There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus has taken over in every aspect of our lives, including business. So what does that mean for the roughly 30.2 million small businesses in the US?
In a time of uncertainty like the US is currently facing, small businesses must be willing to adapt to a changing market. What that means is now, more than ever, it is essential to think outside of the box and get creative with every aspect of your business. While we certainly can’t avoid the issues we’re facing amidst this pandemic anymore, there are a few ways in which we can find the silver lining within. What better way than to ask a few small business owners ‘how they are getting through this situation’.
Double Down on What Works
In today’s world of digital business, small online businesses that haven’t been affected by the Coronavirus crisis still can continue to serve their clients and increase their bottom line. Although business is inherently tougher in the middle of an economy facing a pandemic, the increase of internet traffic and screen time should offer plenty of opportunities to capitalize on.
“Double down on what works. Most of your competitors are pulling back and leaving an opportunity to expand your market share,” said Sergio Centeno, owner of a small digital marketing firm. To expand on that, I’ve listed a few tips you can implement into your business’s digital strategy.
- Increase Your Online Exposure: It’s no secret that the world’s attention has seen a drastic shift to the screen of a cell phone, specifically social media. Use this time if you haven’t already to build your digital footprint. Create social media pages for your business, grow the audiences, and establish your authority.
- Ramp up Your Winning Sales Strategy: However, your business is generating sales or income; now is the time to double down on the best performing strategies. If you have seen the majority of your clients coming from cold outreach on a single traction channel, focus on that channel specifically, nurture it, and continue to run with what is already performing for your business. A pandemic shouldn’t be the time to try new strategies.
- Leverage Your Success: Leveraging your success is going to be crucial in doubling down on what works. Since we use testimonials, client success, and achievements to generate business and add to our credibility in a good economy, it’s going to be necessary for a bad economy to really stand out. Odds are if you’re in B2B, your clients purchase your products so their business can increase. By leveraging your success, it creates ample reassurance on your ability to continue to help grow their business.
Be There for Your Clients
As a small business owner, it is essential to value every single client you have, since they are who keep you in business. For most of your clients, this could be their first recession in business, so fear and worry is inevitable. So this is when you have to be there for your clients.
By being a friendly face, they could rely on and trust during this pandemic, you’re setting yourself up for success.
“Focus on strengthening your client relationships, think outside the box and solidify your value during the hard times and reap the rewards during the good times,” said Tyce Escalante, owner of a small Digital Marketing firm. A very valid point to touch on. Here are a few strategies you can implement today, whether your business is digital or brick and mortar.
- Offer Free Value: Most business owners cringe at the word ‘free,’ that’s your advantage in this pandemic. If you offer multiple services, start by considering which services you’re willing to provide for free, and reach out to all your clients. If their business is struggling with whatever you offer, be willing to take a step back to move a few steps forward. The situation we’re all facing won’t last forever, but gratitude will, and odds are those clients are going to bring you a lot of business in the future when they empathize with your character.
- Strengthen Relationships: By reaching out to your current clients, and doing something as simple as checking up on them can go a long way. Nobody likes to face adversity alone, so don’t let your clients. Be a light at the end of the tunnel for your clients and assure them that they’re not in this alone.
- Support Their Business: If your clients have a business, whether online or brick and mortar, there are multiple ways you can support their business without having to spend anything. Leave a review on their Yelp, record a testimonial/review video, or even reach out on their behalf to a few people that you believe would be interested in their products. Get creative and use a bit of creative ingenuity.
Don’t Worry Too Much About the Decrease in Sales
Going into a pandemic that has triggered a bad economy, sales for every business are inevitably going to go down. While that’s never a good sign for any business owner, the key here is to not beat yourself up about it, but rather to make lemonade when life hands you lemons.
Use the available time to become a leader within your industry, continue to be proactive, and don’t let this pandemic be an excuse to take your feet off the gas pedal. A good business owner must be able to pivot and shift gears when things go off course.
“Keep prospecting, but also focus on using this time to build your business from within and improve what’s not working,” said Ben Deveran. Owner of a small marketing agency. When you stop obsessing about seeing your sales increase, use the time to focus on reinforcing your business’s foundation. How can you build your business from within?
A few key steps would be to take inventory of your entire business and improve the weak points, then implement these tips below.
- Improve Your Services: If you followed the advice and took slight pressure off the sales gas pedal, you might find yourself with a few extra hours in a day. Now, to make use of those extra hours, focus on improving your services if you’re a consultant, maybe read a book or two on consulting and take valuable new ideas and implement it into your existing service. There are always ways to improve your service, such as increasing the value you deliver, making it available to a broader demographic, or even just systemizing your current fulfillment process to increase client delivery speeds.
- Incentivize a Feedback Campaign: What better way to audit your own business than to ask your clients for feedback on their experience working with your business. To incentivize a response up the stakes for a quick questionnaire that they fill out. Put together a service/product package you’re comfortable giving away and send a quick brochure-like pdf to your clients, offering a chance to win in return for a quick feedback questionnaire. Use the feedback to understand further which aspects of your business need to be improved or changed.
- Build Business Systems for Fulfillment Processes: You’d be surprised how many businesses are operating with no systems in place for fulfillment. Take full advantage of the extra time and learn how to improve your fulfillment, either by decreasing time, price, or overall delivery. Take a few hours to map it out, establish Key Performance Indicators around the areas you deem essential, and set yourself up for future success.
Conclusively, there’s no avoiding this pandemic and the havoc it will wreak on small businesses, but by coming together and being a helping hand for those around you, everything will work out in the end.