Want to tackle the cost-of-living crisis head-on? Start by taking this advice to help your business adapt.
We’re living through a cost-of-living crisis. Energy costs are rising, the price of goods is at an all-time high, and pay packets aren’t stretching as far as they used to. Customers and employees aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch though – businesses are too.
There’s good news though.
There are lots of small changes you can make to adapt during tricky times. These tweaks could even put your business in the best place to ride out future storms. So, we’ve looked at four ways technology can help you thrive and survive during these challenging economic times.
Move efficiency up your to-do list
Rising inflation means everything is pricier, so money simply doesn’t go as far as it did a year ago. So, it’s no surprise that consumers are cutting back on buying non-essential items. With less opportunities to make sales, your business should start looking for ways to become leaner and more efficient – and automation can really help here.
Even better news – there are lots of low -cost options, so you don’t need to spend a lot to get them set up.
Focus on adding a personal touch
Your business might not always be able to compete with big organisations, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, customers like shopping with smaller retailers, when they can. Why? Perhaps they appreciate the 1-2-1 customer service. Maybe it’s down to more unique product choices. Or, in some cases, they want to invest in the local community.
Whatever their reason is, if you can’t compete on price, instead focus on finding out why customers would come to you and not a larger competitor. Making the most of your business’ unique personality is a really nice way to set yourself apart.
Again, technology is your friend here. Use social media channels and your website to really bring out your personality. Respond to customer queries or complaints speedily and with empathy, so they know you care about their needs. Reward repeat shoppers with tailored products or personalised deals that fit what they’ve bought before.
Building meaningful relationships with new and existing customers is something that more established businesses often struggle to offer, so think about what your business can offer to really get to know and connect with your customers.
While technology can help you improve how your business works, it can also make running it cheaper.
Gas prices have rocketed in the last few months due to ongoing world events, which has had a knock-on effect on how much everyone's paying for energy.
While you should be checking if your current bill matches your actual usage, there’s more you can do trim everyday use too. Whether that’s installing a smart meter to track how much energy you’re using, or using smart lighting that automatically turns off when lights aren’t needed – there are lots of ways tech can help you reduce rising utility bills.
Check on your team
The cost-of-living crisis isn’t just about money; it’s also had a big impact on people’s wellbeing, with many businesses reporting higher rates of mental health decline among their teams.
This is a worrying trend for employers. After all, a happy and healthy workforce is a productive one. So, staying on top of how they’re feeling is important. There are many ways you can do this – ranging from training up mental health first aiders with the internationally-recognised Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) International, to using a HR system where you can record all manager conversations with your teams. Or you could even look into using anonymous chatbots to support employees in need. Whatever you do, make sure your team know you’re committed to helping them through difficult times.
Make changes today to help protect your business tomorrow
While these tips are useful in times of crisis, they’re valuable for the long-term, too. The truth is, no one can predict what will happen. If you use technology to improve operations, reduce costs and support your team though, you’ll be better placed to manage whatever challenges you face down the line.
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