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7 key questions you should ask before developing a post-COVID-19 business strategy

As a small business owner, when you continue to recover from COVID-19 and seek ways to boost your business, it’s important to ask yourself these 7 key questions to adapt to the new business normal and develop strategies to thrive again.

1. How have your customers’ lives changed?

To be successful in business, you need to deliver value to your customers.1 The pandemic has altered the way we live and how businesses operate. It’s essential to understand how these changes will re-shape customer needs, wants and their decision-making process. To continue to thrive, you need to determine if you need to change your products and services, or create new ones and deliver more value than before.

2. What is happening to your competition?

Every business will need to make changes to survive, including your competitors.1 Try to gain a sense of what they’re up to with educated predictions: for example, what is their financial position, what resources they have, and are they planning to make strategic moves? While you won’t know for sure, you want to steer clear towards the open ocean and away from bloody waters.1

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3. Are there new competitors?

While you need to assess your current competitors, you also need to be aware of others who might choose to pivot into your space.1 If you are thinking about changing your business direction and pivoting, look at who’s already in. You won’t be the only business planning to make moves, so you’ll need to anticipate the moves that your competitors might make and develop strategies accordingly.

4. What will make you stand out in the new market?

Once you have a plan for refocusing your core customer, product, or service, you’ll need to reassess how you’ll win in your market.1 To be successful, you need to develop a unique and different strategy that sets your business apart from your competitors. Businesses usually try to compete on price – but that’s not a winning strategy. Consider ascertaining the key factors that will make you the best to ensure customers choose you over the competition.

5. What specific things do you need to let go of?

If you are adjusting your products or services, or making a pivot, you’ll need to figure out what you need to stop doing.1 Quickly identify and stop doing things that may have worked before but may not provide the same returns in the future. By doing this, you can divert your resources to new strategic capabilities. Holding on to these will drain your finances and dilute your focus.1

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6. Should you widen your sales net?

Consistent success can breed complacency in businesses. You can’t be complacent and rely on selling strategies that were working before because customer behaviours and buying patterns may have changed. Now is the time to create opportunities to serve your market via alternative sales channels.3 For example, the crisis has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce, so building an online presence is a critical strategy moving forward. Start by creating a website. Next, focus on marketing your business online. Instead of going for in-person sales, you can create conversations on social media channels, including LinkedIn. The business will go on, but more of it might need to happen online.3

7. What opportunities lie ahead in the longer term?

If you are in the B2B space, the crisis may be an opportunity to make some longer-term investments.3 If your short-term sales are slowing down, this quiet period may be an opportune time to re-evaluate your business – from operations, platforms to processes, and do some long-term strategic planning. Perhaps put more energy into lead management and nurture longer-term opportunities if you have some major prospects. Play the long game and develop potential opportunities while you ride out the short-term uncertainty.

In the meantime, if you have questions about developing a business strategy, we’re here to support you. You can speak to your Relationship Manager or call our contact centre at +603-8321 8888 for any enquires related to HSBC Fusion.

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All intellectual property rights (including, without limitation, copyright, database rights, design rights, patents and trademarks) in this document are owned by or licensed to HSBC unless otherwise stated. Without limiting the above, unless you first obtain written consent from HSBC, you may not copy, reproduce, duplicate, publish, modify, adapt, publish, broadcast, create derivative works of or in any way exploit all or any part of this document., Key questions to guide your post-pandemic plan, 25 April 2020. 2The European Business, 3 ways businesses need to adapt to survive COVID-19, 29 April 2020., 4 strategies to help your business recover from coronavirus, 20 March 2020.

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