COVID-19 crisis is far from over. Even after the vaccine’s release, the cases are increasing at a fast pace. On the date of writing daily cases have crossed 3 Lakhs. COVID Second Wave Still hasn't shown a peak. This is because of some new mutations of COVID-19 that are not deadly but are more infectious than the previous mutations. So 2021 most likely will be another difficult year for small businesses. But is the situation really like last year? We don’t think so.
Some SMEs optimized and streamlined their businesses in 2020 when the traditional way of operation through factories and offices wasn't possible. Some also pivoted their business to other useful things in the post-pandemic world. So SMEs aren’t back to square one with respect to handling business situations. In the midst of crisis, SMEs have come out stronger than ever before with ‘digital’ being the key to be out.
Nirmala Sitharaman while addressing members of the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Kolkata said, “You will withstand this challenge also; 2019 was about liquidity, 2020 was about Covid, but 2021 shall not be about Covid, in spite of the COVID second wave. I want to assure you.”
Here are some ways businesses coped with the pandemic in 2020 and should continue in 2021
1. How Can You Increase Sales?
Utilize the situation to the fullest. Last year, many businesses started manufacturing products that they do not usually sell in their business. For example- A hardware store has started selling hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks which are usually not sold in a hardware store. So, utilizing the situation and making it profitable is important. This will bring in additional income with very less investment. Also, keep the manufacturing units running at a low worker capacity. Encourage other employees to work from home. Use a Business Integration Software to ease important communication with your team.
Read More - Tackling Top 4 Sales Challenges In Indian SMEs
2. What Inventory To Be Stored?
Limit your stock to whatever sells the most. Investing in products that are not selling currently would lead to debt. Invest in products that have the highest demand in the market, this will in return help you to create more sales and have repeated sales. You can find item-wise product details by using invoicing, accounting, and inventory management platforms like TranZact.
3. How to Spend?
Mostly all the businesses, whether big or small in scale will still at least 06–07 months to revive and get back to previous levels. This also shows the importance of not spending even a single penny on unnecessary things at this point in time. For example, expenditure on renovation of your office or buying a new vehicle or store furniture can wait until your business is back on track.
4. How to Make Additional Income?
Utilize your office furniture, unused trucks/vehicles, or a portion of your store that you are not currently using. All these can be rented, leased, or sold. This will help you in getting additional income. The big takeaway and opportunity is something we see around us regularly. For example, many people are currently vacating their homes and going to their native towns or villages to be near their dear ones. Some of them might be looking for godowns etc. to keep their luggage temporarily and save on high monthly rent for the place they were staying at. This won’t require a lot of space. Many firms have come up with storage facilities for monthly rents now in their warehouses. This will also be helpful for people to store their luggage instead of taking it to their native and can be an additional income for you with 0 investment.
5. How to Retain Customers?
Many clients are preferring to do business digitally and have not gone anywhere since the beginning of the COVID-19. COVID Second Wave has given more push to this behavior So there’s definitely a need to explore new markets via digital means.
Is your regular client talking endlessly about your competitors’ digital invoices and payments? It’s time you start thinking about going digital too.
One of the biggest benefits of the shift toward a digital solution for business is the ability to store information online. This makes it much more convenient for customers to find the information they want, and often eliminates the need to speak with an employee. Digital manufacturing helps increase brand awareness, in turn helping businesses provide more customer-specific solutions. These small steps would help you to retain the customers that you have for a longer time.
Should I Make My Business Digital?
Yes! You should make your business digital and now is the right time. Even after COVID second wave is over, there is still a chance of the third or fourth wave. So you can't keep your business down for such a long time. Also a lot of your competitors may be already have made their business digital. You sure don't wanna be left behind.
Here is how your processes will be streamlined.
Here’s how the process goes for most wholesalers and manufacturers.
- The manufacturer receives the customer inquiry.
- The manufacturer sends a quotation against the inquiry to the customer.
- Customer sends PO to the manufacturer.
- PO is converted to a work order and sent to the store team.
- The store team checks the inventory if they need to order new raw material.
- If yes, then the Purchase team issues a PO to the supplier of raw material.
- Purchase team hands inventory to the store team.
- The manufacturing team uses inventory for production.
- Product is dispatched.
Plenty of businesses, especially smaller ones such as start-ups, still prefer to do this entire process manually because they think it saves them money. However, as previously mentioned, this isn’t true at all. Manual work creates room for error, and with errors come unexpected costs.
Read More - Digital India: Why Businesses should Go Digital?
Platforms like TranZact provide you with a real-time view of each and every order, as well as what stage of the process the order is in. You can check whether an order has just been received, shipped, or invoiced. It eliminates boring manual data processing and replaces it with automatic data updates. Inventory management makes your workflow more efficient by integrating all the data so you can track orders, prepare invoices, send customer notifications, and accept customer payments within one system.
All these steps will help you in maintaining social distancing in your firm. If you are keen to make your business digital, TranZact is here to help. Check it out today and sign up for more information.