A good preplanning strategy will not only help you through a crisis, but it will also help you protect your employees, your business, and the economy in general. If you’re a micro or small business, planning ahead is essential to avoid major losses resulting from a crisis. It’s also an apt way to learn from past experiences and prepare for future crises. 

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are crucial to the development of any country. They contribute a substantial portion to GDP, employment, and export. However, despite these benefits, these businesses have faced challenges throughout their existence. The recent pandemic highlighted the vulnerabilities of the MSME sector. Even those that survived the pandemic experienced substantial losses. That’s why it necessitates the need for planning ahead of time for MSMEs.

But how can MSMEs plan ahead of time?

To help these businesses survive and grow, they must develop a sound business plan to manage their future. To do the same, they must focus on:


Strengthening Existing Business Relationships

Most of the MSMEs focus more on building a newer customer base than sustaining the old/persisting customers. While new customers can enhance the business turnover, the existing customer base offers increasing potential while enabling cash flow (which is one of the biggest concerns for MSMEs). To make sustainable and profitable business relationships, it is necessary to maintain and embrace existing business relationships.

It’s simple to build strong business relationships, but the next step is to maintain them. Relationships take time to nurture and develop, and you must maintain them to ensure success. If you don’t stay in touch for a while, they’ll fall off your radar, and you won’t receive their replies. Similarly, you must maintain relationships with customers and suppliers. 

As with any relationship, business relationships aren’t permanent. While people in them can be a good source of new business opportunities, they can also dry up over time if the two of you don’t stay in touch. However, it’s crucial to maintain the same level of engagement with your business partners as you would with friends. Don’t let a lapse in communication cause a PR disaster. Stay on the radar by staying in touch through social media and sharing posts.

Being Alert to New Opportunities

Emerging trends are accelerating consumer behavior, and this change is affecting all businesses, including MSMEs. The recent pandemic has expedited this digital change and has significantly impacted consumer behavior across all categories. MSMEs must understand this new world of customer interactions to stay competitive and remain viable. MSMEs can benefit from early planning and implementation of new strategies.

Information accuracy is crucial during times of heightened tension. In such a case, MSMEs need to remain vigilant for new opportunities. The economy has experienced a significant slowdown since the COVID-19 outbreak began, but adapting to changes and inviting new opportunities have helped many companies survive this crisis. MSMEs often lack access to bank loans and rely on cash from family members and friends. By supporting MSMEs through public-private partnerships, governments can help ensure their success and sustainability. MSME owners need to be aware of the ongoing schemes to make the most out of them. 

Diversifying the Customer Base

In order to ensure a long-term sustainable business, it is vital to diversify the customer base. It involves finding a diverse group of suppliers and customers. By doing so, you can make your business more appealing to potential buyers, demonstrating a stable future and a high return on investment. However, diversifying your customer base can be an expensive proposition, so be sure to consider the long-term benefits of each customer base.

There exist numerous examples of successful companies that have found a niche and expanded. For example, Coca-Cola acquired Columbia Pictures in 1982 for $750 million. This decision to expand into an industry with no obvious overlaps with its core business was a good one. Seven years later, the company sold the movie studio to Sony for $3.4 billion. Diversification of customers is one of the most effective strategies to minimize future risks. To make sure you don’t leave any money on the table when diversifying your customer base, you must identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Being Open to Outsource or Offer Franchise 

One way for MSMEs to expand is to outsource. Outsourcing enables micro and small business owners to focus on their core competencies and expand their income. Outsourcing allows a company to run smoothly and gives the owner more flexibility as the business grows. Besides, there are many resources available to help small business owners find the perfect outsourcer. You can also franchise your business if you want to expand your market.

Outsourcing can help MSMEs reduce overhead costs. Franchises often outsource certain functions to save money. They also allow franchisors to focus on the franchisees and expand the business. Franchisors can reduce costs by reducing the workload of franchisees. In addition to outsourcing, franchisors can enjoy the benefits of in-house employees. Franchisees can also enjoy the benefits of outsourced services and increase their revenue.

Hiring in-house salespeople can be expensive. Not only does it asks for time and effort, but the costs can also be prohibitive if aggressive growth is desired. However, outsourcing is a good solution for moderate growth rates. By hiring outsourced staff, MSMEs can reduce their operational expenses and free up valuable time. 

Outsourcing the marketing functions of MSMEs can be an excellent way to increase their efficiency. Franchisors will often waive premiums in exchange for sharing in the long-term value add of the brand. Outsourcing will free up the business owner’s time to focus on other strategic issues.


Developing digital literacy is essential for MSMEs. They must be able to utilize technology-enabled platforms to keep up with the latest trends and frameworks. And they need to be able to source relevant talent and connect them to their business objectives. Digitalization is a necessary step for MSMEs to take to face future challenges. However, this process comes with its own set of challenges. Among them are cybersecurity issues, asymmetric market power, and infrastructure-related challenges. The biggest challenges to planning ahead of time are the technical and managerial aspects of digitalization. With a good planning strategy, digitalization can help you address these challenges.


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