Small Biz Focus: 5 Things to Check Under Your Hood

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

It appears as if COVID-19 is going to be with us for the better part of the year, and possibly into 2021.

Since the Stay-at-home orders were issued in March, the Palacios Family — like many families across the U.S. — have been looking closely at the way we manage our household and developed new efficiencies like never before. We’ve repurposed our work spaces in anticipation of a virtual fall and identified simple tools to help us with this transition.

Just as we have been making our workspaces more productive — now is the time to look under the hood of your business to ensure the engine is running smoothly and continues to run smoothly as we move through the current health pandemic.

A definite area of importance is to make sure your business has access to personal protective gear, masks, sanitizers and the sanitizing products for the workspace as well as ensuring social distancing of at least 6 ft. Those PPE business needs are a reality of 2020; however, you will also want to make sure the engine is running well under the hood.

5 Things to Check Under the Hood of Your Business:

Reevaluate your vision, mission and goals

COVID-19 has changed the way we do business.  Have you had the opportunity to reevaluate and modify your company’s mission and vision to reflect the differences the health pandemic has impacted on our society? Are your vision, mission and goals the same?

If the vision and mission of your business is different, how have you communicated your messaging to your key stakeholders and customers? If your vision, mission and goals are the same, should they be changed to reflect a different business environment?

How is your business structured?

What type of business structure are you? (E.g., Sole proprietor, LLC, Partnership, Incorporated etc.) When was the last time you reached out to your accountant or attorney to ensure your business structure still matches the vision and goals of your business from when you first started? Have you grown your business or are you the same sized-business as you were 2, 5 or 10 years ago? Make sure your business structure aligns with the structure and offerings of your business in 2020.

Do you have the same customers or target market? 

Is your business stagnant or growing? Do you have the same customers or has your target market shifted due to a decrease/increase in demand or because of a change in technology? Are your customers buying your product or services the same as they did in 2012 — or are you finding most customers are now online versus buying from you in-person?

Audit your customers and ask them directly how like they are to engage in business with you. A fall survey is a great way to make sure that you are offering the best services and products you possibly can as we move into 2021.

Access to Capital 

How much buying power do you have for your business as of August 2020? If you need cash do you have enough money to pivot, target a new client-base or move your services online? How much would these investments cost and how much do you need to be a key player in your industry? Reach out to your financial institution and have them do a financial audit of your business.

If you have a relationship with your bank this is a great way to identify new products and tools that can help you manage opportunities and continue to build your business. If you don’t have a relationship with a bank, begin to build one now for future possibilities and direction.

Identify your Top 5 Opportunities 

As we say goodbye to 2020, (…believe me a lot of us can’t wait to see the back of this year…) what are the remaining 5 opportunities you can identify to help grow your business? There are still four solid months left in the calendar year. What are the opportunities you can squeeze in quickly to help grow your business and give you a giant positive leap into 2021?  Brainstorm with your team and find the opportunities.

In BizLaunch, we continue to keep the under the hood dialogue moving forward. We have two free workshops coming up this month you can participate in. We hope you join us.

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