2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, including small business owners
Nothing about 2020 has been simple, especially when it comes to running a business. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many businesses fighting for survival over the summer, and precautions are set to continue for the foreseeable future.
If this has left your organisation in a tighter economic situation than you would like, there are steps you can take to help your business ride the wave and see out the tough times. You’ll need to strategically adapt to what has been dubbed ‘the new normal’ and take action when and where you can.
With that in mind, here are five top tips for helping your business survive 2020.
Take another look at your marketing strategy
When hard times hit, marketing is often one of the first areas to see cutbacks within a business. But this isn’t necessarily the right move. Now more than ever, you need market your brand, get your services known and reinstall trust among your consumers.
Consider how consumer buying has changed over the past few months and introduce ways to meet these new demands. The entire consumer journey now takes place online, so you’ll need to finesse your social platforms, optimise your website, create customer loyalty incentives and consider more personal attempts like email marketing.
See what your competitors are doing
It’s important to know what your competitors are doing because you don’t want them to be doing the same thing as you but better. Check out what strategies competitor brands are using to market their services, and analyse how they have positioned themselves.
Note what they are doing differently and take the elements that work, blending them with your own business strategies to give yourself a competitive edge. Remember, as Games of Thrones author George R.R. Martin once said, stealing from one source is plagiarism; stealing from many is research.
Analyse your finances
You might be tempted to bury your head in the sand when the purse strings get tight, but in order to ensure your business survives a tough period you need to address your financial situation head one. Calculate your cash reserve and assess what your worst case scenario would be: how long would your brand survive?
Giving yourself a budget is key. This budget should be checked and evaluated every month, and you should also be evaluating your products to see what’s selling and what isn’t. Review your expenses to see what you can minimise or even do without.
Take steps to ramp up customer service
With customers, there is no business. Many people have cut back their spending in 2020, so your customer service will need to be top notch in order to convince your consumers to stay with you.
The first step to good customer service is communication, and the best way to tackle this is with honesty. Let your customers know how your business is handling the pandemic and how you’ve been affected. Ask them for their thoughts on how they would like things to change.
This will create a sense of comradery between you and your customers, making them feel like they themselves are part of the business. This sense of loyalty is key when trying to convince customers to stay with your brand.
Engage with your employees
If your customers are the fuel of your business, then your employees are the cogs that keep it working. Just like with your customers, it’s important to be honest with your staff about how the business is holding up in the current circumstances. Make sure you give them a safe and non-judgemental space to talk through any issues they may be having as a result of the pandemic, and be flexible about any changes to their home life that impacts their work.