For many small business owners, the virus is leaving them in the red regarding profits. With predictions of more of the same for at least the first portion of the coming year, finding ways to reduce the negative impact is critical to their survival. This year gave birth to a lot of unfortunate realities for some businesses, but the market swiftly came back with some future-proof solutions that can help companies and organizations stay afloat, or at least, devise a plan for reopening or remaking. Fortunately, there are things you can do to encourage growth.
Fair or unfair, churches were hit harder than many businesses. In some cases, unable to open their doors, they had to find new ways to remain connected to not only their worshipers but also congregants. PushPay.com is more than an app providing online giving for churches, you can click here to learn more. It also has apps that allow ministries of any size to conduct online meetings and maintain systems remotely. This is a great way to maintain a sense of community while paving the way for a reopening as something to look forward to for your congregants.
Grow the Business
The hospitality industry continues to take a big hit due to COVID-19. Restaurant owners are now finding ways to increase their take-out volume. They are adapting to the new normal. Running frequent ads at beneficial times on online platforms like Facebook and Twitter will help drum up business. Sending weekly emails to locals containing discounts for larger orders or return business is another way to encourage an increase in sales.
Diversify your content on social media by asking customers, loyal, and knew what they’re in the mood to eat. Use polls and questions features on Instagram and Twitter. Do giveaways for when dine-in is safe again to increase brand awareness, which will hopefully in turn increase interest in trying take-out. Give hints to what the dine-in experience is like to tease interest once things open back up. You want your strategy to work long-term.
Improve Your Website
With many people remaining at home more often, having a stellar website that’s user-friendly will benefit your business. If you are marketing well, you probably have social media ads that direct traffic to your website. However, once there, potential customers need a reason to stay.
If your site is outdated, savvy viewers will know. Updating the design on a regular basis keeps the look fresh and shows returning viewers you are active and interested. Tips for new designs include keeping the home page attractive yet simple. Add some updated images, and make sure the navigation is intuitive. You also want to make sure that the user experience on mobile is also excellent. Remember that most take-out orders are done on mobile apps or mobile browsers.
The valuable text content and a brief story about your humble beginnings are a few must-haves but be sure both are updated and timely as well. It’s also important that the services or products offered are current. Outdated stock will turn customers off, and if that happens they are unlikely to return. Animated whiteboards can also work in your favor by keeping visitors on the site longer.
Utilize Remote Workspace
The large office space is currently a thing of the past. With restrictions on the number of employees working in the same space, employers needed to find other ways to hang onto their skilled employees. One way is to install software and programs that workers can use from other locations, like their home. Having the ability to perform the same job from a different location eliminates the need for now scaling staff and helps you maintain healthy financial growth. Using collaborative tools, video, and message chats are great ways to stay connected to your coworkers while not in the office. Along with online tools, co-working spaces (done safely) can keep you connected to coworkers at your local office or fellow remote employees in your area.
Keep Customers Safe
Following the CDC guidelines for businesses that have customers is critical. It will reduce the threat of spreading the virus among employees and create a safe environment that encourages a steady flow of traffic. With many states still imposing restrictions on capacities for businesses, it’s important to gain the trust of every customer. For example, gyms and salons wipe down all equipment, have sanitizing stations, and sanitary rest areas. They also practice social distancing. Outlining the safety precautions your business is taking on your website, and on social media is a great way to show customers that you care about their health and safety. It will also help your business have a smooth reopening. This is an unusual time, but with a little bit of adjustment, you can find ways to run your business to a certain capacity, then slowly return to full capacity.
Now, more than ever, business owners need to reduce waste. Keep tabs on your inventory and sell off items that aren’t moving to make room for products that sell. Turn off lights when possible and turn off computers and electronic equipment overnight. If your business uses lots of paper, consider printing on both sides, and bad copies can be provided for use as scrap paper. Replace plastic water bottles with filtered water on demand and lease equipment with a scheduled maintenance contract or buy used. Whatever your line of business is, take a hard look at your finances to see where you can cost-cut, and reinvest that money back into the core business and your employees.
COVID-19 has made it difficult for many small businesses to sustain a profit. With a few changes to advertising, a revamp of your website, and a focus on saving money where possible, you can turn things around. There are ways to advertise and touch up your website in a cost-effective manner. You can project the profitability of these investments and choose which action to invest more marketing budget.
The core of any business is the product, and from there, you have your customers, your community, then marketing. If you have the foundations of your business, strengthen your community by maintaining it, which thankfully because of the age we live in, we’re able to maintain connections virtually. These are small actions, but are incredibly valuable for the longevity of your business and will pay off once the country reopens.