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8 small business survival tips for 2021

Staying afloat as a small business can be challenging in the best of times, but 2020 presented a whole new world of chaos. While it’s impossible to predict every problem that might come your way, there are a few ways to strengthen chances of business success in 2021.

The key is innovation, boosting your company’s resilience so that you’re better able to roll with unexpected punches. Use these business survival strategies to see you through the pandemic and beyond.

1. Review your budget

Creating and sticking to a budget is an important part of business success in any year, but it’s particularly vital now. Creating a fresh budget gives you a roadmap to follow throughout 2021. Think about your objectives for the year, and then determine the areas where you need to allocate more resources accordingly. It might mean spending more on marketing in the first quarter or spreading out payments for asset acquisition.

2. Stay social

With many face-to-face events restricted, social media is more important than ever to stay connected. Your business survival strategies should include a social media marketing plan to ensure you’re meeting customer needs. Maintaining active social profiles lets you interact with customers, colleagues, and competition, keeping on top of current trends and staying fresh in your clients’ minds. If you have the resources, a targeted ad campaign might be worth the spend. Platforms like Facebook let you use your existing customer database to target a new audience with similar interests.

3. Know your customers

Small, successful online businesses already know their main customers well. These customers will be your lifeline during times of economic downturn, so find new ways to generate re-orders. Rank them by attribute, analyse whether there are particular products that core customers purchase more frequently, or send out a survey to ask if there’s anything they need. Accounting software makes it easy to sort your customers by purchase and spend for this type of analysis.

4. Be adaptable

Last year taught us all how important adaptability is, which is why this year’s successful business ideas revolve around this theme. We know now that you need to prepare for worst-case scenarios and be willing to adapt budgets, marketing strategies, and even full business models accordingly. Carry out brainstorming sessions with your staff to come up with fresh ideas. It’s also a good idea to have a cushion of cash in your budget to see you through rough spots.

5. Try a subscription model

Whether you sell online services or physical products, you might want to try out the subscription trend. Many of this year’s most successful online businesses work with a recurring subscription model. Customers enjoy receiving goods on a regular basis without having to repeatedly go through the billing process, while businesses benefit from a regular cash flow.

6. Look for ways to improve

When business activity slows down, it’s tempting to take a break. However, these slower times can be ideal for working out the next steps of business survival strategies. Look at ways you can improve your product or service to stand out from the competition. Take the opportunity that 2021 presents to rebuild your business, adding value from the ground up.

7. Protect your assets

Small businesses don’t have any assets to spare at the moment, so make sure yours are adequately protected from damages. Implement an asset management system or speak to a financial advisor about the best ways to mitigate risk this year.

8. Streamline your processes

A final way to ensure your business survival in 2021 is to streamline or automate processes wherever possible. Many small businesses get bogged down in admin, wasting employee time and resources. From accounting software to management apps, look for ways to make your business more efficient. Automation can save time and money, so that your employees are free to work on growing your business rather than maintaining it through mundane, routine tasks.

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GoCardless is used by over 55,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services. GoCardless SAS (23-25 Avenue Mac-Mahon, Paris, 75017, France), an affiliate of GoCardless Ltd (company registration number 834 422 180, R.C.S. PARIS), is authorised by the ACPR (French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), Bank Code (CIB) 17118, for the provision of payment services.