Ed Jay is the President at Newfold Digital , a leading web and commerce technology company serving nearly 7 million customers globally.
Our world is in an ever-changing state; there's no doubt about it. Challenges brought on by the pandemic have transformed into new concerns, including a potential recession, labor shortages and supply chain uncertainty. While “unprecedented times” have become somewhat of a cliché by now, the economic ups and downs of the past few years have taught us that there's no playbook for dealing with chaos.
An unexpected twist is that large corporations seem to be taking a harder hit than they have in the past. Many are scrambling under the pressures of inflation and a decrease in consumer demand. Powerhouses such as Shopify and Tesla have made layoffs, and Target has needed aggressive product discounting from overestimated demand and excess inventory.
Small businesses, on the other hand, have the benefit of unique characteristics and assets that point them toward survival. By staying scrappy and finding opportunities in the chaos, small businesses can channel energy toward quick decisions, agility and customization. As headlines from the business world translate into lessons learned, focusing on staying true to their brand helps them avoid the mistakes of big corporations. In today's tumultuous climate, every new challenge opens the door for a matching opportunity.
The Importance Of Resiliency
During trying times, there is nothing more important than building business and personal resilience, especially in today's competitive landscape where about one-third of small businesses don't survive beyond two years. Historically in economic downturns, small- to medium-sized businesses have struggled to stay afloat. During the initial wave of the pandemic, SMBs learned the definition of resiliency the hard way. But they gradually found ways to adjust.
For example, many restaurants embraced a delivery model and adjusted their menu offerings to include large family meals. Even many high-end restaurants tweaked their model to account for decreased dine-in business. Other businesses turned to video. Services that would have drawn limited interest prior to the pandemic, such as gym classes and yoga lessons, thrived in an altered economy. And, of course, countless small businesses in nearly every vertical began selling online.
While there is no instruction manual for achieving business resiliency, a recent report found that truly resilient companies tend to be those with leaders who think ahead, review their business operations often and put people first.
Small-business owners need to be resilient if they are going to make it through the current challenges. Their personal ability to keep going when the going gets tough is part of it, but they also need to be ready to adjust to change. That means learning to separate the important from the trivial. It can be daunting to get that balance right, but learning, understanding and defining your destination helps you move in the right direction since there is always more than one path to reach your goal.
Transforming Challenges Into Opportunities
Some predictions point toward a continuing trend of job losses and wage cuts for white-collar workers, a trend driven by companies adjusting in anticipation of a more challenging economic outlook. Despite this, the past few years have shown SMBs' determination in finding ways to survive.
During the pandemic, small businesses adapted in any way they could, including leveraging funding like the Paycheck Protection Program loans. Now, survival is more focused on adjusting business operations to meet the updated version of the “new normal.” In many cases, challenge and opportunity go hand-in-hand. The factors that categorize small businesses as “small” are also what allow them to weather tough times more easily.
In addition to understanding business resilience, having a good grasp of digital technology available in the market has tipped the scales in favor of small businesses. The democratization of tech has now made it possible to do more with less. For example, small-business owners can consider building their own websites without paying for custom services. (Full disclosure: My company provides this type of solution, as do others.)
Small Businesses' Leg Up Against The Big Guys
Let's consider additional examples from Amazon and Walmart. It’s often said that 90% of Americans live near a Walmart, and most are only a click away from Amazon. Despite their ubiquity in our society, inflation and supply chain issues haven't spared these two superstores, forcing them to battle for consumer preference with extra gumption.
From my perspective, small businesses can move faster than retail titans while selling the same types of products. By knowing their customers and markets and developing an online presence, SMBs can sell their products and services to anyone, anywhere.
As major drivers of both economic growth and social development, small businesses tend to foster competition and innovation in every aspect of our society. By leveraging their advantages of agility and community loyalty, small-business owners can bypass big businesses to offer a truly unmatched shopping experience.
- To grow innovative small businesses, reform America's seed fund
- The British umpire: how the IFS became the most influential voice in the economic debate
- 10 laws that changed how India does business
- I got 82 rejections to fund my business, here’s what I learned
- Why U.S. businesses said "stay in the Paris accord"
- NSW bushfires wreak havoc on Braidwood, Bungendore businesses as road closures destroy holiday trade
- Donald Trump accuses Democrats of pursuing his impeachment 'at this moment in our history, when I am so busy' - a day after Elizabeth Warren asked whether he ordered Qassem Soleimani's death as a distraction
- Kangaroo Island businesses urge tourists not to abandon them after fire catastrophe
- Small Biz Profile: My Help, Inc.
- 30+ Free Business Card Templates for Every Profession
- Economic recovery will be a game-changer for midcap and smallcap stocks: Kunj Bansal
- Best small cap mutual funds to invest in 2020
- Australian bushfire donations from big business worth millions but charities warn long-term assistance needed
- Donald Trump will go to Davos, Switzerland forum of economic jetsetters this month after skipping it during last year's government shutdown—and he'll bring along four Cabinet secretaries PLUS Jared and Ivanka
- Venezuelans on the food and economic crisis blighting their daily lives
- Universal Credit staff describe chaos behind scenes of flagship Tory reform
- How we stay together: 'Negotiate every day, resolve and move on'
- Nigerian Pentecostal megachurches a booming business
- Mumbai stays peaceful, unaffected by Bharat bandh
- Leadership - key to business success in digital age
To Small Businesses Everywhere: Stay Scrappy And Embrace Economic Chaos have 1087 words, post on www.forbes.com at September 28, 2022. This is cached page on Business News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.