It’s no secret that the COVID – 19 Pandemic is affecting people, as well as businesses worldwide. Fumbling to regain their bearings, firms are struggling to truly understand and grasp the long term after – effects this disease bears. Startups that may have recently been introduced to the market, as well as long established businesses struggle to make sense of the consequences, and brainstorm ways to align their business models accordingly. Whether the pandemic ends within a month or two or stretches out further than we may be able to predict, small business owners need to be ready to buckle down, reassess and make changes to their business strategy in order to come out stronger and more profitable on the other side.
In this article, we will try to comprehensively summarize all measures, big or small, your business can go for to stay afloat, and still efficiently maintain progress during this turbulent time.
Digitization is truly the door to the 21st century. As smartphones became far more accessible than ever, and technology progressed to unprecedented heights, the world visibly altered and shifted. Today, even the thought of staying away from one’s devices is haunting, and there is truly no way to conduct business without it. Whether it be computers, or machinery, technology plays a pivotal role in the shaping of industries and the manner in which they now function.
Owed to the extended period of lockdown, the Corona Virus is making it impossible for businesses to go about as usual, much less consider face to face interactions. Small businesses, unfortunately, bear the brunt of these consequences. This is where people need to now step back, and re evaluate the “new normal.”
Going digital serves a one stop solution at the moment. Take all your business dealings online, conduct weekly meetings through Zoom, and utilize other, professional platforms to interact with your esteemed clients. This is where HA Technologies can step in, and take that massive load off your shoulder. Whether it’s branding, restructuring or luring campaigns that your business needs, we can help you truly go digital, and help you understand what added responsibilities come with it. Starting from the basics to the top, we can span each venue of your business comprehensively, revealing to you what your business needs right now, and how to offer it to you – keeping your best interest at heart.
So the first, vital step you need to take is go digital! This will help you hit more bases in the long run, as well as enhance and consolidate existing operations.
So now that you’ve gone digital, all that’s left behind is for your clientele to know so. By employing the use of digital marketing, you can truly enlarge and expand your business massively, by introducing yourself to a larger amount of your target audience, as well as broadening the scope of your audience, by luring in people from other, newer sectors.
In the modern world, every person out there has an online presence, and comes equipped with a handy, technologically sound device, and social media is truly the place to be. This is where you need to optimize your brand, and showcase it in a manner that is both compelling and efficient, attracting people effortlessly, and swiftly. In order for that to happen, your brand has to enter a saturated market, with a high powered campaign and ferocity. Conducting your adequate research and brainstorming ideas with a creative team can help further your cause, specifically hiring a company, perhaps, that has years of experience in the market and can help differentiate and highlight your business.
If, on the other hand, you’re just starting out and don’t have the kind of finances that can take that on, then you can simply sit down and question yourself – “Who are you selling to?” “Who is more likely to buy your product?” “How can you reach out to them effectively?” and come up with a plan accordingly. Moreover, you can learn from the brands you shop at consistently, and ponder on what attracts you at first glance. This is the one place you need to ooze out superficiality. Remember – a first impression goes a long way.
E – COMMERCE
E – commerce is a form a trade that has gained momentum over the years. Entering an era of pure digitization, some businesses have turned towards utilizing social media platforms as their sole means of business. There exist innumerable businesses that have established, gained fame, and run themselves sustainably – all online! This mode of business serves to be both convenient as well as hassle free. In COVID times, it’s also one of the only methods through which people can continue to purchase the items they need at home.
This is a great time think along these lines. By taking your business dealings online, you’d be surprised by the overwhelming response you may receive from existing clientele, as well as a new audience. Studies, such as Periscope by McKinsey surveyed more than 2500 people and the results went on to show that 70% of respondents were purchasing certain forms of products online, and transactions were increasing rapidly over the internet.
You could start by creating a page on one of the various social media platforms available to you and send out formal emails or newsletters to your existing clientele, in order to notify them and expand business.
It’s also essential for you to operate a minimalistic, easy to use website that allows customers to shop easily rather than get into the hassle of figuring too much out. The simpler you make it for your consumers, the more often they’ll come back to shop with you, and spread the word about your business. Ensure you promote COVID friendly techniques in packaging, continually reassuring your clients you’re taking no risks. Throw up a headline on your landing page about how you’re mitigating chances of catching the virus, and make sure to constantly reinforce this point. These measures will most definitely help your business!
VIEW YOUR COMPETITION CLOSELY – WHAT MEASURES ARE THEY FOLLOWING AND WHAT CAN YOU LEARN?
