COVID-19 has hit many of us hard. It’s not an easy time, and we have likely all struggled with it in different ways. Financially, many businesses have been impacted by this pandemic. However, if you own a business or are thinking of starting one, it is still possible to grow and thrive during the midst of a pandemic. There are opportunities out there, and if you pivot in the right way, you can succeed despite what is thrown your way. For us, we had to adjust our schedules and lifestyle significantly during this time, and our plans for 2020 and even 2021 have changed…a lot. However, we have learned some important lessons along the way to continue doing what we love and still connect with our audience.
1. Be flexible
Flexibility is key, especially for small businesses. While many of us had business plans and growth strategies laid out in 2019 for the following year, we quickly realized those plans will no longer work. Being flexible and having an open mind with your business will allow you to think outside of the box. This out-of-the-box thinking can help you grow and find new ways to reach and engage your audience or customers.
For example, fitness studios have been shut down in many countries around the world. Rather than sitting and waiting for the go-ahead to open up again, they have been flexible in finding new ways to help their clients reach fitness goals – offering live stream events, developing fitness apps, and taking their studio classes outdoors. In many industries, being flexible is what saved them so far during this challenging time.
In the travel industry, flexibility means you may not travel to the destination you had in mind – but there are still ways to provide value to your audience; you just need to make a slight shift and take a new direction. Whichever industry you’re in, take some time to think about how you can change your previous plans to meet the current needs in today’s environment.
2. Utilize social media
With more people spending time at home, connecting on social media is incredibly important. It’s such an amazing way to reach a wide audience, and you can grow your presence online by consistently providing quality content. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on marketing campaigns to make money or build an audience – you can focus on creating shareable content that provides value. By doing this, you can organically reach your target audience and begin to build a following. Social media is an important strategy to implement effectively, as people are spending more time on their phones!
Identifying your target audience or customer will be important when focusing on your social media strategy. From there, consider what your audience may be looking for on social media – maybe they are looking to learn something new, to be inspired through photos or video, or maybe they are seeking entertainment. Whatever it is, think as if you were your target audience and provide content, they will value.
3. Try new things
You don’t know until you try, right? Be innovative with your business and try new things! What may not have worked before could absolutely work now. The landscape of business has changed, and previous rules no longer apply. For example, if you’re a photographer and are struggling to find clients and keep your business going, could you try something totally different, like offering virtual photography classes? Take a few hours to brainstorm new initiatives that can keep your business afloat – and remember, if it doesn’t cost much money or damage your brand in any way, then it’s definitely worth a try!
4. Learn new skills
With many of us spending a lot more time at home, we have more time on our hands to brush up and learn new skills. This will be incredibly helpful when it comes to growing your business. For example, if you have always hired a marketing company to develop strategy and plans for your business or have hired graphic designers to help with your blog content, now might be the time to start studying and learn these skills for yourself. You will be able to do more and more in-house and reduce overall spend hiring external companies. These new skills will serve you and help you take your business to the next level.
There are several resources available online that cost very little but can teach you a lot! Skillshare is a great resource to learn more about social media, content creation, videography, writing, and so much more. If you aren’t ready to pay for a subscription, YouTube has so much information on almost any topic, and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn for free!
5. Keep close to your finances
When revenue declines, we need to keep a close eye on our finances. In order to grow, you must be very diligent in tracking and forecasting your income. This doesn’t necessarily mean stop investing in your business or into yourself; it just means that you need to be very aware of where your money is going and ensure you are keeping enough for emergencies. You want to invest and grow, but also be able to weather the storm if needed.
Networking is a great way to build your brand and grow your business. Speaking to other people in your industry can provide new insights into the challenges and strategies you can use in the future. When you know the right people and form authentic connections, business opportunities often come up organically. There are many ways to network, and it will definitely depend on your industry. For many professionals, LinkedIn is a fantastic way to connect with entrepreneurs from all over the world. For bloggers and content creators, you can network easily through social media! Send a DM and get to know people doing what you’re doing – together, you can help each other grow and reach a whole new audience.
During such challenging times, growing your business might feel impossible. But there are many ways you can pivot and try new things, and your business can continue to grow despite the setbacks we are all experiencing right now. Continue challenging yourself, learning new skills, and reach out to others in your industry. Finding innovative ways to grow may take a bit of creativity and a lot of hard work, but it will provide you with new opportunities you may have otherwise missed.