This year has been a challenging one for many businesses around the world. Many were forced to lay off employees or shut their doors entirely to cope with the loss.
Industries like tourism, hospitality, and food and beverage are some of the most directly hit by the pandemic, but somehow, you still see some of them operating today.
Why? Because they’ve found a way to adapt and survive. Learn these essential steps for any small business to successfully pivot to the new normal.
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Rethink Your Business Model
It’s only reasonable to mold a new business model that caters to a whole new landscape. In fact, a lot of big-name businesses have tweaked their offerings to still serve their customers despite lockdown restrictions and the ongoing threat of the pandemic.
The question is, how? For small businesses, here are a few tips that will help them figure out how to reinvent their strategies right:
- Remember the business value proposition. Customers keep going back to a business for a reason. Business owners need to keep that reason in mind while trying out new ways to deliver their service.
- Listen to the customers. A local coffee shop may lose its patrons, who are mostly employees working nearby, due to companies allowing work-from-home initiatives. Still, one way it can cater to its customers is by delivering their goods right to their doorstep.
- Stay efficient. If the new business model is inefficient both for the customer and the provider, then it’s probably not worth pursuing.
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Create an Online Presence
Speaking of efficiency, one industry that’s likely to be the most profitable despite the pandemic is technology. Brick-and-mortar businesses that didn’t have a clue about an online presence are now finding themselves needing one ASAP.
Who wouldn’t-when more and more people are making their purchases online now more than ever?
It’s high time offline businesses embrace digital transformation with open arms. But where do they get started? Here are a few essential to-dos to transition a business online:
- Create a business website or app. Being on social media isn’t enough to get a business’s goods out there-especially since competition has been tougher than ever. Having an e-commerce website or app where customers can make direct transactions makes business more convenient for both sides.
- Don’t forget about online marketing. There’s a reason some brands have become more well-known than others are amid the pandemic. That’s because the market where their customers are found is online. Let’s not forget about keeping our offline methods on par. In the age of social media, brands need to level up their products and packaging to cater to a modern audience. Getting unique custom packaging for your products promotes a business’s branding and gives its products an edge in any market.
Transitioning online is a huge leap for any business, but it’s doable and profitable in the long run.
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Involve Your Employees
Business owners aren’t the only ones affected by the pandemic. Their employees are also fighting their own battles. But if employers are transparent and up-front with the team from the start, it’s likely to be much easier for them to accept the changes that may come.
Employees also make a great resource for excellent business ideas. After all, they’re on the front lines of the business and know the hands-on operations better than anyone else does. Business owners should learn to keep themselves in the loop for any business adjustments during the new normal.
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Business owners should think about maintaining stronger relationships with their merchants during these unprecedented times. One way to do this is to enlist new services while maintaining the old ones or even recommending them to other small businesses.
For instance, a business can partner with a local delivery service to help deliver online orders to customers. For window-cleaning businesses, they can partner with a reliable seller of window-cleaning supplies to help them maintain their day-to-day operations.
This isn’t only keeping each other’s business afloat. It’s developing a sense of community to thrive together in these difficult times.
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Leverage Government Grants
For entrepreneurs struggling financially, they can apply for government grants and programs that specifically cater to small businesses affected by the pandemic. Unlike a loan, grants are given for free, but applicants should be eligible for those.
The US Small Business Association provides several grants, such as the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) and the Portable Assistance Program. There are also private companies like FedEx and Nav that support small businesses that fit their qualifications.
Better Days Are Coming
If there’s one good thing that entrepreneurs can make out of this year, it’s knowing how capable they are to adapt to a tough economy. This will only make them a lot wiser and more strategic in the years to come.
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