As coronavirus has spread around the world it’s impacted businesses of all sizes. Small businesses have been particularly hard-hit. A lack of financial cushioning and a downturn in business may severely impact your profitability.
However, this crisis can be turned into an opportunity with the following six tips.
- Protect Yourself and Your Employees
Your first step must be to implement the prevailing safety measures for your region. Deal with the immediate threat of COVID-19 to ensure the safety of you and your employees. You may need to transition to new work policies and adjust how your deliveries take place.
Establishing new working protocols as early as possible means you can, fix problems sooner and continue to serve your customers with the minimum of disruption.
- Review Your Marketing Goals
While nobody likes to see declining sales, the additional time you find yourself with can be well spent. Consider reviewing your vision and overall goals for the future. Will the coronavirus permanently alter your industry or audience? Are the changes you’re going to make to marketing plans short or long term?
Where will the virus protocols be in six months, where will your business be in six months?
Once lockdown and other restrictions pass, you may find yourself in a much different business landscape. Use the time that you have now to prepare for that re-emergence.
- Grow Your Brand Online
As people are locked down in the worst affected areas, their shopping habits naturally become more online-focused. To cope with isolation, many consumers are spending more time online and are spending more online.
This gives small businesses the chance to connect with a larger audience through content and advertising exposure and a larger amount of online spend to tap into.
If you can manage to create a special offer, or offers, that you can promote through online advertising, now is the time to do it. Around that, curate helpful content on social media to build more trust with your audience. Focus on a mix that favours supportive posts and limit self-promotion.
- Nurture Existing Customers, Win Back Previous Customers
Points 1-3 all provide an opportunity to reach out to your existing base. Let your customer base know that you’re still operating and how you’ve taken steps to protect them. Remind them of your social accounts, if there’s something you can use for free to incentivise them to follow or look at a feed, now is the time to do so. If you have established win back processes or campaigns, now is a good time to run them.
- Adapt Your Services
Depending on your industry, you may need to adapt your products or services. The first step once you’ve done this is to clearly communicate the new setup to customers. Where an element of service cannot continue in person, be clear about how you will account for that online and how the customer will benefit.
If your work is usually done in person, and cannot move online, consider the benefits of putting accounts on pause. Pausing accounts not only shows you have thought about the customer’s relationship with you it also shows you understand that cash flow might become a concern.
Pausing a customer keeps them on your books ready for when their business can resume.
- Hold a Special Online Event
Holding real-world events can be difficult for small businesses. Renting a space, getting the word out, providing content, paying for it all. Now is the time to get good at online events.
The pandemic has already seen a boom for social networks as well as video hosting apps. For example, you could live stream an event that you would normally hold, such as a product launch or a demonstration. You can even find a way to make online events out of things that would never work in the real world. Invite your existing and potential customers behind the scenes to see what makes your business run.
Focus on the Future
It’s unlikely that we will know the true impact coronavirus has had on business for months, if not years. There are challenges for small businesses in the short, medium and long term. By getting out in front of as many of these challenges as possible, taking time to plan ahead, to adopt new ways of working, you’ll have the best chance of finding a way through to a new and better business once all this has passed.
If I can be of any help to you during these challenging times please contact me here.