2021 will go down in history as strange and unpredictable, with fortunes made and lost in seconds and the pandemic lurking in everyone’s thoughts. We can’t promise that the rest of 2021 will be smooth sailing, but giving some thought to ways to sustainably grow your business during the second half of the year will certainly keep you on the right path, as 2020 moves further into our rear-view.
1. Focus on your business culture
Your business culture informs how your employees work, how motivated they are, and how loyal your customers are to your product or service. Do you have a business culture of innovation? Or are you focused on creating a business culture of sustainability and reduced eco-footprint? No matter your goals, there will be customers and staff out there who want to help you achieve your vision. You can also revamp your business culture by taking a closer look at your company’s safety culture and making changes to keep your employees extra safe in the workplace.
2. Revamp your business model
Rethinking and updating your business model may be the most important thing you do in 2021. For example, when the Black Lives Matter movement put a spotlight on African American businesses in the United States, many revamped their business model to take advantage of this change, leaving 48% of black entrepreneurs better off than when they started. Traditionally store-front businesses and places like grocery stores are now offering delivery and contact-free pick-up options, in response to changes during 2020, services most people are enjoying taking advantage of!
3. Enhance your social media strategy
While social media was a “thing” long before the pandemic, it became our virtual lifeline after lockdowns forced us all to eliminate our social lives, as we knew them. Businesses are driving astronomical growth by focusing their marketing strategies around social media platforms. Take advantage of social media platforms to build your brand, provide excellent customer service, and get feedback from your community. Many businesses are also choosing to work with social media influencers, or partnering up with complementary companies’ social media pages for further exposure.
4. Increase your productivity
The 80/20 rule says 80% of results come from 20% of your actions. Increasing productivity is as easy as figuring out what that 20% is, and eliminating the rest. For example, say your production line is running at half capacity, slowing down all other areas of the company. There is no need to revamp your delivery process before you upgrade your production line. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance that agility has on productivity. Take time to consider the “worst-case” scenario, and make a plan to mitigate or avoid it entirely – a strategy that is proven to both maintain or increase productivity.
5. Use strategic partnerships to become stronger
Partnerships are a great way of getting new reach, but partnering with the wrong company can do a significant amount of harm to your own business. Partner with companies who have the same goals and values, and have excellent customer services. For example, partner up with a global institution like USPS, by linking your customers to the USPS Shipping Calculator, where they can get clear and fast information about shipping costs and delivery times.
6. Support your brand advocates
You never know where you will find your next brand advocate. Reply promptly when customers reach out via social media or email. Providing excellent customer service is the first (and sometimes the last) step you take toward increased sustainability and productivity. Use customer reviews in your marketing material, and provide discounts to show appreciation to your loyal customers and brand advocates. Peers are the first place we normally look for information when considering purchasing a product or service, and you want to make sure the peers of your new potential customers’ approach has a positive view of your company.
7. Automate time-consuming business processes
Sustainable growth is often fuelled by technology in 2021. For example, technology can perform route optimization for your deliveries, while shipping software can organize, categorize and efficiently ship your products fast, without the risk of human error. Other businesses are going paperless, by using applications and cloud databases to store important business information and reduce reliance on, and cost of, paper and the space it takes to store it.
The United States GDP is within 1% of where it was, pre-pandemic. Recovery was the goal during the first half of 2021. In the second half, we must focus on pushing forward and adapting (and dare we say enjoying) to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Take the data you get from customers, staff, and new, sustainable business practices, and really make the second half of 2021 a time to remember fondly.