The way we live, work, and shop has changed forever, but the basics of how to run your business have never been more important.
In fact, the time is ripe for business owners to strengthen the core of their businesses and take them to the next level, says BNZ Business Partner Courtney Manning.
“There’ve been multiple setbacks that everybody’s experienced in the past couple of years; you’ve just got to learn from those and use that resilience to keep building a strong business,” she says.
And despite recent events, now is a really good time to start a new small business, she adds.
“We are living a life now that some of us have never experienced before and with that comes new opportunities that can lead to new business ideas.”
Take Kelly Bertrand. Bertrand, along with co-editorial directors Emma Clifton and Alice O’Connell found themselves out of jobs as Bauer Media NZ folded due to the Covid-19 crisis, they quickly came up with an idea for a new lifestyle website, Capsule.
Today their business is thriving, and Bertrand credits their success to a mix of getting expert advice and backing themselves.
“Covid-19 has offered a lot of opportunities, if you look in the right places,” she says.
From having a vision and detailed business plan through to focusing on customer service and embracing technology, here’s what to consider before taking an idea to market or to move your small business up to the next level.
Every successful business starts with a good idea, but that lightbulb moment needs to be followed up with a solid business plan to make the dream come to life, says Manning.
“A business plan is going to be the first real step in your business journey to figure out your “why”, which will suddenly become a very important thing for you during the lifespan of the business,” she says.
To get the basics of your business plan right, Manning suggests downloading a template like the one BNZ offers online.
FINANCE AND TAX
Money matters, and when it comes to navigating the complicated world of finance and tax, it’s crucial to find a good accountant, suggests Manning.
“Capsule’s got a really wonderful accountant who really helped us out with things like tax, and how do we pay ourselves, and what does the company structure look like,” says Bertrand.
“We had no idea about any of that, so having people around you who know what they are doing is key.”
For a marketing campaign to work it is crucial to know exactly what your business is offering, what message you are trying to deliver, and what makes your brand stand out from competitors, says Manning.
“You really need to have those things down pat before you even begin marketing, otherwise your campaign can just fall flat and cause little traction.”
But the best and most effective way to market your business is still good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising, Manning says.
“That’s the world we live in now. People love looking at reviews and googling products so if they don’t have a great experience with your business, word will travel.”
Being tech-savvy is no longer just a nice-to-have for businesses, it’s an essential if they want to survive in a world hit by Covid, says Manning.
“With a physical shop you can reach the people in your town or suburb when they walk through the front door, but with technology a small business in a small town in New Zealand can reach the whole world,” she says.
Being tech-savvy also means you can use social media to boost your brand, and that’s where most of Capsule’s web traffic comes from, says Bertrand.
“We started 18 months ago with literally nothing and we’ve managed to grow our readership and our unique views on our site every month,” she says.
The pandemic has created opportunities to really invest in the people who work for you, says Manning, who adds that business owners should look to hire staff who share the same business vision and values.
“A massive thing with staff retention and engagement is building relationships with all of your workers; know and ask how they are doing, how their families are, because it will lead to you getting the best out of them, and your business,” Manning says.
For more information on getting ahead, visit BNZ for business banking made easy.
This article is only for your information. It’s not professional advice (financial, legal, or otherwise) and can’t be relied upon. If you do use or rely on it, then no one, including BNZ, is liable for any resulting losses (both direct and indirect). Opinions may not be the same as BNZ (or anyone else). For help, please contact BNZ or your professional advisor.