At its peak, the COVID-19 crisis shuttered businesses all over the US. Even once-wildly successful small business owners struggled to keep the lights on, let alone move forward. But small business help is available…
How to Run a Successful Small Business During a Crisis Is All About Strategy
If your small business enjoyed success before the pandemic, but now you feel like you’re paddling upstream just to break even, several effective strategies can propel you forward to success. Here are our top ten suggestions on how to run a successful small business during a crisis.
1. Provide Small Business Help for Other Struggling Businesses
Effective marketing strategies always revolve around the customer. That rule goes double for doing business during a crisis.
Identify your target customers’ unmet needs during the crisis. Single out the ones your business can meet. Then, create video or blog post content that shows them how to meet their challenges using those services or products.
Amplify these posts on the social media channels these customers frequent most often. Since most people don’t go out as much during a pandemic, social media often becomes their top source for information and news.
That’s a marketing advantage that businesses can leverage to create more revenue, even during a crisis. Providing small business help for other organizations during a crisis also creates plenty of goodwill – a double advantage for any business that will step up and deliver.
2. Small Business Success in a Crisis Means Taking Care of Your Team
Small business success always depends on having a great team. In times of crisis, the good deeds a business does for its team will build loyalty and morale for the future. Not only that, but those good vibes will spread by word of mouth throughout the community, building that business’s reputation among community leaders.
Provide a healthy workplace, putting sanitation measures, social distancing, and other measures in place. If any of the employees can work at home, provide that option for them.
Be aware of any home situations that might impact their lives, such as struggling with financial issues, having difficulty making payments, or providing food for their families. If possible, lend a hand.
Finally, if you do have to let some of them go to make your own payments, furlough them instead of laying them off. Furloughs allow employees to retain their company benefits, including healthcare insurance.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Keep customers informed of any changes they can expect. Provide them with helpful information that will help them thrive during the pandemic.
Consider sharing a few company secrets. For example, a gym could share information about how its customers could get almost the same benefits as a popular piece of equipment by repurposing common household items.
A restaurant could share a recipe for one of its most popular dishes so its patrons could learn to make it at home. Combine it with a coupon for in-house dining once the pandemic is over for even more loyalty clout.
Make Plans for a Post-Pandemic Future
Use the time off to build the business once the pandemic is over. How to run a successful small business is always about keeping one eye on the current situation and another on the future. Use these suggestions to plan for future success.
- Look at ways to expand the business. Create new products or services to reach new markets.
- Businesses whose flagship products appeal to working-class customers could create a new line to reach luxury customers, for example. Give them high-end appeal with custom labels in gold or silver.
- If your product demographic is upscale, consider creating a more economical line. Use inviting labels with cheery colors and designs that draw in a more value-focused customer segment.
- Create a repository of blog posts and other content so that you can concentrate on operations, rather than on marketing, once the crisis is over.
- Consider using the gig economy to expand the business once the crisis ends – or even before. Hiring gig workers doesn’t require time-consuming government paperwork or paying benefits. And, there’s little cost to you besides the money you pay them for their work.
- Use the Downtime to Generate Leads
Small business success can lead to unbridled growth if they use the crisis to reach out to new customers. Using content marketing – a marketing strategy that builds trust by providing potential customers with useful, non-promotional information – is a strategy that positions a business as a thought leader in its field.
- Use Email Newsletters to Keep Customers in the Loop
Combine content marketing with a robust email newsletter strategy for best results. Keeping new and current customers in the loop helps spread the word once the market opens again. To boost revenue during down times, consider using programmatic ads within the body of your newsletter to make up for the loss of business.
- Make It Easy to Do Business Remotely
A successful small business will adapt to every situation, including a global pandemic. Making it easy for customers to do business remotely can save time and resources during outbreaks. It’s so convenient that many customers will want to continue doing business remotely even after the pandemic fades.
- Become More Agile
As you strategize, consider every possibility. From supply chain disruptions to sporadic lockdowns, consider what to do in every situation. Position the company to meet every possible challenge it might face.
Even after the pandemic ends, small business success in the 21st century needs to be flexible enough to adapt to change – whether those changes are technological developments or future crises. Those businesses that become agile enough to plan for and adapt to any situation will take the lead in their industries.
- Use Video Demos Instead of Live Presentations
Small business success often depends on live demos of products, so it pays to invest in the technology it takes to produce demo videos. Whether it’s showing how a new product works or how to use a product to solve problems, videos can serve as an excellent substitute when potential customers can’t come in person.
- Consider a Loan from the Small Business Administration or State Programs
The US government’s Small Business Administration has increased its small business help by $30 billion to assist small business owners struggling to thrive amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports CNBC’s Alicia Adamczyk. Businesses can apply by mail or online for a low-interest loan up to $2 million to pay bills and cover your payroll. Some states also have lending programs for small businesses. Do some research before you apply, though. Be sure you know what the terms of the loan are and estimate how much you can likely pay back once the pandemic fades. It’s always a good idea to pay off any money you borrow as quickly as possible, and then put some of your profits away for an emergency fund in case of a future crisis.
Learning how to run a successful small business is a challenge – even during good times. In a global crisis, you need to put all these principles to work to thrive when everyone else is in panic mode. Doing so will position you to take the lead once the crisis is over.
Small business help during crises often means you need to shift your advertising and marketing to something less costly. At Nova Custom Printing, we can help. Call or email us today to discuss what marketing solutions would be a good for your business.