How Can Your Small Business Survive During COVID-19?
12 minute read
This is a very difficult time for a lot of businesses in the world, as all of us are facing a problem that just doesn’t seem to be disappearing any time soon. The COVID-19 pandemic caused special measures such as social distancing and lockdowns, resulting in a large number of businesses struggling to survive.
In chaos like this, it gets very difficult to stay afloat if your business belongs to the sectors that were hit hard by the effects of the virus. To keep your business running, you need to reevaluate all the aspects of how a business should be managed and how the negative effects can be minimized.
The period your business is going through is indeed a challenging one. However, you are not alone. The guide that follows is designed to help you get through this dire time and remain in business when others are closing down.
Look for resources and fundings
To overcome this crisis, it is important to be informed.
Staying up to date with the latest news is crucial since you don’t want to be caught off guard. If your small business is already heavily affected by the government measures, you should be on the lookout for additional measures that could help you go through everything with minimal losses.
To better understand how you can fight the effects of the pandemic, you should always be alerted and you should look for resources and fundings that have the purpose of helping businesses survive.
Some good resources include guides and official guidelines that should be followed to remain healthy but also keep things in check at the office. But bear in mind that you also need to find specific resources that apply to your sector.
For instance, a good place to look for resources that help during the times of crisis would be Google’s blog. Google has dedicated a whole week to help small businesses. There are on-demand video training sessions that are completely free and can teach an entrepreneur just what and how needs to be done to keep a business profitable. The company has also introduced various new tools that were designed to help with small business growth.
Most businesses hit by the current pandemic struggle to keep a decent cash flow and remain profitable.
A good way to find extra funds during this crisis would be to take out a loan, for example. Some governments offer financing programs. If that is not the case in your region, you may want to look into what banks have to offer.
On top of that, it would be wise to come up with a financial backup plan both for your business and for your finances. Keep in mind that you need a plan B if you fail to hit your initial revenue projections.
Build up your cash reserves to ensure that you have enough to live off for six to twelve months and make sure to budget carefully. Making your most important payments such as rent or mortgage should be a priority at all times.
Offer referral discounts
It is very important to find a cost-effective way to acquire and keep customers during this period. One great method is referral marketing due to its lower customer acquisition cost.
This marketing method is cheaper than traditional marketing channels since it leverages the current customers that can spread the word about your business to other individuals (family and friends).
Referral marketing not only boosts the sales but it also builds a community around your brand. Customers bring referrals from their contacts and it is highly likely that they have a lot in common. These individuals are friends, colleagues, or family members of your customers who may be quite interested in what you have to offer.
Referral marketing relies on credibility and people tend to trust their circle of friends more than they trust ads or brands. That is why this is the time to take advantage of referral marketing and offer suitable referral discounts to attract more people to your store and make your brand even more visible.
Focus on a niche market
Every crisis hides a chance. If you manage to be creative enough and find a better way to market your business, you can make a good profit.
Marketing is essential during this period if you want to gain an advantage over your rivals. However, you need to take a look at your business plan first and ask yourself these questions:
- What are you offering?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- How will you price your products or services?
- How are you going to promote your business?
This gives you a better chance of succeeding if you think in terms of niching. Segment your original customer base so that you can create a better marketing strategy.
For instance, if you offer a professional service for men, you should be able to narrow it down to target men within a specific age group or career type. Also, if you would rather change your offering, try to come up with a way to alter your products or services to broaden your business appeal and customer base.
Finally, keep an eye on the rivals. See what others are doing and figure out if you can take something from their processes to improve your own.
Optimize your digital platforms
First of all, it is important to monitor consumer conversations. Getting a good understanding of how their habits are evolving and how they interact with your company is very useful.
These behaviors are certainly changing at the moment. Not being ready for this change means that you are already losing. Do your best to understand consumers’ needs and do what they are asking.
Nurturing your brand identity by building your expertise, authority, and trust is also very important during the time of crisis. Therefore, try to be as factual as possible and demonstrate your expertise. This is the only way to show some authority and build trust.
Finally, playing the SEO game wisely should be a priority now more than ever. Driving more customers organically is better than any other method. To do so, you should manage and control the entire brand narrative on all channels of marketing.
Fundamentally, there are three types of marketing channels:
- Owned (social media pages, blog, website)
- Earned (shared content, word-of-mouth reviews)
- Paid (third party channels, display ads, PPC)
It is important to take full control of your marketing channels. This is the way to ensure that you are communicating the right message and that your message is received at the right time in the buying process.
Understand your customers and optimize websites or social media accounts
Building a unique strategy is essential.
Start by modifying your email newsletter. Keep messages brief and simple and remember that you have to stay in touch with your audience. Try not to add content that reminds your audience of the current situation.
Improve posts that you publish on social platforms. Capitalize on trending topics and see how you can synchronize them with your brand’s objectives.
Also, freshen up your website. Since a lot of people spend time indoors, there is a high chance that your website will get more visits than before.
So, freshen things up a bit and improve your website by:
- Rearranging your CTA strategy to fit in with the current situation
- Increasing engagement by communicating across all channels
- Reevaluating your SEO strategy
- Sharing information about your brand that can help improve the relationship with customers
Cutting back on marketing is not a good option in the long-run. Instead, finding the right balance and using the right methods and channels might be the best solution in this situation.
For the time being, one needs to maintain a consistent presence online. Figure out what your customers are thinking and feeling right now and try to relieve them of the stress by publishing useful content that does not remind them of the pandemic.
Respond to comments and interact with your customers. It is always nice to know that real people stand behind big brands and businesses.
Also, do not forget the power of hashtags and remember to use them properly.
Webinars and podcasts
Use all distribution channels you have built to promote webinars, including email, paid ads, website promotion, social media, personal invites, and also your network.
During this uncertain period, try to focus on how you can solve the buyer’s problem but do not try to pitch.
In your webinar, start with the pain points and map them out against the ways you can help and unique insights you can offer.
Podcasts are also a great way to tell the world what your business is all about. This channel is recording growth and more and more people everywhere are tuning in to listen to their favorite podcast creators.
Additionally, podcasting is quite cost-effective besides the fact that its popularity is stellar right now, so you may want to rethink this channel if your budget is limited at the moment.
Feature in blog posts
People like to see valuable articles and content pieces that can help during these difficult times. Write about topics that are relevant to your business but also try to cover those that somehow relate to personal cleanliness, immunity, and disease prevention.
Also, consider being a guest writer at someone else’s blog. That is a good opportunity to reveal your business in front of other audiences.
Ultimately, the more people see your business and your ideas, the better. This improved exposure can only bring a positive outcome. For that to happen, one has to produce quality content and pick relevant and popular blogs for guest posting.
Weathering an economic crisis always results in many businesses losing money and even closing down. If you don’t want that to happen to your organization, you have to act swiftly and adjust your processes.
Now is not the time to be idle. Even though this pandemic will eventually end, it is also important to remain in business and be able to continue progressing afterward.