COVID-19: Strategies For Small Business
The spread of Covid-19 has a devastating effect on small businesses. Maintaining the spirit of determination and grit that drives entrepreneurs is more important than ever. Small business owners are encouraged to engage the innovative mindset that drove them into business in the first place. One of the most significant determinants of success for entrepreneurs is maintaining a keen eye on the needs and desires of their customers.
The internet has opened the marketplace and created numerous possibilities for engaging with customers. Virtual business channels provide a unique opportunity to reinvigorate the search for product-market fit and the hunt for new business models capable of surviving and thriving in a Covid-19-impacted world. The optimal means of risk mitigation is the identification of new customers and new opportunities to pursue growth and infuse some positive momentum back into the business:
- It is crucial for small business owners to virtually keep their fingers on the pulse of the changing market. Reviewing social media accounts and checking for shifts in website traffic (via clicks and impressions) will manifest in changing online conversations. Search trends are shifting, too, and opportunity can arise for small business owners who can determine where the conversation has gone. Numerous online analytics tools let you see what search terms are trending, so take advantage of these tools.
- Maintaining current customer relationships is critical, and communicating effectively with existing customers is key to building trust. Small business owners should leverage their websites and social media channels to communicate any changes in business operations. Consider proactively reaching out to regular customers to check-in and maintain the relationship. The current pandemic is an opportunity to help deepen customer connections.
- Similar to connecting with and meeting the needs of customers, considering the needs of your employees is also critical. In times like these, it is essential to be a leader: be transparent, accountable, and over-communicate. Transparency means letting employees know what is happening to the business from a revenue and business model perspective. Accountability means when layoffs need to be made, founders take responsibility for those decisions and shield managers from the blame.
- Stay connected to your entrepreneurial ecosystem. Community and industry connections are vital and can be sources of opportunity recognition, new ideas, critical financing, and reminders of inspiration and resilience. Entrepreneurs everywhere are feeling the pressure of this pandemic, and the more we can share best practices and empathise, the stronger our ventures will be.
Entrepreneurship is always full of challenges, and the small businesses who best adapt to changing conditions will be those that thrive. This pandemic will eventually pass and small business owners who use this time to meaningfully connect with their customer base, develop stronger community ties, improve their skillsets, and innovate their business models will emerge more vital than ever before.