There’s no question 2020 has been an extraordinarily challenging year for SMBs. 63% of small businesses say they have been ‘negatively impacted’ by the pandemic, and 41% say they have experienced a 50% or more decline in their revenue.[i]
At the same time, however, SMBs remain optimistic about the future, with over 50% of business leaders in APAC saying they are confident about recovery.[ii]
In keeping with this sense of optimism, in April, the founder and CEO of Tech Aisle, Anurag Agrawal, suggested the disruption caused by the pandemic could actually give small and medium-size businesses an all-important strategic advantage.[iii]
He quoted Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, who said that “in the new world, it is not the big fish which eat the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eat the slow fish.”
Agrawal’s perspective is that smaller businesses are able to be far more agile in their response to unexpected circumstances, and can therefore pivot their products, services, processes or overall business model, far more easily – thus ‘swimming’ faster and stealing market share from bigger, slower competitors.
“In every crisis, there is opportunity. If history is any indication, then SMBs are well-placed to narrow the banks of uncertainty. With integrative thinking, SMBs will be adept at manoeuvring around the edges of flames that have been fanned by COVID-19,” Agrawal says.
Now, seven months on, will this aquatic analogy, and prediction that smaller businesses have the potential to thrive in 2021, hold true?
It really depends on the steps businesses take now.
If there’s one thing this year has taught us, it’s that we need to take clear and strong action in times of disruption. There’s no point simply waiting for stability to return when we have the power to actively enhance our own culture, ways of working, or even our business model.
So what does this action look like? What should small or medium-sized businesses be focused on right now in order to effectively seize market share?
Our top four recommendations include:
Staff remain a business’ most important asset, and it’s essential to identify and embrace opportunities to help people to do their best work, wherever they are, and however they want to work. With remote working here to stay, at least in some capacity, this is becoming an increasingly vital consideration. According to a recent ADAPT study of Australian technology executives, it’s anticipated that at least 43% of workers will want to continue from home after COVID-19 restrictions end.[iv]
Planning for innovation
It’s all very well to have a progressive mindset – but in order for innovation to actively happen, the business needs to have the right foundations in place to support it. This could mean optimising processes and workflows to ensure greater agility; investing in the network infrastructure to ensure it’s robust and secure enough to support the introduction of new technology; or providing end-users with the devices they need to work efficiently and think creatively. Regardless of what’s appropriate for each individual business, it’s important to have a firm (yet flexible) plan.
At the same time as building foundations for growth, it’s also important to un-shackle the business from anything that’s not enabling progress – whether it’s dated technology, poor-performing products or services, or inefficient processes. The leanest and most agile ‘fish’ will swim the fastest.
Choosing the right partner
Of course, having the right guidance, at every step, is a crucial element of success in the current uncertain environment. This is where HP and its partner network can help. Most HP partners are themselves small businesses, and therefore have a very real understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist in the current climate. HP partners can also offer expert support, insight and guidance to help businesses understand their current position, identify where any gaps exist, and prioritise their IT budget in a way that’s likely to deliver the most value.
Where to next?
The ‘Your Time Is Now’ e-Book from HP is a great place to start. It explains why now is an ideal time for small businesses to seize market share, and offers some clear guidance for businesses looking take advantage of the current situation.
Plus, download this e-Book today, and you will automatically go in the draw to WIN a state-of-the art HP remote workplace valued at $4,344, which includes an:
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If you are interested in learning more about HP and how we can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
[i] Kochie’s Business Builders, Research reveals impact of Covid-19 on Aussie Small Businesses, April 2020, [online], available at https://www.kochiesbusinessbuilders.com.au/research-reveals-impact-of-covid-19-on-aussie-small-businesses/
[ii] Anurag Agrawal, Techaisle Take, 27 April 2020, [online], available at https://techaisle.com/images/smbcovid19/techaisle-take-covid-19-impact-on-smb-tech-investments.pdf
[iii] Anurag Agrawal, Techaisle Take, 27 April 2020, [online], available at https://techaisle.com/images/smbcovid19/techaisle-take-covid-19-impact-on-smb-tech-investments.pdf
[iv] Australian Financial Review, Almost half Aussie workers will be home post Covid-19: study, September 21 2020, [online], available at https://www.afr.com/technology/almost-half-aussie-workers-will-be-at-home-post-covid-19-study-finds-20200918-p55x58