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The pandemic is here to stay — at least for a while. In the meantime, your business needs to keep cash flowing in if you’re going to keep your doors open. But with sales down for many small businesses, is there any hope of driving new traffic to your business?
Growing your business may seem impossible when you’re barely treading water, but with the right approach, small businesses can not only survive the pandemic but thrive. How? These are the strategies that will get your business through this crisis stronger than ever.
Reassess Business Demand
Before doing anything, small business owners have to ask themselves whether their product or service has any relevance in the COVID-19 economy. While some businesses have seen demand remain stable, or even increase, others have watched it nosedive as people stay home and spend differently during the pandemic.
If customers simply don’t need your product or service right now, it may be wiser to pivot entirely. As The Big Bang Partnership points out, you can change your strategy without sacrificing your vision, and this is the essence of pivoting. By reinventing your business to produce face masks or another pandemic-related need, or even shifting how you market your product or service, you can generate the temporary cash flow you need to survive the crisis.
Grow Your Online Operations
If the demand is there, the next question is how to deliver your product or service to customers. Many businesses have relied on curbside pickup, delivery, and appointment-based sales to reach customers, but after months of reduced capacity, lost sales are taking a toll on revenue.
The answer? Online sales. By investing in e-commerce, small businesses can grow their customer base beyond the local area. Small businesses with straightforward e-commerce needs can use a platform like Shopify or WordPress to build and run an online store.
Scale Up Digital Marketing Efforts
It’s not enough to build an online store. In order to drive traffic and conversions, small businesses need to expand their marketing as well. Digital marketing is effective whether your customers are local, national, or global. However, connecting marketing efforts with your target audience requires expertise.
That’s where an SEO consultant comes in. An SEO expert can tailor your website and online listings so they’re more likely to reach your intended audience. In addition to search engine optimization, small businesses should look into affordable digital marketing solutions like content marketing and social media.
Commit to Telework
Generating sales is only half the battle for small businesses during COVID-19. Businesses also have to figure out how to keep their staff productive without putting employee health on the line. As Fortune reports, while businesses that rely on brick-and-mortar sales have implemented a variety of safety precautions to prevent viral transmission in stores, for many companies this has meant shifting all or most of their staff to remote work.
Teleworking may have seemed like a temporary solution at first, but at this point, it’s clear that working from home is here to stay. So instead of getting by with makeshift solutions, small businesses should invest in tools that keep distributed teams connected and productive. In addition to apps and software for remote teams, you may need to revisit the way your team communicates, including their computing equipment and evaluating technology like the HP Zbook vs Elitebook. Collaborating remotely requires different communication techniques than working in-office to prevent team members from feeling isolated or out of the loop.
Even concerns like scheduling and payroll can be addressed through apps. For example, employee time tracking is streamlined with an app like Quickbooks. Employees simply click to begin or end a shift, schedules can be edited on the go, and it integrates seamlessly with your favorite payroll or accounting software. By choosing smart solutions that make life easier for everyone, you keep your employees — and your bottom line — on track.
Adapting to the new way of doing business is no easy feat for small businesses. If your company needs financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic, apply for assistance. With a smart strategy and the right resources, your small business can weather this crisis.