Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and lockdown have been with us for a little over six months. And it has transformed the way we live, work, and shop.
Small businesses are particularly confronting the economic and social impacts this pandemic of COVID-19 has caused.
This calls for an improved business model that doesn’t just aim to keep your business running but also helps it sustain and thrive during this COVID-19 pandemic.
While many brick-and-mortar stores have been shut down during lockdowns, online businesses are witnessing a massive rise in popularity and sales.
If you own a small business and don’t know how to survive challenging times such as COVID-19, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting 15 best strategies to help small businesses survive and grow during pandemic and adapt their business models to better function in the coming days.
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar business with no online presence or an established online business, there’s a strategy for you to implement.
We’ve devised these strategies based on three main criteria:
1. Quick Results
Your business has already suffered a lot. And now you don’t want to implement anything which will take forever to deliver results. Isn’t it? The strategies we’re going to discuss below are easy to set up and deploy.
Small businesses currently are not in a position to implement solutions that need heaps of money. Some strategies on this list will cost you nothing.
The strategies you implement today should be flexible enough to cater to future needs.
Customer’s buying behavior has changed significantly, and experts believe that these behavioral changes are here to stay.
So these solutions will not only help you survive this pandemic but also set you up for growth and success in the long-term.
Top 15 Strategies to Help Small Businesses Survive and Thrive During COVID-19
1. Create an Online Presence
If your business doesn’t have a website yet, it’s time now to take a leap and go online. Most people are staying at home, and they don’t prefer visiting any nearby brick-and-mortar store.
There has been a significant shift in online shopping for essentials in recent months. To stay safe and contain the spread, most buyers prefer to buy things from the comfort of their homes.
This provides an opportunity for your business to sell goods online. All you need to do is to set up a feature-rich and user-friendly website, and you’re good to go.
2. Make Use of CRM/Email List
If your business is already facing a decline in demand and you don’t have enough resources to opt for paid advertising, you can still keep your business operations running.
Simply, scrape data from your CRM and start email marketing campaigns, to re-engage your existing customers.
The best thing about this approach is that you can reach out to the users without spending a single penny. You can either use email marketing to find the most valuable customers or to reach existing leads.
3. Listen to Your Customers and Plan Accordingly
There’s nothing more important than to express the sense of loyalty to your customers during these unprecedented times.
Make sure you actively listen to them and adapt your business model accordingly. Take help from customer surveys that you can conduct on your website or using your email or SMS marketing list.
Try to build trust using your social media pages, post relevant content, photos, or videos to keep your customers engaged.
If possible, extend your product range and introduce new products and services that are likely to peak in demand.
4. Use PPC Ads
Businesses looking to reach out to potential target audiences instantly should benefit from PPC ads.
Consumers staying at home are spending more time on the internet, making it possible for your business to show that you’re back in the business.
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads are tried-and-tested social media marketing channels that not only drive traffic to your business website but also help in the lead generation and conversion process.
5. Leverage Online Video Sessions
Businesses that need to maintain close contact with their customers can leverage the power of video marketing.
For instance, if your product or service is related to health/fitness, education, or coaching, you can conduct online sessions to attract more clients.
Just make sure you market your videos on popular social media platforms so that more and more potential customers can know about them.
6. Promote Items in Demand
Being wise and proactive about how you spend your money on advertising is one of the most important considerations in the current pandemic. Your objective is to increase your sales as quickly as possible.
And this is only possible when you offer things that are highly in demand. Financial uncertainty has significantly impacted the buyer’s purchasing habits. People are more willing to spend money on essential items than luxury goods and stuff they don’t need at the moment.
If you have a diversified product range, we suggest you focus on those things that your customers might be interested in during their stay-at-home experience.
One of the best ways to reduce your expenditure and increase the chances of more sales is by collaborating with your existing or potential partners. As partners, you can share business ideas and even primary or secondary resources to navigate the new normal.
Some organizations who won’t be able to lend a helping hand in terms of financial help can offer free of cost advice, consultation, or data analysis services.
Try to partner with other small businesses working in your area to offer value-added packages to customers.
8. Focus Retargeting
Prioritize retargeting ads to generate lots of website traffic and leads. Retargeting ads act as a reminder that persuades buyers to revisit the page and complete their purchase.
As everyone is spending more time online, now you have a better opportunity to re-engage customers who have visited your website in the past. Also, you can attract them by offering incentives, vouchers, or discounts.
9. Promote Gift Cards/Vouchers
Another effective way to promote your business, in the long run, is by offering your customers gift vouchers, which they can redeem once your business resumes.
People love free stuff. Gift cards and discount vouchers can work for almost any business, be it a restaurant, spa, grocery store, or a photo studio.
If you’re a service-based business, you can offer prepaid membership that can lead to lifetime discount when used after the lockdown.
10. Diversify Your Business Model
No matter what industry you belong to, you must consider revamping and restructuring your business model. This could be either in the form of introducing a new product range or broadening the scope of products or services you have in hand.
If your business is currently shut down or even if it’s open and having difficulty in getting the desired foot traffic, you can use your space to generate revenue.
For instance, you can convert your restaurant into a makeshift marketplace, or even use your facility to arrange online cooking or carving classes.
11. Choose Your Delivery Models Wisely
As mentioned above, going online is by far the best solution available for brick-and-mortar stores. However, that transition needs you to rethink your delivery model.
Since people are not interested in going out and shop, you must make arrangements to either deliver stuff at their doorsteps or offer them a curbside pickup option for safe and secure delivery of products.
If you’re a restaurant business, you can offer food preparation kits that you can deliver at customer’s homes. Similarly, businesses that deal in handicrafts or toys can prepare special packages that can keep both adults and kids engaged and busy at home.
Just ensure you also facilitate your customers by providing them with an option to pay online. Many buyers are avoiding businesses that are still accepting cash on delivery. So, this is one important thing you must pay attention to in order to keep your staff and customers safe.
12. Invest in Virtual Showrooms
Businesses that offer expensive items such as cars, jewelry, or electronics can host consultations over video conferencing.
There are many online tools that you can use to set up your virtual showroom. Realtors can also use technology to offer virtual home tours to their clients.
13. Look Through Data Available Online
Use data available online to make the right business decisions. Look through data and analytics to identify in-demand products and services.
You can use Google Analytics, Google Trends, or other online tools to get info about your traffic, keywords, and even trending products.
There are many things you can take advantage of when you take your business online. There are chatbots that can help you better connect with your audience.
Also, you can use an auto-respond feature to automatically respond to frequently asked questions.
15. Use Free Online Tools
Last but not least, there are many online tools available free of cost, including CRM, email marketing, and keyword research tools that can help you support your customers during this tough time. So, take help from them to improve your services and to better engage with your customers.