June 26, 2020
2020 has truly been an impactful year. Unfortunately, almost all the impacts that it has made have affected us negatively. The coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak that has engulfed the world has affected every person, business, organization, government, and country. If yours is a micro or small business, then you are one of the worst affected by this pandemic and the subsequent lockdown rules that have been implemented to contain it. Several economies have been shut down for days and weeks, thereby causing businesses to suffer from losses that easily run into millions of dollars.
Listed below are 7 tips to help your business stay afloat during COVID-19.
1. Think from Your Customer’s Point of View
The first thread you should be looking at is your customer. It is true that the pandemic has changed things, but regardless your first priority should still be your customer. You must understand the distress situation that everyone is in at the moment. In such a situation, it is necessary that you change your perspective to look at things from the customer’s side. This will help you anticipate several outcomes and accordingly make policy decisions for your business. Try to reach out to your most loyal and trustworthy customers and understand their situation. If possible, once the situation is dealt with, conduct a survey to understand the impact of the pandemic on your customer base. This will help you strategize for the future better.
2. Adapt Your Services to Fit the Current Scenario
It would be foolish if you thought you could get through the pandemic using the same techniques that you used before. As the popular saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. You must try to understand the needs of the current situation and change your working strategies accordingly. For example, you will be unable to sell your products on a physical retail platform for some time so it is important that you start looking for online stores and outlets to showcase and sell your products. If you decide to sell them via your website, then offer a convenient home delivery service with proper payment plans. Offering a variety of payment plans will expand the size of your potential customer base. Another important change to make, if you aren’t doing it already, is taking your business to every online platform available and using digital marketing techniques to promote your brand.
A question to keep in mind is whether your product is really required by your customers at the moment. Classification of the product you sell will help you make plans and anticipate outcomes.
3. Implement Heavy Technological/Software Upgrades
This pandemic has been a true eye-opener for every organization that believed in traditional methods of running a business. The lockdown, now more than ever, has shown people the need for using advanced software and digital platforms for completing the minutest of tasks in a firm. The more technologically advanced your brand is, the easier it is to coordinate between teams and projects. If you weren’t keeping records on a cloud platform, this is the best time to start.
You now have the time to not only upgrade your software databases but also learn new technology and how it works. Make sure that you take such major decisions after consulting your team and understanding their concerns, limitations, and advice.
4. Adjust Your Budget
It is important to make major changes to your budget according to the current needs and demands of your market. Big changes in marketing strategies, technological upgrades, and delivery options will require you to update your budget accordingly to accommodate these costs. Also, keep a check on your current expenses and see what is necessary and what isn’t. You can reduce costs for things you do not require and then use that money for other purposes. There are certain areas where you can work with your team and put aside other efforts, thereby reducing costs to a significant extent.
5. Keep a Track of Your Competition and Learn from Them
This is the time to keep track of your competition and see what they are doing to stay ahead. Every firm has something or other that you can learn and implement in your own organization to grow effectively. Always keep this avenue open because you never know who has what to offer. You can adapt these strategies according to your needs and see how they work for you. There are certain other marketing strategies and corset effective techniques that are versatile across industries and that can be implemented regardless of the nature of your brand. This can be an opportunity to analyze your competitor’s business strategy and gain a competitive edge against them.
6. Keep an Eye on Government Policies and How They Can Help You
Governments and cooperative organizations all across the world have announced packages and policies to benefit micro and small businesses during these tough times. Be it an allocation of funds, redemption in taxes, cut in interest rates, or insurance policies – there have been a number of support drives that have been announced. It is important that you keep a track of these and then see what applies to your firm. You can use these resources to benefit your business.
7. Keep Your Employees Happy
Right after you have ensured your customer’s happiness, your focus must shift to that of your employees because effective human resource management is key at all times. Given the negative impacts of the pandemic and the effect on everyone’s mental health, expecting the same levels of productivity from your employees would mean putting undue pressure on them during these tough times. You also must understand that working-from-home does not mean being available around the clock. Fix a proper work schedule and do not expect your employees to work beyond that. If your employees need advance payments, try to accommodate them to the degree you can. Most importantly, try to create a positive virtual work environment and make it easier for your employees to approach you and work together as a team.
The most important point that needs to be noted here is that you must constantly be positive and believe that you will survive this crisis. This is something that has affected people, organizations, and governments all across the world and we must work together to uplift each other.
The only way to get through this is if we come together as a global community and fight against this virus outbreak as a world family.
Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control. His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online startup for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients. He is the chief consultant of the company and takes care of the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company. He is very passionate about writing and marketing.