Presented by DocuSign
Digital solutions and business processes are helping SMBs tackle new challenges and ramp up quickly once the economy rebounds. Learn more about how these technologies are helping SMBs better manage the situation now and prepare for the future when you register for this VB Live event.
COVID-19 is the elephant in the room, says Laurie McCabe, cofounder and partner at technology research and consulting firm SMB Group.
“We have to acknowledge that every business — I truly believe that every business — is going to be impacted by this,” says McCabe. “The trajectory is astonishing, not only in terms of health, but in terms of unemployment, business closures, and every facet of business ownership.”
The results of SMB Group’s March survey were staggering — 75% of all the SMBs surveyed had already reported a negative impact on their business. Among the SMBs that were feeling the negative impact, on average, they believed that revenues will drop by at least 30% or more over the next six months.
But it’s important to keep the big picture in mind, McCabe says — whether it was 9/11 or the Great Recession, so many businesses have always found a way to survive, if not thrive.
“If they plan well, they can weather this,” she says. “It’s about short-term planning, medium-term planning, and long-term planning.”
In the short term, it’s all about what you can do now to help your customers, help your suppliers, and do good now for good later.
“The things you do now to help others are not only going to help them stay in business and continue to be your customer, but are going to come back to you in goodwill in the future,” she explains. “Whether that’s your customers, your community, or your suppliers, extend what help and service you can to do good for them as we come together.”
In the medium term, it’s essential to think about how to manage this now, knowing that this virus will subside. It’s making strategic decisions about your operations — where you need to maintain, whether that’s employees or spending on goods and services, and where you can cut and try to balance that, so that as you come back, you’re not suddenly trying to go from zero to 60 because you cut everything to the bone.
Some of these government programs should help SMBs do that more effectively, she notes, but it’s important to analyze how your business operates and decide if there are technical or digital solutions that help your company run more efficiently and effectively now, and become a backbone in the future.
As you look at how you’re using the solutions you currently have, consider how you could use them even more effectively to keep your business successful now.
“Spend a little more time figuring out what these things can do for you, whether it’s a document-signing solution or a marketing solution,” she says. “There are probably a lot of things you’re not using as well as you could, and that you can get a lot more value from.”
She points to this very upcoming VB Live event, underscoring that now is a good time to take some of those webinars or online courses in order to learn how to use some of these tools that most likely you’re already paying for, and use them more effectively to get more value out of them.
Long-term, the most important thing to know is that we’re all learning from this crisis about what we can do a little differently, and what we can do better, McCabe says.
Online meetings and telecommuting are changing the face of how businesses work — and in the long term, maybe it will help you save money and have happier, more engaged employees by allowing more people to work at home more often, she adds.
“I don’t think any of us can predict yet all the ways businesses are going to be reshaped, but I think we can start to anticipate how things are going to be different, and start thinking about how you may want to adjust your business model for the world after this pandemic has run its course,” she says.
Finally, if your business is not going to be viable through this, what we saw out of the Great Recession was that a lot of people got laid off, a lot of businesses went under, but out of that, a thousand flowers bloomed.
A lot of people said, “What can I start now? Maybe nobody is hiring, but I can start a business.” That’s how SMB Group happened, McCabe says. When she and a business partner got laid off and nobody was hiring, they started their business to do what they love, and do it a little differently.
“There will be a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs to come in and build a better mousetrap,” she says. “I expect to see some cool businesses come out of this.”
Don’t miss out — register here for this VB Live event.
In this webinar, you’ll learn:
- How technology can help small businesses pivot their strategies
- Ways digital innovation is evolving business processes now and in the future
- How to transform the way you prepare, sign, act and manage agreements
- How the right technology can help grow your business during uncertainty
- Leo Rodriguez, Director, Small Business Partner Marketing, DocuSign Inc.
- Laurie McCabe, Cofounder & Partner, SMB Group Inc.
- Stewart Rogers, Analyst-at-Large, VentureBeat