The impact of the current pandemic has fallen hardest on small businesses and individuals worldwide. The number of business owners fell from 15 to 11.7 million between February to April 2020 because of health and economic issues related to COVID‐19.
However, recovery is happening as the current standards become the new normal. Small businesses can once again find their footing and grow as long as they adapt to new ways of running their businesses.
In this post, we’ll explore different steps a small business can take to survive and grow during a crisis.
Here are a few tips that can give you ways to find customers and continue making sales.
Review your business’s position
The first critical step to take is to know where your business stands. Only when you fully understand your situation can you take the following steps forward.
Sit down and start chalking up everything that has happened this year, the positives and negatives. Here are some things to consider:
- Changes in sales
- Any decline or rise in web traffic
- Whether your suppliers are still in business. And if they are, what has changed regarding deliverability, costs, and other details
- How your customers are doing and whether they will continue to work with your company
- Requests made by customers, employees, business partners, and others
Try to add the necessary details concerning how the crisi has affected your business operations. Face losses of all kinds with rationality and a clear head. You may find that you can continue your operations as usual or that you may need to pivot altogether. You’ll only know when you have information.
Boost your local SEO
Searches for local businesses have grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic. People are looking for companies and products nearby because traveling is limited to the area around their homes.
When there’s a crisis, a critical step for you is to optimize your web presence by adding relevant information about your business online. And it would be best if you did this from a local standpoint. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Optimize your presence on business listings like Google My Business, Yelp, etc. Add specific information about your solutions, the location of your business, store timings, and other data you think local customers are looking for
- Add essential information on your website as well. Make sure that you clearly state your location and the services or products you provide. And keep your messages and store details consistent across different platforms like your website and social media
- Platforms like Facebook allow you to create Pages specifically for stores and businesses. By creating a business page, you’ll be able to add details about store timings and other information that search engines will take into consideration for local searches
Carrying out local SEO will make your business easy to find. Done correctly, optimizing your brand for local search results can rapidly grow your business.
Leverage social media content
We learned that you could boost your local SEO by adding relevant information to your social media profiles in the last section. You also need to use social media to reach out to people in other ways.
Start by being aware of the best platforms for your business to operate on. There are numerous social networks in use today, and the same content won’t work well on all of them. Instead, focus on creating top-notch content for the top platforms where you can find your audience.
First, ascertain your target audience, and you’ll know what platform to focus on and what kind of content to make. For example, if your target audience is the younger demographic, creating video content for Tik Tok, Snapchat, and similar platforms is critical. But if your customers come from the B2B arena, then places like LinkedIn are better suited for you.
Another critical tip is to post content daily, if not more often than that. Regular content shows that you’re active and helps you get greater engagement with your audience.
Move your activities online
If you haven’t already done so, it’s critical to move your business activities online. This means different things for different businesses. When moving your activities online, here are some things to consider:
- Do more than create a ‘placeholder’ website that tells your audience that this is the site for your business. A website needs to have a purpose. When its purpose aligns with your customers’ needs and goals, you’ll create a high-converting site
- It’s critical to build a website that is mobile responsive. Google indexes the mobile versions of websites first and then the desktop edition. Your website’s UX, load time, and design on mobile will impact SEO
- Making your mobile site more useful is to give your audience information fast. One meaningful way to do this is by adding live chat tools. Creating a live chat option allows visitors to get personalized information quickly and drives up conversions
- Invest in the right tools for your business. To have the flexibility and the ability to scale your online business, you need to have a website that’s easy to run on your own and can carry out different functionalities. Use WordPress because you can get plugins to create virtually any site you like. For product-based businesses, an eCommerce plugin will enable even business owners with little coding knowledge to build a functional online store
Moving your work online is a necessary activity today. It may be the only way to keep your business alive when a crisis happens. Define the purpose of your website and look at the tools you need to make that purpose actionable. You’ll save money as you use digital resources rather than physical ones.
Get support from institutions
A final suggestion is to reach out for the support you can get from your trade associations and governmental bodies. For example, the US Small Business Administration offers funding options to help you retain employees, manage loss, access funds, and more.
In the UK, trade bodies for sectors like Housing, Fashion, Exports, and others provide helpful information to their members and enable them to find support during the pandemic.
A time of crisis is a time to be proactive with information. Reach out and ask relevant authorities, your network, trade associations, and your community to guide you with helpful information.
A challenging task for many small businesses is to switch to online operations. They have to create websites, do digital marketing, and find the right tools for payment management, customer support, inventory management, and more.
These tasks may seem overwhelming, but it’s critical to keep building your online presence. Listen to customers and note their frustrations. Your small business will grow even amid a crisis when you find answers to their pain points.