It’s hard to overstate the brutal effect that COVID-19 is having on the US economy.
All but essential businesses are being forced to close their doors to customers. Revenue has dried up, stores have shut down, and many people have lost their jobs.
A $2 trillion relief package from the government offers a semblance of hope. Yet, nobody knows if it’ll be delivered in time to make a sufficient difference.
Needless to say, it’s a stressful and precarious time as every business owner tries retool their businesses with digital marketing and SEO (search engine optimization).
Thankfully, there are shreds of hope amongst the rubble. Some businesses are cashing in on a surge in online sales and seeing better trade than ever. Others are pivoting their strategy and enjoying newfound opportunities in return.
With Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 356 companies are using business innovations in software to reduce expenses and increasing productivity through CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), automation, AI (artificial intelligence), and outsourcing business management and outsourcing marketing.
Finding business success isn’t easy right now, but the right approach can take you a long way. Are you looking for business guidance to get through the current COVID-19 crisis?
Read on for 14 essential ideas for ensuring success in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
1. Identify the Primary Challenges
The first pivotal step in this process is to identify how your business might suffer.
On the one hand, it might seem obvious.
Your store(s) might already have closed. Your clients might have backed off. Your revenue streams might have dried up. And so on.
But try and be more specific. Why would your clients back off? Why would your customers stop buying from you? What’s stopping your business from flourishing throughout this pandemic?
Sit down and think about the worst-case scenarios your business might face in the coming weeks and months. Only by understanding the potential repercussions of COVID-19 can you think up solutions.
Start by listing the possible problems and then work out a strategy for handling them. The coming suggestions should help.
2. Invest in Lead-Generation
People go into ‘disaster aversion mode’ in trying financial times.
Our natural aversion to loss makes it tempting to cling to what we have. The idea of spending money on extra small business marketing might seem unappealing.
Attracting new customers is crucial if the business is going to survive though.
See the crisis as an opportunity to seize leads from your competitors. You can guarantee that other companies will have reigned in their marketing spend. By doing the opposite you can fill that gap and enjoy a much better marketing ROI.
3. Take Advantage of Cheap Online Ads
This point leads on from the last.
There’s never been a better time to invest in digital advertising. Why?
Because everybody’s at home and online. Consumers are stuck indoors with nothing to do! So many people are no using the internet that providers are starting to struggle with demand.
At the same time, companies are spending less on their marketing.
That’s good news in terms of digital ads. Think about PPC campaigns, where CPC increases as more people compete for keywords.
With fewer businesses bidding than before, you can now target popular words at a fraction of the usual price. You stand to beat the competition in search and spend less in the process.
4. Focus on Online Sales
Online shopping has become a lifeline while we’re under strict directives not to leave the house.
Web-based stores, such as Amazon, are having their best year to date!
Could your business leverage this rise in internet shopping somehow? Could you sell more products/services via the internet? Or could you create new products/services to sell via the web instead?
Make the online buying process as straight-forward as possible. Again, Amazon provides a prime (if you’ll pardon the pun) example. With a single click, you can order whatever you need and have it delivered the next day.
That convenience facilitates sales and keeps happy customers coming back for more.
5. Create Training/Educational Resources
Short on ideas for products or services to sell online?
Consider putting together some training/educational resources. Given the growing rates of unemployment, these could become a valuable source of income.
Anybody out of work could be looking to retrain in new fields and disciplines. As an expert in your industry, you could position yourself as a go-to source of training within it.
Remember, more people are teaching themselves relevant skills online than ever before. Capitalize on that popularity by providing training for anybody interested in your industry.
Put together a set of comprehensive resources to help others learn the craft. Sell them from your website to provide value to others and drive revenue.
6. Pivot to Solve a COVID19-Related Problem
Flexibility is key when you’re building a thriving business during coronavirus.
Being rigid in your operations and processes is a recipe for trouble. You have to roll with the times and think outside the box. Don’t, and you’ll struggle to solve the problems with which you’re faced.
Many companies have had to pivot from the norm to keep revenue coming in.
Consider how your business could shift gear to solve a COVID-related problem.
For instance, a hand lotion company could start producing hand sanitizer. A food production company could start doing deliveries. A tutoring company could start selling custom curriculums.
A swift and incisive change in trajectory of this nature could be enough to save the business. A services company could bring on Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 to automate their marketing and sales processes to reduce expenses, increase productivity, and increase revenues.
7. Offer Payment Plans
Individuals and businesses are understandably concerned about money.
People are losing their jobs, and a recession could be around the corner. It’s natural for consumers to cut back on their expenditure in times of such uncertainty.
Changing your pricing structure could help prevent your income streams from drying up.
Offering payment plans, as opposed to a fixed-fee, is one way to do it. These plans enable people to spread the financial burden out over time. They enjoy a reduction in financial pressure; you enjoy their continued custom.
8. Make a Difference
These are challenging times for everybody; businesses and consumers alike.
