Small businesses might have been hit the hardest during the pandemic. But these 6 tips will help you stay focused and competitive, despite all that’s happening.
A slowing economy, minimised sales, a disgruntled workforce, and falling revenues are some of the main highlights (or rather, low points) of the pandemic. These downward trends are affecting every business, but the percentage of small businesses is higher.
What is the solution? Should we allow our small businesses to sink or wait for things to return to normal? Business experts suggest taking action right now, as delaying things today will inevitably create new hurdles for tomorrow.
So, do not wait any longer, as things may get out of your control. Your rivals are already coming up with innovative ideas to survive the pandemic. With their proactive approach, they will be in a better position to succeed when the pandemic ends. It would help if you too took timely actions to get your small business back on track.
Here are a few ways to accomplish to do just that.
Say NO to Distractions
In these days of isolation and social distancing, even the most workaholic entrepreneurs are tempted to play their favourite online game, peruse their newsfeed on social media, video-conference with their mates, or browse through the latest movies. Since customers are near to zero and businesses are not operating at a usual pace, everyone is treating the situation as if it were a holiday when the reality is something quite different.
To bring your business back on track, try to avoid distractions and instead focus on the work at hand. Here are a few useful tips:
• Set a routine – it may seem like a holiday, but it isn’t. Setting a work schedule helps you get the work done.
• Maintain your connections – networking is essential to the success of any small business. You may feel like you can’t maintain your connections during COVID, but you can! Make sure to check in with your connections, discuss progress and contingency plans, and keep them in the loop online. Here are 10 collaboration tools for teams to help you stay connected.
• Don’t fall for the multi-tasking trap – get the report done while watching your son? Nope, it won’t happen.
• Prioritise – Get the most important tasks done before you move on to other tasks.
Need some help being productive when working from home? Here are 7 effective work from home tips to help you work as efficiently as possible, even at home.
Divide Your Tasks
It’s a fact that once you have settled your mind to work harder than before, you automatically get more motivation. Now, you need to split your tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. Make a routine of accomplishing the tougher tasks first. In this way, your business will start coming back to its track, and then you can easily finish the minor tasks.
Example: If you are planning to set up a website for taking online orders, do it first so that the business can start getting sales. You can then set up a new social media campaign and YouTube channel to drive more sales later.
Research, Research & Research
After the outbreak, the whole corporate world faced a serious setback. But with time, it has become a new normal. Businesses around the globe are using new tactics to get their sales up and running, and some have been successful up to a certain extent.
So, what are these tactics? How are other small businesses managing to meet their breakeven, and what are their current strategies? Knowing all this is mandatory, as it can inspire you to come up with a solution for your business. To figure this out, read up on industry case studies, your competitor’s publicly available data, and keep abreast of the latest business news from around the world.
Here are a few good resources that may provide you a wealth of information:
• US Small Business Administration for business development
• Local/state small business development centres
• Buzzsumo to learn about popular business tactics
• Quora and Reddit for consumer research
• Google Analytics for analysing consumer behaviour and trends
For businesses in the USA, SBA is proving instrumental in providing guidance on how small companies can save their business during COVID-19. The organisation has an abundance of helpful material on its website which covers topics from access to capital to exporting assistance.
Dive into The Digital World
Even if your business had a digital presence well before the pandemic, it’s now time to focus on those digital strategies with more zeal. The whole world is depending on digital communication, and this is the only source to reach potential clients. Posters, billboards, and other offline marketing tactics will do nothing for your small business during this pandemic.
Utilise your marketing budget for digital strategies and reach your clients through digital means. Pay more attention to SEO, make a handsome investment in PPC, and consider online ads for generating sales. Think that digital marketing is the lifeblood of your business. You can also maintain an informative blog, a YouTube channel with meaningful videos related to your business, and a business page on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Example: Carpet Cleaning Kent, a cleaning service, lost a huge number of sales due to Covid-19. The business owner then made a digital campaign of spreading awareness related to carpet cleaning and germs protection. He also set up his blog and website, along with social media accounts. Within a few months, the business got its sales back.
Engage with Your Audience
Even if the business is not getting sales, small business owners cannot stay silent. Contrary to large scale businesses having big names in the market, small businesses have to make extra efforts to stay in the minds of customers.
This is the time when you should stay in touch with your clients. But how will you do it? Will you keep sending pushy emails for sales? A big NO! Try to build a bond of empathy at this terrifying time.
You can make social media posts related to the recent situation, send text messages to spread awareness, or publish a discount on prices. Ultimately, you need to communicate to customers that you care. Stay connected with potential clients, and you will soon get your business back to its normal pace.
Dig Inside Your Competitor’s Plan
Small businesses often face tough competition. If you are facing a decreasing revenue while your competitor is flourishing, take a look at what they are doing. How are they managing the sales, and what are their recent strategies?
Visit their social media pages and see how they are connecting with the audience. Visit their website and see their latest offers. Likewise, look at their customer support and notice the way they are dealing with the clients. You will get some useful insights with this. You don’t have to copy their strategies, often, observing their strategy can give you inspiration for yours!
If you are an entrepreneur who is anxious to restart their business, the 6 tips mentioned above will help you tremendously. Staying focused by avoiding distractions, setting a work schedule, conducting market research, establishing a robust online presence, maintaining a relationship with your target audience, and keeping abreast of industry practices will help you steer your business in the right direction.