By: The Fishmonger*
Wherever you are in the world you are not able to avoid the way things are changing. Unfortunately, disruption in so many of the business drivers are impacting pressures daily for all organizations and solutions must be found for survival.
If you think you are going to sit still and do nothing, and business will continue without any change then The Fishmonger wishes you every success… but even if you only have one eye open you will realize now is the time to get your survival guide ready for the bumpy ride into the future!
✓ According to a recent survey these are the issues all businesses will face now and into the near future: Changing Business Trends and Hyper-competition – The COVID-19 pandemic influenced every niche and significantly increased competition among businesses across all industries.
Business strategies need to be re-evaluated to ensure your pathway to success is right or you need to find new revenue generation opportunities.
“The rapid transformation can bring prosperity to agile companies while overthinking, conservative leaders are left behind.”
✓ Supply Chain Slowdowns – One of the top business challenges is overcoming supply shortages and
late deliveries. This is especially affecting supply chains in North America, Australia, and Europe.
As supplies become scarcer, prices go up.
The supply chain tie-up that started during the pandemic is a complex puzzle that usually is not thoroughly explained easily.
Three giant ocean shipping alliances that own the world’s biggest ships have been taking up so much space and time at ports it is creating a chain reaction. Mixed in with this chain reaction includes labor shortages, high storage fees, and pandemic fears that have created a surge in consumer demand.
“All of these factors contribute to the supply chain crisis. It is not clear what the solution will be for returning to normal.”
✓ Labor Shortages and Attracting Talent – Through the pandemic people have made changes and we have seen the “great resignation” from 2020-2021. Many Americans quit during the pandemic to re-think their family life and career choices.
But even before the pandemic struck, specific industries, especially those with low level entry requirements such as ours, were experiencing labor shortages. The labor crisis goes deeper than people getting sick of their jobs due to pressures created by the pandemic.
Internet learning opportunities have opened doors for many people. Invest in your people through
training and engaging with them.
✓ Mental health has entered the equation for managing employees. That means employers need to be more mindful of mental well-being in the workplace. Elevation of stress levels through increased multitasking contributes to workplace deficiencies in terms of more paranoia, reduced focus, diminished loyalty, and decreased productivity.
“Small businesses must be particularly concerned about attracting and nurturing loyal talent due to limited resources so think about what makes your business different.”
✓ Investing in New Technology – In a tough economy marketers need to implement survival strategies designed to help them survive and thrive.
Most importantly, a tough market is not the time to stop communicating through effective promotion as much as this is the first thing people do to cut costs. Increasingly there is the growing threat of cybercrime and data privacy risks.
This increased complexity creates significant operational challenges whether you are a global company expanding into new markets or a small business in a country town.
✓ Securing Adequate Funding – The pandemic has led to shutdowns that have resulted in severe financial losses for small businesses. But the good news for some is that resilient firms often bounce back stronger after being tested by significant challenges.
One of the ongoing small business trends that began before the pandemic has been tightening budgets. Trying to do more with fewer people and less spending can be achieved through automation/digitization.
For many small companies, a solution to business survival has been reducing salaries while creating more flexible work schedules – not an easy task but it is amazing what can be achieved when you sit down and have a chat with your staff.
“Strategies to consider are many and much varies depending on your size and sector but generally speaking you need to create a ‘business survival mindset.’”
Your business survival plan should not just be a matter of developing and implementing specific strategies. The very nature of business requires you to be mindful of survival issues from the outset and on a daily basis. Your financial and emotional survival depends on this ongoing evaluation.
To develop a mindset that will set your business up for survival, treat every business decision you make as relevant and important. Business survival should not just be reactive, or a response to difficult circumstances, but pro-active, setting you up for fewer crises and a less frequent need to scramble and panic.
“The Fishmonger knows from own experiences that running a business is always fraught with difficulty and struggling to survive.”
If you plan carefully and conscientiously monitor what is going on in the distinct parts of your operation, you will most likely have periods of healthy growth and times when everything runs smoothly.
But do not become complacent even if you have no current major headaches. Instead, think ahead and stay on top of internal and external threats that could shake up your hard-earned stability.
To ensure day-to-day business survival, it is important to have an ongoing understanding of what is going on in your operation. This requires a careful balance between hands-on management and delegating crucial decisions and tasks to people you trust to do them well and keep you informed about developments and challenges.
“Staying on top of your accounting is especially important. Whether or not you do your own accounting, you should be able to understand and interpret basic financial statements such as profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheet.”
These documents provide you with an overview that will help you catch difficulties that are starting to develop. If you monitor your cash flow carefully you will see problems before they arise and, hopefully, have plans in place to avoid any disasters.
The practice of management accounting (the process of gathering and analyzing data) will help you to keep your business afloat and healthy.
Develop metrics for tracking productivity and understanding which processes and products are most beneficial to your bottom line. Learn to recognize patterns, make improvements, and then track the results of these innovations.
“Many small businesses do not do this and with the right technology (could easily be a phone app) it is relatively easy.”
The Fishmonger is a believer in a four prong attack solution (Diversification, Increasing Revenue, Cutting Costs, and Improving Cash Flow) that every seafood business should look at in 2022. At every decision point you need to consider price versus quality.
Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater as quality is an important consideration.
Like any good business models, the importance of investing in multiple types of activities is essential. For example, if you have a fresh fish retail shop you should investigate engaging in other activities such as home delivery or cooking fish so that if the financial climate is unkind in any one of these areas, you will have other revenue resources to cushion the blow.
If your business offers a range of products to a broad range of customers, you will insulate yourself from the fallout if one of these areas hits a rough time.
There are an unlimited number of ways your business can bring in additional income, provided you are resourceful and creative. From introducing new products to generation new markets, never grow complacent and always keep innovating.
Even if you are satisfied with what you are currently earning, you should always be thinking ahead and anticipating new hurdles that will inevitably come your way.
Discuss with your family and staff and get their input or take a few hours and see what your competition is doing – so much can be discovered by learning from others!
It is not enough to just increase your revenue if you do so by implementing changes that cost as much as they earn. Take a serious look at every aspect of your business and evaluate whether there might be ways to tighten things up and improve your bottom line.
Can you make your production more efficient or find less expensive sources for key materials?
The more thought and energy you put into answering these questions, the more opportunities you will find. The opportunity to put ‘sustainability’ front and center as a central theme for all businesses is there to cut expenses and waste to maximize productivity and profitability.
Improving cash flow:
No matter how brilliant your ideas, you will not be able to implement them unless you have enough cash on hand to keep your company operating. Innovating can be expensive, as you inevitably have employees and suppliers and rent to pay.
Work with your customers and provide incentives for them to pay you promptly. Secure low cost lines of credit if you can, and always keep some cash on hand for emergencies. Build a loyalty program with your clients thus incentivizing their purchasing and their reliance on you.
Despite your best efforts to manage your business in ways that will help it survive and thrive, there will be times when threats and problems require immediate attention. These difficulties may come about because of something you have done while running your company such as hiring an ineffective manager or introducing an ill-fated product.
“Alternatively, they may come about because of something beyond your control such as an economic downturn or a wellfunded competitor.”
Overall to survive you need to develop and stick to mindful and healthy habits and teach your staff
to do the same. This practice will not help you to always avoid crises, but it will make it much easier to manage problems when they arise.
References and sources consulted by the author on the elaboration of this article are available under previous request to our editorial staff.