4 WAYS BUSINESSES CAN CONTINUE TO ADAPT TO 2021’S CHALLENGES
For more than a year, Alabama business owners have had to continually innovate and adapt to rapidly changing environments and restrictions. And while the COVID-19 vaccine provides a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s likely to be many more months before life approaches a return to normal. I’ve been working with business owners in my role at Valley Bank for almost 10 years, and based on what I’ve learned from talking to owners of businesses that are succeeding in 2021, here are four ways businesses can continue to adapt to current challenges:
EMBRACE ALL THE TOOLS YOUR BANK OFFERS.
Chances are, your bank offers a lot of tools and services to business clients. With online features and mobile banking services, the days of having to constantly go to the brick-and-mortar bank branch are over. I’ve seen clients have success with switching to electronic payables and receivables, remote or mobile deposit and online payroll services. Give your banker a call to go over what you’re currently using and\ ask what else is available that could save you valuable time.
ASK WHETHER THAT MEETING COULD’VE BEEN AN EMAIL.
At the start of the pandemic, my advice was to embrace telecommuting. Now, more than a year later, my advice is the same. You’ll save your employees time, and you may save on office space, too. Additionally, be thoughtful about the types of meetings you schedule, who is required to attend and what format the meetings take — often, a meeting could instead be a phone call or even an email. If your staff is spending unnecessary time in meetings, they may be less productive, and lower productivity means you are losing money.
EVALUATE YOUR MARKETING AND ADVERTISING.
Is your target audience listening to podcasts, scrolling Instagram, dancing on TikTok or reading the newspaper? Figure out where your audience is focused and develop a plan for having a presence for your business there. Newer forms of marketing and advertising may be much less expensive than traditional advertising. Even if you don’t have to cut spending right now, work to ensure that your marketing and advertising is truly working to bring in business efficiently.
APPRECIATE YOUR PUBLIC-FACING STAFF.
For those employees who have been wearing a mask for hours every day as they help customers, the pandemic has been especially draining. Keep morale up by finding creative ways to show appreciation for those who continue to serve your customers, and be understanding about the mental toll the pandemic has taken on your team. This will look different for every business, but it could mean starting a new recognition program, treating the morning staff to bagels or giving everyone an additional paid day off. If your team members know they are appreciated, they’ll continue to represent your business well.
MEET THE EXPERT
Elizabeth DuBard is the Retail Market Manager and First Vice President of Valley Bank, based in the downtown Montgomery branch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.