Strange as it may seem, doing something for nothing might be the best way to facilitate business success. Figure out how you can provide value to your customers and the world.
Teachers are offering free online lessons. Fitness trainers are running free home workout sessions.
Marketers are giving away free training materials and guidance. Kitchens are giving away free meals to the community. Consultants in various industries are offering free support.
The list of good being done goes on and on.
Even better, the businesses/individuals making the difference gain at the same time. They cultivate trust, develop relationships, receive donations, generate newfound exposure, and distinguish themselves from their competitors, among others.
Don’t treat it as ‘just another PR stunt’ though. Only by providing genuine value to people and asking for nothing will you benefit in return.
9. Focus on Social Media
When business gets busy, social media marketing is oft-neglected.
Try to turn that situation around now you’ve got some downtime. This is the ideal opportunity to post more regularly and to engage more with your audience.
Think about doing live videos as well.
Remember, huge numbers of people are online at the moment. That means you’ve got an amazing chance to engage with your audience!
You could go ‘behind the scenes’, offer messages of support, reveal the projects you’re working on, or play interactive games. Anything you do can help generate exposure and grow your brand.
That’ll stand you in good stead for when the pandemic shifts and life goes back to normal.
10. Leverage Technology/Software
Technology should be at the forefront of your business efforts.
The exact tech/software for the job will vary by business. You might need a CRM, an inventory control system, accounting software, new computer systems, or updated networking capabilities.
You might have been avoiding the transition to the cloud or delaying the update of your communication systems.
Whatever the case, now’s the time to make the change. Utilizing business automation and artificial intelligence coupled with business innovations with big data science can target the bullseye and provide the horsepower to reach and convert your marketing into sales.
The right technology will increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and teamwork. It’ll improve the customer experience and, ultimately, boost profits. Technology will help you pivot, test, and analyze your efforts to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Businesses must invest in new tech now more than ever. Without it, growth and progress will be far harder to come by in the difficult times ahead.
11. Consider Outsourcing Key Tasks
Outsourcing will be another essential step in facilitating ongoing business success.
With the economy in turmoil, companies are going to have to do more with fewer resources. Their operations will need to be lean and mean; every dollar spent has to count.
Outsourcing business management functions (such as HR, accounting, and marketing) provides an ideal solution. You avoid the usual effort and expense of hiring employees, training them, and paying for leave. You benefit from industry-leading expertise while keeping the in-house team small.
The result? Your business becomes more productive and costs less to run. It’s no surprise that 2.4 million jobs have been outsourced in the US in the last ten years. This business consulting and business outsourcing can deliver sophistication at reduced costs to deliver superior results.
12. Diversify Your Supply Chain
Businesses across the globe suffered as the Chinese economy ground to a halt this year.
With China as a primary supplier, the business’ supply line was disrupted and they ran out of products. Have you suffered a similar fate?
It’s time to diversify your list of suppliers.
Look elsewhere for alternative sources of products at a similar margin. Having multiple suppliers is akin to having multiple income streams. It means you’ll still be able to source inventory regardless of one or more suppliers ceasing operations.
13. Diversify Your Traffic (Use International SEO)
Diversifying your sources of web traffic could help as well.
After all, COVID-19 isn’t just affecting the US. Every country in the world is feeling its effects. That said, some countries have suffered more than others.
Is your primary traffic source from somewhere that’s been badly hit by the virus? Then there’s a good chance your traffic levels will have struggled a lot too.
With traffic coming from multiple destinations, though, you could have mitigated the loss. You’d have seen standard amounts of traffic from places that haven’t been affected as badly by COVID19.
This is where international SEO and content translations come in handy. You can maintain your rankings and traffic levels from countries all over the world. If one country starts to suffer, then you’ve got the others to fall back on.
14. Leverage Any Downtime
It isn’t very often that business-owners get a chance to stop and pause.
Time is usually spent trying to avoid downtime in order to keep the revenue coming in! Coronavirus might have put a stop to that, though. You may have more time than you know what to do with now.
See it as a blessing in disguise. Use the time to project yourself into the future and put a strategic plan in place for how to move forward.
Think about the systems, software, and platforms you’ll use to drive success.
Brainstorm solutions for how to navigate this new economy and realign your business with its core values. How will you get back to serving your customers, generating revenue, and, ultimately, running a thriving business?
Build a Thriving Business During COVID19
There’s no denying it: COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the world.
Almost every aspect of life has ground to a halt- including the economy. Businesses are shut, people aren’t allowed to leave their homes, and jobs are on the line. Business owners are under extraordinary financial pressure. They’re being forced to think outside the box, alter their trajectory, and operate in novel ways just to get by.
But it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. And, with the right approach, even the worse-struck businesses can turn the tables and find success.
Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you run a thriving business, in spite of the current climate.
Would you like professional support to boost your business during this difficult time? Contact us today to see how we can be of service.