Your Guide To Survive Your Small Business Amid A Pandemic
It is extremely important to implement and understand this guide to survive your small business amid a pandemic. No matter what kind of business you run, no matter how many employees you have, no matter the size of your business, it perhaps has been caught in the crosshairs of the corona pandemic either directly or indirectly. Earlier, entrepreneurs have not experienced this kind of situation, from total shutdown to social distancing to technology adoption and much more.
The outbreak has brought businesses to their knees, looking for innovative ways to keep customers engaged and searching for new ways to establish business resilience in this evolving business world. Businesses can survive the outbreak, but it takes time, solid planning, and adequate resources.
From mapping out marketing strategies to maintain cash reserves, the work you do now can decide the future of your business. Every small and medium scale business is affected vastly where they can’t overlook fixed expenses such as rent, salary, etc., and even have no idea when the situation will be normal like before. All businesses are facing huge revenue loss except
- And online shops
Yes, the above business sectors are earning double-digit revenue. However, researchers have said that small and medium-scale businesses will only survive if they adopt modern technology and social media platforms. Here we have highlighted some of the strategies that SMEs can adopt to stay afloat in the challenging pandemic environment.
Impact of the Outbreak On Small Business
Source: Business Know-How
2020 was a memorable year for everyone, from individuals to small business owners to big corporations. In the beginning, the pandemic has forced thousands of small and medium-scale business owners to shut their doors and confine themselves at home. Months later, many businesses struggle for revenue, sales, and customers, while some are still shut.
According to QuickBooks Survey, one in four business owners reveals that they have had to reduce the number of employees on their team to cope with ongoing fixed expenses, while another 15% said that they now started to work with freelancers and contractors to keep their business afloat.
- Revenue and sales loss
- Supply chain interruption
- Termination of workforce
- Deficit of cash reserve
Even with these negative impacts, there are some positive ways businesses can thrive in the “new normal.” But before discussing the ways, let’s see how the pandemic sparks innovation for small businesses and opens the door for opportunity.
Pandemic Spark Innovation for SMEs To Grow Beyond Limits
The pandemic has not only changed business standards but has also altered people’s mindsets. People these days prefer everything online, from paying bills to ordering food and groceries to book tickets. And this approach has forced entrepreneurs to focus on modern technology in a new way.
Technology is not all about developing websites and apps; it’s about creating a brand, attracting customers, and engaging with them online. Business owners relying on conventional ways were hit hard amid the outbreak, and they have realized the significance of technology and innovation to keep going.
Hence more and more businesses have invested in digital media and technology, taking their business online and shifted to online payment methods to innovate. Undoubtedly, eCommerce and online delivery business markets were soaring, but the pandemic has acted as a catalyst.
The online food and grocery delivery business practically exploded amid the pandemic. Especially the online grocery delivery sector has experienced tremendous growth. Delivery app usage went up, and everyone started to prefer online delivery apps; retailers knew that to keep their customers happy and engaged, they had to build a grocery delivery app to interact with customers online.
In fact, more than 25% of grocery retailers have admitted that they sold more products online this year. However, they also have confessed that the pandemic has compelled them to change their business operations.
From the adoption of online delivery platforms to social media to interact with customers online through different channels, experts are even projecting that the doorstep delivery market is here to stay, and consumers will continue to shop online even after the pandemic ends.
5 Survival Tips Small Businesses Should Adopt This Year
The outbreak has taken the world by storm, where everything is closed, and every life is upended. No business is immune from its effect, but most affected businesses are small mom-and-pop stores and local businesses; even though they are battling tough, they fail to hold the most valuable assets called employees.
Entrepreneurs are searching for ways to reduce risk and protect their businesses. Here we have presented some tips that help small businesses bounce back and adjust to the loss that occurred from the pandemic.
Focus on Employee Engagement
Employees are valuable assets of any organization; no matter what your business has been going through, you equally need to focus on employee engagement activities. Amid the pandemic, the majority of businesses implemented work-from-home policies and keeping employees engaged all the time has become very critical.
