The coronavirus pandemic has threatened small businesses all over the world. Stay-at-home orders and mandatory shutdowns with limited means of support have created an urgency for small business owners to get creative and pivot to adapt to a different style of business if they want to stay open. Adapting to sudden change is a characteristic of a robust and well-managed business, and there are a few ways that you can leverage this crisis to grow your business by putting our tips to the test.
Your customers cannot shop in your brick-and-mortar store anymore. They can't sit in your restaurant or have a chat in your office. Homeowners can no longer hire a painting crew to repaint their interior, and lawyers have trials put on hold because of courts being closed. Everything is at a stand-still, but if you can go digital, you can still make money and run your business. If you don't have a website, now is the time to get one. Offering online ordering, virtual conferences and meetings, and curbside pickup will help small businesses overcome social distancing and still meet the needs of consumers.
You can no longer manufacture makeup products, but perhaps you have the goods on hands to make hand sanitizer or cleaning products. Perhaps your company can stop manufacturing car parts and start building ventilators. Small, local businesses can start offering carryout or delivery service through apps such as Postmates or Uber Eats. Leverage what you already have and local partners to get creative with your business plan and adapt to the new way of selling goods and services.
Part of going digital is going to be setting up social media pages if you haven't already. Small business owners can reach their target audience through social media for free and even use paid advertising to make sure you show up in your most loyal customers' newsfeeds. Everyone is using social media to communicate since no one can visit face-to-face, and connecting with your customers and clients via social media will be essential to maintaining loyalty.
If your team is working from home, you must ensure everyone is staying connected and staying on task. Set up daily conference calls or virtual meetings through Zoom and use collaboration tools such as Basecamp or Asana for managing tasks and projects. Keeping your team on track and meeting their goals will be essential to conduct business smoothly. You'll also need to support your team during this time with flexible schedules and vacation time, as well as checking in for support.
The pandemic has shown that most businesses and governments were not prepared for a pandemic. Now that you are living through it, now is the time to plan for future incidents and global events that can impact your business. Empower your team and colleagues to come up with and brainstorm innovative ideas that can propel your business forward during uncertain times.
Even with a government stimulus, Paycheck Protection Programs, and a small business loan, to be successful and thrive under the conditions of a pandemic and afterward, business owners must be innovative and creative. Being able to adapt and pivot your business to meet new and changing needs is how your doors will stay open, and your team will stay afloat.