Change is the thing

Change is the thing

The world is a different, and somewhat strange, place now. We’re all finding our groove again as we shift gears from lockdown life, to ‘living with covid’. This brings the chance to rediscover amazing things and seize new and fantastic opportunities. 

But it is of course, set against fresh challenges; with inflation, supply change disruption and international instability all wreaking havoc. Small businesses must now balance the cost-of-living crisis alongside making strategic calls on how to adapt, once again, to a changing world. 

They must decide what to keep from lockdown – when many pivoted rapidly and amazingly online – and what to bring back or adapt to a hybrid format. Return staff to the office? Go back to face-to-face customer selling? Bank on previous demand resuming, or evolving further in new ways?

People are certainly craving in-person activities, and there is an inspiring and invigorating new focus on experiential. Bustling local markets, independent food festivals and pop-ups have returned, all of which provide fantastic opportunities for small businesses to engage in new ways with customers and the local community. 

In-person networking is also making a comeback. This was seen first-hand at the new eBay Business Roadshow, which kicked off at the end of last month in Sheffield, gathering small businesses from across the region together in a new and exciting format. 

There was much to celebrate, as this marked the launch of eBay’s first ever physical regional roadshow and investment programme in the UK, which will deliver year-long training and support. And I’m excited that Small Business Britain will be partnering with them on this.

With events taking place in twelve cities over the next twelve months across the UK, the Roadshow will turn up at the doorsteps of small businesses across the country, helping entrepreneurs to both start up and scale their businesses. 

This event was special because it allowed small businesses to connect in a different way offline, and brought hugely valuable insight; from business clinics and 1-2-1 advice, to support with everything from marketing, to accessing finance, to selecting the right delivery provider. Critically, it had a huge focus on making the most of online opportunities, particularly from a sales perspective. 

After the huge digital leap made during the pandemic, it is really important that small businesses continue to focus on building their digital skills and capabilities so they can make the most of future opportunities. Support networks and access to training and investment will be crucial for helping small businesses with this. Shifting to online has also opened so many doors and made the world of entrepreneurship a far more accessible and flexible place than it was pre-pandemic.  

And with eBay’s research showing that almost 7 in 10 (69%) small businesses are struggling in the face of inflation and emergency loans ending, finding ways to boost sales and revenue is one of the main solutions out there for businesses. To do this they must pursue all available routes to markets and customers, which means making the best of online and offline. 

Entrepreneurs come into their own in times of change. The hard lessons learned in the pandemic can still teach us a lot about navigating these turbulent economic times.

Connecting with other entrepreneurs, experts and those in your local community can create magical things. Reaching out for help and support can open new doors. Rediscovering offline brings fresh opportunities, whilst online continues to offer a world of possibilities for businesses.

Now it’s time to recalibrate our thinking as things change once again and explore fresh, new hybrid formats. Fundamentally, it’s all about being open to change and inviting it in. 

We’ll be heading all over the country with eBay, from Salford to Glasgow, Cardiff to Belfast. Further dates for the roadshow will be announced in the coming weeks and you can sign up to attend here:

Michelle Ovens
Michelle Ovens

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