With employees working remotely and juggling between household chores and child’s caretaking activities, it is natural for remote employees to feel tedious and disconnected from their company’s culture; as a result, lower productivity. As per the data revealed from mental health provider Ginger, more than 62% of employee’s productivity is low.
But credit goes to advanced technology that has made it easy to connect with teammates without any location barrier. Here we have listed some employee engagement strategies that you can opt for, such as:
- Online happy hour
- Regular communication
- Emotional support
- Give employee more flexibility
- Virtual team building activities
Regular communication with your employees keeps your business afloat, boosts your team’s spirit, and increases productivity.
Look into Your Finance
Staying financially strong amid this business environment is tough. Be it a small business or large, some expenses are unavoidable, such as employee salaries, rent, utility bills, etc. Now the question is, without sales and revenue, how to meet these expenses? Here financial management comes to the rescue as it presents the rough picture of your business’s financial condition.
In April 2020, CNBC reported that over 7.5 million small businesses across the USA had shut their doors due to the corona effects. Thus, managing finance has become more important; reducing unnecessary expenses can increase your cash flow and keep your business afloat amid the pandemic. For instance, if you take your grocery business online, you might reduce certain operational expenses.
Depending on your business size and type, you could adopt the following ways
- Get started with cost-effective marketing techniques
- Tapping into financial planning
- Cutting down useless premium services
- Move your business online
- Implement remote working facility
Engage with Customers
A strong customer base is a key to a successful business. If your customers are satisfied with your services and products, they will keep doing business with you no matter what the conditions are. A great customer engagement strategy is what sets your business unique from the crowd.
Even some marketers believe that customer engagement is the channel of marketing. The main motto of carrying out customer engagement activity is to make your customers smile. Effective customer engagement boosts relationships with the customer as it is the best way to demonstrate your attention to their daily activities.
- Offer deals
- Social media
- Create content for customers
- Deliver personalized experience
- Embrace various channels to achieve success (email, social media, live chat)
Over 50% of marketers using email marketing and social media marketing are two popular channels used by marketers these days. For example, if you are engaged with an online grocery delivery business, offer promos and discounts to your customers to increase order volume.
Customer engagement is the evidence you provide to your customers what they want, which adds value to your success. With the right customer engagement strategy, you can foster long and strong relationships with customers.
Adopt Online Marketing Tactics
These days, we are more online, work from home, attend classes from home, talk with friends online, and whatnot. So in today’s tech-crazy era, it has become inevitable for brands to adopt emerging online marketing techniques to expand their business reach.
Online marketing tactics save time, cost and increase your followers and customer base in the long run. Internet marketing provides consists of various marketing services such as:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Video marketing
The major reason why brands are implementing various online marketing activities is it has zero geographical limits. For instance, you have adopted online marketing tactics for your grocery delivery business, you can easily attract many customers, gain better exposure and offer faster returns on marketing investments.
In today’s technology-driven era, it seems like you can’t imagine a single business that runs without technology. Yet, having the right technology can make or break your business during this highly volatile business market. From website to application development to digital payments to real-time tracking, technology streamlines business operations and boost revenue.
Earlier, some entrepreneurs were reluctant and did not feel that technology can improve their business, but the pandemic has changed their mindsets. Today, consumers also expect businesses to offer a digital experience for comfort and safety. Here you can consider how retailers adopt a digital approach to serve their customers best by adopting digital ordering systems.
The popular consulting firm McKinsey reveals that the digital customer experience is mandatory to boost the customer retention ratio.
Survive to Thrive
The world has become a scary place right now, and running a small business is no longer a cakewalk. Deal with roadblocks, prepare a solid business plan, adoption of modern technology, and focus on customer engagement activities to keep you one step ahead in the curve.
Brijesh is the tech activist, blogger, and internet marketing officer of Elluminati Inc for more than three years. My major concern is to educate people who are interested in technology. I am fond of writing useful and informative content that helps brands to grow business.
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