The Covid-19 pandemic changed the world as we know it in more ways than one. Even if the devastating effects of the virus are now fading across countries, it doesn’t mean it is over. In fact, for some business analysts, it is only the beginning of a new era for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Challenged by such a disruptive force, SMEs have to find new ways to recover, strengthen, and grow. It is not business as usual anymore, and today, we will discuss a handful of strategies small businesses and startups should consider to fight (and win) the future.
(Re) discover the power of the Internet
Our world would have turned very differently without the Internet that kept us informed and connected, helped us work from home, endure the lockdown better, and even thrive as businesses during the global health crisis. A few years back, small businesses and entrepreneurs managed a company website with minimum effort. Now, you have already probably seen major website redesigns and revamps, new online tools active and available, better working online shops, faster navigation, and a multitude of customer service online tools.
It is not farfetched to say that the Internet played a significant role in helping us all deal with the pandemic and even save our lives and businesses. Therefore, we can continue to rely on it to overhaul the way we address business, grow them, and make them stronger.
Adding your company’s name to a business directory during the pandemic to build customer trust, enable communication, and become visible for new niches of clients was (and still is) a fantastic idea that helped plenty of SMEs alive during the lockdown. However, the Internet is a force all entrepreneurs can harness with minimum investments if they have a good strategy.
1. Build an Online Storefront
When the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) states that over 90% of small businesses took a substantial financial hit since the beginning of the pandemic in March, you should take a step back and consider whether your business was among those who suffered such negative impact. Many companies worked based on some inertia, trying to survive. However, now that we are on the last leg of our race against the virus, we need to become mindful of what we still have to offer to our returning customers and even the new ones we plan to attract to keep the business alive.
One of the first steps to take is a revamp of your existing online storefront, provided you have one. If you don’t have an online presence, there is no better time than the present to create one. Here are some ideas that will not break your bank but ensure your business is still relevant for old and new customers alike!
Spending money to make money is the only way to go in this economic environment. Luckily, you have plenty of tools at your disposal to create your own logo free, build an entire website for free, build an online e-commerce platform, or upgrade the existing ones.
Have you seen a burst in new websites’ home pages and landing pages lately? If banks, major retailers, and corporations tweaked their online presence with new designs and integrated online services, it only means you can too. A new logo, for instance, shows customers you are coming out strong from this crisis. A better, more beautiful, friendlier, and more interactive homepage talks about your company getting better at what it does. It is not about the money, you know. With so many free tools and platforms, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity of building a robust online presence.
It is no mystery that a striking, UX-proper, professional landing page correlates positively with revenue, customer retention, customer loyalty, and brand visibility.
You may think that you cannot redirect your fragile budget to investments right now, and that is ok. Find free website builders and logo makers, choose the best providers of e-commerce platforms, and put in your time and intelligence into the building or redesigning of your online front. As you know, the biggest lesson the world understood due to the Covid-19 pandemic was that almost everything could be done online if you are smart enough, and this trend is not going anywhere any time soon.
2. Invest in SEO and Marketing
What you also need to understand is that SEO and online marketing are the poster children of business survival through and after the pandemic. If you have a brick and mortar business that is just tapping into the online environment, you probably know that competition is fierce. Do not ignore the need to invest in the latest and best SEO and online marketing tools and platforms that match both your business model and your existing and future customers. You will find plenty of free tools (such as free Moz Academy courses or free access to Hootsuite Professional platform for small businesses and nonprofits until July 1st, 2020, etc.).
3. Offer Upgraded Customer Support
On-point customer support is a driving force for brand recognition, customer engagement, more sales, and an overall increase in revenue. When it comes to actionable client service, now it’s time to pay attention. During and after the crisis, trustworthy, human, reliable, and mindful customer support made the difference between successful businesses that are still standing and businesses who will take a longer time to recover.
(Re) discover the Power of Business Storytelling
An online presence and a robust business storytelling strategy are inseparable. Most people have forgotten about business storytelling in the past years, considering that you should not change things that work by themselves. Still, you should know that it was one of the chief drivers of revenue, brand recognition, and customer loyalty during the crisis. The trend is going strong, because transparency, authenticity, empathy, and open communication are still the best investments you can make.
With people spending so much time inside the house and lacking human interaction, business storytelling plays a huge role – when done right – in offering a sense of connectedness. Now, more than ever, building a mindful, sensible, non-invasive, but welcomed presence among your old and new clients is a force you can harness easily. All you have to do is to put your time and passion in finding and using all tools available, from your new company logo to the latest free webinar you put together for your customers, employees, partners, and so on.
This content is brought to you by James Baier.