Path to Impact 2021: Operating in the New Normal

Canadian small businesses continue to face headwinds. The COVID-19 pandemic, uncertain markets, social unrest, and shifting public health guidance continue to pose challenges and preoccupy businesses looking to chart a course to recovery. Download Scotiabank’s new small business report: “Path to Impact 2021: Operating in the New Normal”


Ready for the Future

Whether it’s changes to restrictions or inflation rate fluctuations, businesses need to be ready for anything. Whether a business is large or small, the following five steps will help ensure that it can handle whatever the future brings:

1. Build a Business for the New Normal

The pandemic will not be around forever – but consumer expectations have permanently shifted. The pandemic has supercharged the e-commerce landscape. Touchless payments, contactless pick-ups, mail-in returns, and same-day deliveries are now expected. Businesses that invested and continue to invest in their digital capabilities are better positioned to withstand future headwinds, and prepare themselves for expected growth in the second half of 2021 and throughout 2022.

2. Be flexible, as things can change

Small businesses know it better than most: just when we think we are done with the virus, it can rear its ugly head again. It remains possible that pandemic restrictions could be implemented again. In an environment so uncertain, flexibility is key. Small businesses need to offer multiple channels to do business and maintain a range of touchpoints with key customers, so that when one channel is closed, the others remain open.

3. Pick up all tools that are offered

Our research shows that those businesses that took advantage of government support programs in 2020 were in a much better position in 2021 – they were not only able to survive, but they were also able to make the necessary investments to adapt to the current environment. If your business is to thrive, you need to take advantage of every tool you can in order to succeed.

4. Look everywhere for talent and for customers

A new, digital business environment means new markets to service and new sources of talent. Consider broadening your reach beyond your immediate environment, not just for sales, but for recruitment. Remote work is quickly becoming part of the new normal, and your next great employee might live miles away.

5. Get a trusted advisor

You don’t have to navigate a complex, and constantly-changing, environment alone. A trusted small business advisor – whether a financial institution, a consultant or even a close friend – can provide valuable advice and an independent perspective. Further, knowledgeable advisors can point you towards the government support programs you need to survive – and give you access to the financing you needed to invest, pivot and succeed.

Download Scotiabank’s new small business report:
“Path to Impact 2021: Operating in the New Normal”

Download Scotiabank’s 2020 small business report:
The New Path to Impact: Facing the Future with Cautious Optimism”