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Small business: How to thrive in a changed world

Posted 1 month ago in Advisors by Rachael Powell
Posted by Rachael Powell

At Xero, we’re doing all we can to help small businesses and their advisors to navigate these incredibly difficult business conditions. We’re all facing uncertainty at the moment, and we know many small business owners are looking for accurate information, practical tips and advice. 

To find out more about the impact of the pandemic on small businesses and identify the strategies that have proven successful in mitigating some of the impacts of COVID-19, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to investigate. This week, we launched their findings in a study called The next chapter for small business: How to thrive in a changed world.

The study is the result of over 2,000 surveys with small business owners and consumers across six countries: Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and the UK. Ten in-depth interviews with SMBs were also conducted. It gets to the heart of what’s hurting small businesses right now – and what’s helping them.

Every small business can learn about business continuity management and business resilience from this study so we encourage you to read it in full.

In the meantime, here are some of the findings that resonated with me.

Small businesses deliver value that is distinct from large enterprises

The study shows that personal interactions with consumers are key to success. Small business owners and employees can form personal connections with their customers, show empathy, and change quickly to meet customer needs. 

One hospitality business owner in Singapore said, “The most powerful advantage a small business has over a larger one is the human story… That inspires confidence and creates a personal connection.” 

Some consumer behaviours adopted during COVID-19 are here to stay

It’s no surprise that during the pandemic, small business revenue from online channels has seen a 12 percent increase from 2019.

More importantly, this trend is here to stay. While consumers expect to return to their old ways of spending and will return to physical stores, they also expect to keep using online channels.

Thriving in a world impacted by COVID-19 requires agility and strategic thinking

We all know small business owners have been pivoting fast, planning ahead and working to excel across all areas of business. That’s not an easy task at any time. 

Prior to COVID-19, a restaurant owner in North America was already very connected in the local community and put a lot of effort into marketing and branding. During the crisis, he leveraged network support and reduced operational costs. He focused on digital media spending and encouraged support from the local community with the message “support local”.

Key Actions

Forrester Consulting made five key recommendations on what small business owners can do to help their businesses thrive. 

Each recommendation is paired with a practical step you can action: 

  • Make company and financial information easily accessible and digitised
  • Create emotional connections with your customers
  • Start from your accountant to seek out available help in the ecosystem
  • Increase efficiency with cloud-based tools
  • Leverage partner data sources to predict and plan for the future

Read the full study to learn more about its recommendations, top actions to take, and to dive into the details.

2 comments

Rick Rodriguez
November 15, 2020 at 3.00 am

In this difficult time, every business must define strategies for itself. I agree that personal interaction with consumers is the key to success. Thank you for analyzing and publishing research.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Rick Rodriguez Xero
November 16, 2020 at 5.41 pm

Thanks so much for your comment, Rick – we’re so pleased you enjoyed our article.

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