Nobody can deny that these are difficult times, especially for small businesses. The current global pandemic has taken many by surprise, and many businesses have had to suddenly shut down and cancel all their plans for the future due to lockdowns around the world.
Many small business owners are now lost and confused. How can they thrive given the current situation?
In this article, we’ll go over eight important tips to help you keep your head afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Stay Calm
The first step is to not panic! These are stressful times for many people, but panicking will do you no good.
Remember that “this too shall pass.” Yes, we don’t know how long it will take, but eventually, things will go back to normal and start opening up again.
This is important to remember because you want to use this time to prepare yourself for when everything will have passed. If you use your time correctly, you will be able to come out of this in a much better spot.
2. Adapt To The Situation
Your business may have to adapt to the current situation, but it doesn’t mean you have to shut down entirely, even if you operate a non-essential business.
Restaurants can continue to take orders and make home deliveries or even offer takeaway food, depending on your local laws.
If you own a hair salon, you may have to shut down – but perhaps you can still sell your hair care products and ship them directly to your customers.
Many services can be moved online – this includes tutoring, business consultations, and marriage counseling.
Be creative! What can YOU continue to do in the midst of this crisis?
Some businesses are selling gift cards at discounted rates so that customers can cash in when things go back to normal. Don’t stop marketing your business.
3. Re-assess Your Marketing Strategy
Now is the time to take a look at your current marketing strategy and see what is lacking.
For example, if you only sell products in-store and don’t have an online website, you may have only just realized that you are missing out. Now is the time to start building that online store.
Do you have a strong social media presence? With so many people staying at home without much to do, now is the perfect time to reach them!
Many people are spending a lot more time on social media, and if you aren’t already active on your social channels, start now.
Realize that many businesses have suspended operations, including their online PPC and social media marketing campaigns. This creates a void, and you can use this as an opportunity to get more exposure at cheaper advertising rates.
4. Reach Out To Existing Customers
It may be more difficult to attract new customers during this time, especially if you have had to make budget cuts. This is why your existing customers are so important.
Reach out to your loyal customers and let them know that you have been thinking of them. Reassure them, and let them know that you’ll be back as soon as you can.
More importantly, let them know that you’re thinking of them! Your customers are likely going through a tough time themselves, mentally, financially and perhaps physically.
If you usually do home deliveries, consider offering deliveries for free or at a discounted rate. You can also offer other discounts or create buy-one-get-one offers to help your customers out during this tough time.
This will not only increase customer loyalty and retention, which is important in the long run, but it can increase sales when it’s crucially needed.
If you don’t have enough loyal customers, that exposes another gap you need to start working on. Create a customer loyalty program and start focusing on building relationships with your customers.
Email and SMS marketing will be crucial for keeping in touch with your customers. If you don’t have an email list, you need to start building email subscriptions now.
5. Plan For the Future
You may have a lot more time on your hands right now than you usually do. Use this time to your advantage.
You can start a new project; something that will take your business to the next level once you get back up and running again. Perhaps you can start a new product line or new service.
You’ll likely have a few weeks or even months to perfect this plan and map out all the details and strategies you will be using.
Perhaps you can create a plan for starting up a new branch in a new location. You can even create a sister company or an entirely new business.
The most important thing is to use this time wisely.
6. Stay On Top Of Trends
You should be tracking keywords and social media activity to make sure you stay on top of consumer trends. Things are changing quickly, but you must stay informed of what consumers want.
Keyword tools such as Google Trends and social media hashtag tracking tools such as RiteTag are good places to start. As you can see in the screenshot, searches for “home deliveries” shot up at the beginning of March.
7. Increase Your Liquidity
Having enough cash to meet your short-term liabilities, such as employee wages, can be difficult during these times. However, there are some things you can do to increase your liquidity.
For example, you can shift your marketing focus from your luxury, higher-end products to your everyday products. Remember that your customers are also strapped for cash and maybe cutting down on their own expenditures.
8. Take Advantage of Government Aid
Depending on where you are located, you may be eligible for government aid. In the United States, Congress passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.
Besides giving $1,200 in cash to most Americans (including business owners and independent contractors), the package includes various proposals to help small businesses and boost the economy, including a $350 billion forgivable loan program for small businesses who retain their employees, a delay in employer payroll taxes, and a refundable payroll tax credit on worker wages.
Find out what aid you may be eligible for, both personally and as a small business owner, and use that to help expand your marketing budget going forward.
Wrapping It Up
These are tough times, but there’s no reason to despair.
Keep your chin up and plan for the future – and when it comes, you will be happy you had the foresight.
Roberto Garvin Author
Roberto Garvin is the co-founder of Mofluid. He is amazed to see how technology continues to evolve. From email to browsers, search engines, mobile, AI and now blockchain, he feels fortunate to witness it all and is really excited to see what’s next.Read More