If you are running a small business and are worrying about its survival during the pandemic, you are not alone. The Coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected millions of small businesses worldwide. Industrial research tells us that more than 30 million small businesses have been made vulnerable by COVID-19, globally.
Karen G. Mills, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, claims that many businesses, especially the small ones, will face a financial blow that will be more harmful than the great depression. Industry reports are reflecting the severity of the issue as well; more than 7.5 million small businesses are on the brink of permanent closure if the virus is not contained in the coming months.
COVID-19 does not discriminate – it is affecting businesses in every industrial sector. Whether you own a holiday resort, a car-renting business, a roadside teashop, a cloth manufacturing factory, or a wholesale outlet selling coaxial cables, your operations are interrupted by the virus. Social distancing, quarantines, and lockdowns are keeping customers from coming out to shop.
Given these dire circumstances, how can small business owners protect their businesses? In this article, we share valuable insights into how small businesses can not only survive, but grow during the pandemic. In fact, by adopting these strategies, small businesses can come out stronger than ever.
Let us have a look at these insights:
1. Get To Know Your Customers
Customers are one of the most valuable assets of any business. It is the company’s main responsibility to keep its clients content to make them loyal customers in the long run. For sustainable growth, a small business must understand its customers’ needs and provide customized services to cater to them.
The current situation presents a unique opportunity for business owners to get to know their customers even more. While you wait for markets to reopen, why not refine your marketing analytics to determine your customer’s needs and demands during the pandemic to alter your services accordingly.
2. Get In Touch With Your Customers
This lockdown is the time to get in contact with your current customers. Keeping in touch with your consumer across channels provides several benefits, such as:
- Let’s your consumer know that the brand cares about their well-being and safety
- Updates consumers on changes in business timing, delivery methods, and offerings, etc.
- Keeps the consumer engaged and loyal to your brand, so that they don’t switch to competitors once the markets reopen.
For these reasons, communicating with your consumer is more necessary than ever right now. Another valuable benefit is that of customer feedback, small businesses can incorporate consumer feedback to improve their operations, customize their services for greater satisfaction, and gain customer loyalty.
3. Create Your Company’s Website
Online businesses have seen unprecedented growth during the pandemic; the reason is pretty apparent. As people are stuck home, they are using eCommerce websites to have products delivered to them. Did you ever think you will buy groceries online? Research suggests that more than 15% population in the US are shopping their groceries online as opposed to 2 – 3% before the pandemic.
Therefore, it makes sense to create a website if you don’t already have one. It is a sure-shot way to increase sales. An Ecommerce website is a digital storefront; consumers purchase products, pay electronically, and have the products delivered to their doorstep. If you provide consumers the option of online shopping, they will avail it because they need your products; they just can’t go out to shop right now.
Services can benefit from going digital as well; yoga and fitness classes can be online, health care services can be provided online, you can provide marketing/legal/auditing consultations online, and so on. The customers can log in to your business official website and avail the services through audio/video calls.
4. Start Home Delivery Services
It is the right time to go the extra mile and provide products or services to your clients at their doorstep. This strategy would make you stand out among your rivals in the market. People will not only remember the product or excellent service your business provided, but they will also refer your company to other people.
5. Leverage Social Media
Social media is a powerful marketing tool used to promote the business to its potential customers. Facebook and Instagram are widely used to engage with consumers, promote their businesses, and offer customer support.
All of us have our smartphone n our hand at all times, and most probably, we are logged into one social site or the other. Therefore, its an excellent idea to communicate with your consumer on social media platforms. Sales promotion tactics like announcing sales, giveaways, discounts, and bundle pricing, etc. on these social platforms will increase your sales in the short term and increase brand visibility in the long run.
Social media not only let a business reach its clients, but it is also excellent for social listening. Social listening means that what customers are talking about business and gives an insight into consumer behavior. You can use your social pages to listen better to retain current customers, attract potential customers, and build a successful brand.
6. Do Not Forget Your Employees
Most importantly, a business can never succeed without a cooperative staff. During the quarantine, companies must not forget their employees, especially those working in the current situation. Downsizing is not advised, as it will reduce the moral level of workers. Appreciate their work and give them a fully protected work environment. If you do not have the resources to pay your staff, communicate this with them honestly, and give them unpaid leaves or furloughs instead of laying them off.
The whole world has come to a halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Not only human lives, but the lockdown has affected the growth of small businesses too. People are reluctant to go outside and shop. The best way to make your small business grow is to come closer to your potential clients through the company’s official website and identify their needs.
Be available 24/7 for your consumers and give them relevant and useful services such as driverless deliveries. This will not only make your clients happy but would also spread a positive word of mouth in the market.
We hope that the above tips give you some fresh ideas for your business growth through the coronavirus outbreak.
We wish you the best of luck! Stay safe and healthy!