Quick stat: Sixty-five percent of small-business owners are doing more business online. Why? The pandemic forced them to adapt. Challenges breed opportunities for business owners to reevaluate the way things are done. In fact, several world-renowned businesses have seen their greatest success amid the toughest times. Even the biggest companies -- think Netflix, Microsoft, and Amazon -- have all had to adapt to survive.
If you're looking for a place to start, here are three questions to help identify areas of untapped opportunity.
1. Where is the industry heading?
Staying close to industry trends and the movement of your competitors is always a smart business move -- no matter the economic or health climate. You may wonder why the restaurant next door is eating up all your customers -- until you find out they've introduced online ordering, leaving you and your traditional methods behind. Stay competitive and stay up to date on news and happenings before the trend-winds knock you off your feet. Of course, trends don't equal success. Only ride the wave if it makes sense for your mission, brand, and customers.
2. What is the greatest pain point for your business?
Starting with pain points (while painful) is a quick way to discover what may be holding you back from real success. Some things to consider: Is your POS system slowing you down? Does your e-commerce platform make it difficult for customers to contact you? Are your social media channels outdated? All of these questions can lead to solutions that have the potential to materially change the service you provide. Something as simple as a new flow of your store can make all the difference in efficiency or customer experience.
3. Where is there space to create change?
Innovation doesn't always have to involve technology. It can also mean adapting packaging methods or restructuring how you reach customers. When innovation does involve tech, think smarter not harder. Invest in software that tangibly makes operations smoother and more efficient, like inventory tracking, accounting, and customer relationship management (CRM). However, these tools are useless without training. Taking the time to get your staff fully trained will save time and potential costs in the future.
In the end, good leaders and strong businesses are ones that use every situation -- good or bad -- as an opportunity to adapt and innovate. Commit to never letting adversity get the best of your business. Rather, let it be a driving force that propels you closer to your next big break.