3 questions to ask when evaluating the future of your business


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(NC) The last year has been challenging for small business owners who have made tremendous personal sacrifices to support their employees, customers and communities. While 2021 brings a renewed sense of hope and recovery, many are wondering whether to continue the journey or move on.

If you’re wondering what your next steps are, you can start by reaching out to experts in different fields.

“Throughout the pandemic, many business owners have found opportunities to pivot their operations, re-imagine their business model or recommit to their value propositions,” says Lori Darlington, vice president of small business and strategic partnerships at RBC. “Regardless of the route being considered, remember to connect with your professional network and bank advisor for support as you chart a path forward.”

Here are three key questions to ask yourself as you evaluate the future of your business:

1. What’s your financial forecast for the next few months?

Take a deep dive into your current financial position and cashflow – including emergency business funds, credit facilities and government funding – and consider different cash scenarios for the months ahead. For example, what will happen to your cashflow if your business operates at 25 per cent, 50 per cent, or 75 per cent? How might a focus on digital sales impact those predictions?

2. Are you keeping connected with your customer base?

Evaluating your current relationship with your customer base will be key to any decisions you make about the future of your business. Consider the following:

· Can your customers easily find you online through social media, community apps or a website?

· Do your products or services still resonate with your customers, or are there new market needs that require you to tweak your offerings?

If you have a loyal customer base or an existing channel of communication, such as newsletters or social media, it might even be worth asking them for direct feedback to inform your business strategy.

3. How are you feeling?

The pandemic has been stressful for business owners who have made personal sacrifices to survive. Don’t forget to pause and ask yourself, finances aside, where you are mentally and physically. Where do you want to be in the next six months, a year or three years?

Have this conversation with your business partners and family as well. If the strain of keeping your business afloat is too much, there’s no shame in putting your own mental and personal health as a priority.