(StatePoint) — Small businesses are the heartbeat of communities. They pump life into neighborhoods, making them vibrant places to live, work and raise families, and are key to millions of local jobs. In fact, approximately 50% of all Americans are employed by a small business and 99% of American businesses are small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Small business is big business,” said Wells Fargo’s head of Small Business Derek Ellington. “As a bank that proudly serves over 3 million small business customers, we are still supporting small businesses in their post-pandemic recovery, but we’re also seeing many growing businesses bringing new ideas to life, and going from surviving to thriving. Now more than ever, it’s an important time for small businesses because they are such a vital part of the economy.”
To further power economic growth, strengthen your business, and deliver on the products and services the nation depends on every day, Wells Fargo offers the following four tips to move from surviving to thriving:
1. Be flexible. If there was one glaring lesson business owners learned from COVID-19, it was to be flexible. Businesses had to revamp their online offerings and create a digital, ecommerce presence. Most had to change relationships with supply chains and vendors or reduce hiring. When it comes to business planning for the next six, 12 or even 18 months, one thing is certain: flexibility will be key. Between staffing demands, supply chain delays and rising interest rates and inflation, write your plans in pencil. Most importantly, be nimble enough to pivot, using your experiences over the past two years as a guide.
2. Stay in the know. Stay informed of the latest developments that could impact your business. For example, what do rising rates and growing costs of supplies and services mean for you? A small business banker can help you understand your options based on your particular business and needs, and make any necessary adjustments. Keep in touch with your tax advisor, accountant, and local chambers of commerce to stay in the know.
3. Prepare for new competition. Now that life has regained a sense of normalcy, new business trends are emerging fast. To prepare for new competition, stay ahead of your competitors and drive new growth:
• Know your customers, and find and solve their pain points
• Ensure you have competitive pricing
• Change your business model and services to stay ahead
• Provide exceptional customer service to existing and new customers
• Target new markets
4. Invest in growth strategically. To continue to grow, innovate and attract the best employees, demonstrate that you’re willing to invest in the future. However, it’s never cheap, and you might not be able to afford needed investments with your current revenue. Before borrowing money or taking out a loan, consider opportunities like changing your payments or receivable collection process, or reducing expenses. Then look into the right lending opportunities when you are ready to accomplish big milestones like expanding, relocating, or adding new technologies with more capabilities. Strategic growth is all about investing in the right areas of your business at the right time to create an infrastructure in which you can flourish.
For more small business tips and resources, visit wellsfargo.com/biz.