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The last few weeks have been a bit of a shock to the system for most of us. As a business owner, you may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering whether your business will survive the next few months and beyond. Once the essentials have been dealt with, such as managing your cash flow and supply chain, checking contracts and insurance and ensuring the welfare of your team, it might be time to start thinking about adapting or expanding your business offering to ensure business survival and growth.

Be an Innovative Leader

During a crisis like this, many of the businesses that survive will be those with open-minded leaders that can adapt quickly to change and inspire their team to do the same. Regardless of your own thoughts on the severity of the virus, the pandemic has had a worse impact on the economy than the 2008 financial crisis and affected the lives of every single person in the UK (and most of the world). We’re living and working in a drastically different way.

Your customer base, how they communicate, their pain points, their accessibility – these may all have changed within a short space of time, so revisit your business model and check if it’s still relevant or whether you need to re-think it. Strategyzer has some great resources to help with this.

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt!

Instead of feeling disheartened about the current situation, try to see the opportunities available to you and your business. With everything going online, there may no longer be the same geographical barriers (imagined or otherwise) limiting your customer base. With the changing working environment and use of clever technology, your team may start to think more creatively and create new solutions. You may find that remote working works for your business, giving you the opportunity long term to reduce your running costs (office rent, utility bills, mileage allowances). You may even identify a new market for your product or service in an industry you had not yet explored.

Here are few examples of incredibly agile businesses that have been able to amend their offerings or seize new opportunities.

  • Training providers, networking and events businesses and fitness instructors are all embracing technologies such as Zoom, Skype and Facebook Live to take their services online.
  • Manufacturers such as gin distilleries, breweries and car manufacturers are starting to produce hand sanitiser and medical ventilators.
  • Pubs and restaurants are starting to host virtual get togethers and offer home deliveries.

What to Do Now?

Business diversification (entering a new market or industry) is a huge undertaking and you may risk the core business slipping if the right resources are not in place – do not jump into something without the right preparation. Being able to adapt your business to changing market conditions however, is an absolute necessity and this pandemic is proving that you need to do this.

If you want to discuss any ideas about adapting or diversifying your business contact the Cheshire and Warrintgon Business Growth Programme team at the University of Chester and one of our Business Development Managers will be in contact This support is fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and available to Cheshire and Warrington SMEs.

By Bryony Robertson,
Business Development Manager