Here’s another aspect you need to take into consideration – during this tumultuous time, certain businesses may be suffering far more than others right now, perhaps due to the nature of their business. What you need to do is look into, carefully analyze and study those businesses that are successfully hailing through the storm, and consider what they may be doing differently. To further this cause, keep an eye on both your direct as well as indirect competition, to better understand the techniques they may be employing right now, and which ones actually work effectively. While, of course, certain strategies may not be able to apply cross industry, but you still need to research and see what you can find within your own industry, or tailor a technique to suit your specific needs.
Remember, there exist countless opportunities which can enable you to adjust the overall strategy and positioning of your business in the market, so that you can better match the competition, or even outrun it. If you truly grasp how your competitors may position themselves during and post pandemic, then you should be prepared to have an advantage as businesses begin to return to normal once the lockdown is lifted. Furthermore, opt for a more visionary approach when it comes to your business model, and analyze what the market may look like once the situation normalizes. That could help in truly steering you ahead of competition, and gaining a vital advantage for the
UTILIZE ALL THE TIME YOU NOW HAVE AT HOME TO TAKE COURSES, READ ON DIVERSE TOPICS, AND LEARN— JUST SO THAT WHEN THE SITUATION NORMALIZES ITSELF, YOU CAN FLY BY WHATEVER COMPETITION YOU HAVE!
This lockdown, amongst other preventive measures is in your best interest, and the most important thing you can do right now is to listen to medical experts. Remember, you need to keep yourself healthy, even if it’s just to avoid becoming a potential vector of the disease, to ensure you closely practice social distancing, resultantly keeping high – risk populations safe, and corona free.
Whereas adhering to these guidelines does mean you’ll be at home for a longer period of time, do not consider it a setback! Think of it as an abundant opportunity for self growth, and focus on yourself. Utilize this free time to gain more from the resources available to you.
Once you start viewing this quarantine as an incredible opportunity to majorly level-up as an entrepreneur, you’ll really get ahead of your time. Spend this time catching up on your reading, reading advice from experts, researching other businesses and entrepreneurs who have accomplished what you want to, and dig through the data to gain a better understanding of your target audience, the current market and all the competition you may face. This is something you’re probably doing anyway. For most successful entrepreneurs reading about business, researching the competition, and improving the self is just a full-time night job. The quarantine gives you an opportunity to condense even more of this into a shorter period of time – Leverage this to your advantage!
Several of your other competitors will be using this time purely as damage control and downtime, and this is where you should be seizing the chance to improve yourself to get ahead, and make yourself the best version of yourself you want to see.
MAKE A THREE-MONTH FINANCIAL PLAN
So now, let’s move on to the most important part of running a business – finances. No matter how you operate, every small business out there generally has a few key expenses, such as office rent, employee salaries, and utility bills. Further expenses can range from industry to industry.
Speak to whoever you need to pay in the next three months (landlord and suppliers), and find out what options you have to minimize the costs. There are high chances that they may already have options in place, or will be understanding, as it also plays out in their interest to keep your business intact. Remember to always be considerate and thoughtful when it comes to designing payment plans across other businesses, because they need to stay afloat just like you! Strike a deal that’s just and fair to the both of you.
Take a hard look at your personal finances, and speak to people you may support to have a realistic discussion on how to control your personal spending for the next three months. Ask yourself – What costs are an absolute must, and which ones can be put on hold at the moment? If you have a partner supporting you as you grow your business, aim to have an open and honest discussion with them about your immediate and long-term plans for the business.
Also, truly consider and evaluate some of the ways you can cut costs. However, you should be using this as a last measure after we, perhaps, have seen at least two months of damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the bulk of costs you may be facing would typically be your office staff and your rent. What you could do is, maybe, cease hiring any more full-time employees, and rather work on a project based frequency with various freelancers. You could also consider downsizing your office significantly, and start utilizing a co-working space to have more affordable and flexible payment terms.
FIND THE OPPORTUNITIES
Now’s the time to be a little selfish, and take certain risks.
We agree, it’s really never nice to capitalize on cataclysmic events such as this worldwide pandemic, however they can also serve as a wake-up call to reconsider how you have been going about your business. In this case, will your business model be able to survive the changes that will come from adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you expect your customers to behave, think and want moving forward? What are some of the things that will and will not matter to them, and how can you accommodate who will likely be a new type of customer? Is it possible for you digitize any of your services and products, so you can begin offering them online?
These vital questions are crucial to the health of your business. It’s time you sat down and started asking yourself the difficult questions that need to be asked now, rather than later.
Moreover, use this time to take a break and focus on self growth, as mentioned above. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, just remember – everyone’s in the same boat right now.