3 Ways Your Small Business Can Thrive Post-Pandemic

Disclaimer: This interview was recorded on May 14, 2021.

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It’s no secret that the pandemic was detrimental to many small businesses worldwide. More than half of small-business owners in the U.S. surveyed by Business Wire last October reported a significant decline in sales, and over 200,000 businesses were forced to closed in 2020.

While things seem to be on the rise for many, uncertainty remains both due to the lingering threat of outbreak, and concerns over the trajectory of economic rebound.

How You Can Pivot Post-Pandemic

1. Plan Ahead to Combat Unpredictability

While owning a small business usually always comes with some unpredictability as a general rule, the pandemic definitely turned just about everything upside down.

We can all agree that having an entrepreneurial mindset was one of the most crucial factors in determining whether small businesses survived the chaos and disruption of the past 2 years.

Planning ahead, while not always feasible (cough, cough COVID), where you can and while you can, will save you when it comes to combating unpredictability.

One of the biggest challenges many small businesses have faced is a lack of supply battling against an increase in demand. For the floral industry, this is no exception. 

“It’s because it takes about a year, year and a half for the planting season to produce the quality and look that our suppliers are looking for and thus, when COVID first hit, farmer’s were unable to go out in their fields and plant,” says Judie Hoopai, Co-Owner, Higdon Florist. 

Ordering product ahead of time has become a necessity and a part of daily life.

Mike Black, owner of JetFresh, a wholesale florist in Miami-Dade County, Florida, suggests placing standing orders. Not a huge amount, but your baseline, your nuts and bolts, about 40-50% of what you need. 

“Standing orders are prioritized over the open market. Sellers know the product is sold, it’s a done deal,” says Black.

Even as things begin to open up, continue this mindset and don’t let your guard down. As we’ve seen, our newfound unpredictable world unfortunately isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

2. Choosing the Right Business Partner

Choosing the right business partner is a challenge in and of itself, let alone post-pandemic. 

In a world where small businesses have had to shift, pivot, and in many cases change the way they do business entirely, the importance of having the right people by your side has never been more essential—and can ultimately mean the difference between failure and success.

  1. Creativity: When crisis strikes and circumstances become impossible to predict, the ability to swiftly switch gears and change direction is essential to survival. Just like restaurants and bars found alternate routes to serve their customers: delivery, take out, make-it-yourself kits, things like that—it’s essential to be willing to ask the question: “What can we do to make this work?” As Daniel Melino of Accru Harris Orchard Adelaide states: “Creativity leads to innovation, and this is an essential trait to look for when choosing a partner. A creative partner will help your company survive the tough times and thrive in good ones.”
  2. Resiliency: Being an entrepreneur is tough on a good day. Being able to hit the ground running and pick yourself up out of the dirt makes all the difference when it comes to running a successful small business. Businesses that were willing to face the COVID challenge head-on and grow from it have done well. Ensuring the people on your team won’t quit on you when the going gets tough is crucial.
  3. Honest Communication: Communication certainly took a hit when the pandemic hit. Face-to-face interaction between clients and staff became slim and online communication took over. The businesses that are succeeding are efficient in explaining how (or if) they’re operating, describing what changes they have made for customer and staff safety, and listening to customers’ needs and concerns. Keeping your customers informed every step of the way was (and still is) key. The same goes for business partners. Think of it as a business marriage. Your business partner is your “work spouse.” If there’s no communication in your “marriage,” well then it’s not really going to work, right?
  4. Clear Expectations: Low finances became somewhat of a norm for many small businesses during the pandemic and is still a huge issue for many. You and any prospective partner need to discuss how much financial risk you both can tolerate and if additional money will need to come from loans, venture capitalists, etc. The best thing you and any potential partner can do before signing any agreement is meet with a financial professional and put together a plan of action. The same goes for current business partners. It’s never too late to revamp or create a new financial plan. 

3. Cultivate a Stress Free Work Environment

Employees have gone through it, just as much as you have. Every step, every hardship, every rocky road. Show them how much their hard work means to you. Mike Black and his team came up with something so unique to show employees their appreciation. They wanted to give something that would genuinely benefit their employees. Mike Black states, “80% of our employees at the farm are female. These women work really hard. It’s back-breaking work. I know I couldn’t do it. They have to be at the farm at 6 or 7 a.m. and then have to go home do family things?” Black’s staff came up with the idea of giving employees the opportunity to bring in their laundry and have their laundry done for them while they’re at work. 

“We built a room, bought some commercial washing and drying machines, and eliminated that whole chore they would normally have to do on the weekend. We wanted them to have some more time to spend with their families.”

On top of that, they also have a doctor that comes to the farm if his employees need any medical attention and give free eyeglasses to those who need them. 

Supplying lunch at a minimal cost to the employee is also a daily practice. If they work late, dinner is also supplied free of cost. 

“They have done so many wonderful things, not just for the business side of it, but for the social side of it, and I’m very proud of them for the things that they’ve done there.” 

Showing your employees a little bit of genuine appreciation can go a long way.

  1. Be gracious: This is a stressful time that none of us know how to navigate. Giving your employees more time to complete more challenging tasks is a great way to show them you care about them and their mental health and want them to succeed.
  2. Check-in: Something as simple as asking someone how they’re doing can make a world of difference in their day and how they view their workplace (and boss), which then translates into their quality of work. 
  3. Lunch: This can be virtual or in-person, depending on your situation! If yours is a remote company, sending your employee’s gift cards and encouraging them to treat themselves to lunch on a random Friday afternoon is a great idea. 
  4. Special Events: Don’t forget to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries!
  5. Impromptu Surprises: Incorporating small surprises into your company culture can really help boost overall morale. Pizza, donuts, a surprise puppy visit—you get the gist.

More About Our Guest

Mike Black is the President of Jet Fresh Flower Distributors, a wholesale florist in Miami, Florida. His career began at the young age of 17 in his parents wholesale floral shop. Growing up, he didn’t really like school, but loved the hustle and bustle of the floral business. 

Black took his natural entrepreneurial spirit and ventured out on his own. Jet Fresh Fresh is a family-owned and operated wholesale flower importer, distributor and grower providing fresh-cut flowers worldwide.

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