The past two years have reminded us all that small business heroes like you have the talent, guts and determination to survive any challenge. It’s one of those moments in history where people will say, “They’ll be making movies about this for years to come.” This is a critical time for small businesses to not only survive but thrive – here are three tips to help you win the day.
Heroes should be everywhere and at the same time (sell)
Independent cinema was one of the worst affected industries during the pandemic. So it’s great news that this year’s surprise hit is called an independent movie Everything everywhere at once. The title of that movie is also the best advice I can give small businesses. In a new survey of 2,000 small businesses, increasing online sales is still the number one priority for small businesses, with 43% saying it’s their top priority today. Whether your small business is selling products or providing a valuable service, an omni-channel commerce strategy is a critical part of small business success. With an omnichannel platform you can increase online and offline revenue without getting bogged down in operational complexity and chaos. When it comes to omnichannel selling, your favorite spreadsheet can’t save all day.
About 91% of small businesses say it’s important for people to be able to find or buy their business online. Self-described brick-and-mortar companies agree: Three-quarters say they should be accessible or selling online this year. For companies that have fully integrated online and offline sales, 79% predict growth, while for brick-and-mortar businesses only 47% predict growth. If you’re a brick and mortar retailer, be sure to try an online trading platform this summer. Because like any hero testing his powers, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to scale to new heights.
Technology helps heroes see their (cash flow) future
Movie heroes often rely on technology to up their game and save the day. Sometimes it’s an AI-powered super suit, or a last-minute fix that brings a crew home safely from the stars. Our new research found that the biggest threat facing US small businesses today is inflation. More than half of all small businesses say inflation is a threat to their business, versus 45% in December 2021† That’s causing widespread cash flow problems – 68% of small businesses say they have a cash flow problem. Of those who currently have cash flow problems, 40% have already dived into their cash reserves to try and solve them. A comprehensive online platform for small businesses can help clarify cash flow. Forecasting capabilities can help small businesses plan and budget for expenses, especially with a payment solution that also provides capital. Because small business heroes want to avoid that other kind of movie moment — walking away from a traditional bank without the loan they need to keep their dream alive.
Heroes work together for (small business) success
By the end of most movies, the hero learns a valuable lesson: you don’t have to go it alone, and working together is a great way to succeed. In a new survey of more than 8,000 consumers in the US, 64% of respondents described small business owners as “community heroes.” There is near universal agreement (99%) that small businesses are doing their best for their customers and their communities – 70% say they should get more recognition. Likewise, small businesses say that community support is one of their top secrets to success.
We saw great examples of this community spirit during the pandemic, and that was especially true for movie theaters. According to our recent Small Business Recovery Report, movie theater revenues fell by an average of 51% in the first full year of the pandemic. Many independent theaters and smaller chains are still struggling to survive.
To survive, many independent cinemas have partnered with complementary companies in their community – businesses that target similar audiences, but don’t compete. The result? Pop-up drive-ins that showed movies in the empty parking lots of large entertainment venues and on the sides of large buildings. Food trucks provided popcorn, ice cream and snacks, and local musicians played on stage ahead of the main event. These team-ups helped save jobs and keep communities strong during a difficult time. How can partnerships with complementary companies help your business and community?
Make time to feed your imagination
The best thing about going to the movies is getting lost in another world for a while. Small business heroes work hard and you need to make sure you make time for the good things in life. You never know where you will find the solution to a small business challenge.