To better prepare small business owners financially, the St Johns County Chamber of Commerce’s North Business Council held a virtual meeting April 10, focusing on how can adapt during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Small businesses should be re-evaluating business plans, revenue drivers and industry verticals, and protecting important documents and identification information, according to JAX Chamber Vice President of Entrepreneurial Growth Carlton Robinson.
The first step, Robinson said, is to identify and or evaluate a business’s plan, strategy and model. Each is different and provides different information.
“A business strategy sets out the purpose of your business, who it serves and what the long-term mission is,” Robinson said.
A business plan also provides in-depth details on how to achieve the goals of the business, including financial results.
“I think all of us are taking a look at how to get more customers, how to let people know you’re open and also working remotely,” Robinson said.
The next step is re-evaluating revenue drivers.
“So, as we look at our businesses, what’s the core thing that actually helps us make money? What are all the different areas that are able to generate revenue?” Robinson said. “When we think about Uber, we only think about ride-sharing. But Uber actually makes money off of their platform,” Robinson said, explaining it may have started out by ride-sharing but the platform now also has UberEats, UberAir and even UberFreight.
Industry verticals are vendors that cater to a specific industry. Examples include the automotive, healthcare, ecommerce and travel and marketing industries.
“This requires us to go back through our books of customers spending with us and identify how these customers got to us,” Robinson said.
Robinson also said it’s essential for any business to protecting important documents and identification.
“I can’t talk about this enough,” he said. “As small business owners, we’ve got to protect our identity and our documents. Not just our driver’s licenses or passports, but what’s called our personally identifiable information, or your PII.”
Stephen Hudson, chair of the North Business Council, offered ideas how to improve online business representation. He strongly recommended registering and using the Google My Business website to increase exposure.
“Businesses usually post about 70% of its information, it’s partially filled, but there’s so much more information that Google is allowing you to show about your business,” Hudson said. “Fill it out!”
The future for small businesses is unknown, but if owners stay vigilant, active and efficient, both online and in the community, Hudson and Robinson believe there will be a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.