing and secondly, you could potentially stem the problem before it does impact your company.
For example, gym owners are currently being hit pretty hard. A recent initiative started by an athletic apparel company that saw several participating brands give out gift vouchers within the realm of fitness if gym patrons kept their memberships at least through May. The companies that offered the vouchers wanted to lend a hand to local gym proprietors—they wanted them to know that they were there to help in any way that they could.
There is also the fact that down the road your company may need some help. We have no idea what the future holds over the next few months. You want to know that when the chips are down, there will be people who have your back.
Look at the long-term picture
Many people want a quick fix to a given problem. The problem with the quick fix though is that they generally don't have long term value, and then you're back to square one. You really should take some time to think carefully through all options out there. Get feedback from employees—they may have a perspective that you don't. Essentially, anyone who is a stakeholder needs to be consulted during times of crisis.
Remember, any decision that harms customers or stakeholders down the road, regardless of how it might benefit you right now, is ultimately a bad decision. Yes, some choices may require more work on your part, they might require sacrifice as well, but if you are putting customers and staff first, then it can only potentially help over the long term.
The past few months have put many entrepreneurs on the test. One good thing perhaps is that it has been a monumental learning opportunity for numerous businesses. Company owners came to see the strengths and weaknesses of their organizations. And accordingly, they could adjust. This is the sign of a true leader: one who takes the challenges and utilizes the lessons learned to their advantage.
First Union Lending is here to help. We've been working hand in hand with numerous small businesses throughout the crisis. Offering short term loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances among other products, we have been able to help many clients weather this storm. With programs ranging from 5k to one million, we have the resources on hand now to help you. And some receive the funds in as little as two days—we do work that quickly. Even if your credit score is not where you want it to be, we likely still have a financing solution for you. Call today and let's get started together!