OPINION

Small businesses must be versatile during COVID

Why small businesses must adapt during COVID

COVID-19 has created numerous challenges for businesses and, following a period of holding out for 'the new normal', it's become apparent that the only constant we can expect is change.

This is why being versatile and adaptable remains key for businesses, which can be seen in Australia's electrical industry.

Any industry market can change dramatically without warning.

For some areas, government restrictions have seen work dry up, but for others it has created huge opportunities, so you need to constantly evaluate what to start and what to stop doing.

There are a number of ways to remain agile as a business, starting with identifying the workflow peaks.

For example, generally commercial jobs start before the end of the financial year, homeowners want home improvements after their tax return and in the lead up to Christmas. Knowing what you will need to flex to is important.

Another important skill is knowing your gaps, as much as your expertise.

As an apprentice, my dad would tell me "If it's not right, we're not doing it" and I still stick by it today.

Your business should only flex as far as your skills allow. As an industry, one of the big changes we've seen is the rise of home automation. By embracing new tech like Clipsal Wiserâ„¢ Smart Home, we've created more flex to open up our business exponentially.

Listening and learning from everyone is also important. Business owners are generally experts in their field, but it's important to always be learning. I like to talk to a wide range of people as understanding our industry from a range of perspectives helps to find new ways to remain versatile.

It's like I always tell my team, "you've got two ears and one mouth; use your ears more than your mouth and listen to those around you".

Keeping your finger on the industry pulse is also a must. I've seen the industry move through regulatory changes, upgraded safety protocols, and the move to cutting edge green technology - the list goes on.

It's important to keep a good network of peers and ensure you have access to industry leading information sources. For instance, through a Club Clipsal scholarship program, I travelled to Hobart for the Master Electricians conference, and toured Clipsal facilities in Adelaide.

By being around peers and industry leaders, we are armed with the information we need to adapt to changes as they arise.

  • Ryan Stoddart, Stoddart Electrical
This story Why small businesses must adapt during COVID first appeared on The Canberra Times.