According to a McKinsey survey, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK have struggled to sustain, thanks to the strict trading restrictions imposed during the pandemic. The survey outlined that 52 percent of the 653 SMEs surveyed confirmed they could shut shop in less than a year under the trading restrictions.
While social distancing is the need of the hour to safeguard against the coronavirus, it has been the death call for small businesses that require footfall to sustain. While many closed doors, unable to sustain themselves, others completely changed their business model to better adapt to changing market dynamics.
The common denominator between all businesses that successfully sustained and thrived in the pandemic was flexibility and willingness to change. The world as we know it has changed, and adaptability is the only way forward. Here are some tips to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Expand Your Horizon
The best way to tackle the COVID situation and the trickling footfall is to consider an alternative business model. If the regular clientele is not coming in for obvious reasons, businesses have to reach them.
One of the best examples is the food industry. Even fine dining establishments have shifted to doorstep delivery to ensure that the cash machine keeps ringing while still servicing their existing customer base.
Another good example is local distilleries shifting to manufacturing hand sanitizers, which are considered essential during this pandemic. Similarly, apparel and garment manufacturers can consider manufacturing face masks, which is another necessity in current times.
The key takeaway here is to be flexible to change your products and deliverables to make ends meet as we battle the pandemic. The best way to do so is to research and find what relevant products or services can be delivered using the existing resources.
Once you have decided upon an alternate product or service, it’s best to register on an online business directory to make your business visible to those looking for that particular product or service.
Click here to find how an online business directory helps small businesses be visible to potential clients and rank in search engines. A good business directory uses the best SEO practices and social media to create a one-stop index for all local companies.
From plumbers to car hire, you will find anything and everything on such business directories. These are godsent for individuals locked down in their homes, looking for specific services or products to be delivered to them.
Be Innovative With Your Product Delivery
According to the McKinsey survey, the top five worst-hit sectors were hospitality, food, wholesale, education, and health. Nearly 90 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises reported a drop in revenue in November 2020, alarming. Businesses have to be innovative and creative about how they interact with customers and ensure product delivery in the safest manner possible.
While restaurants and cafes have the option of delivery and curbside pickup, other industries can take their businesses entirely online to cater to their customers. From starting an e-commerce website to virtual meetings, possibilities are endless.
Touch Base With Your Customers
No one knows what a customer wants better than customers themselves. If you have a Rolodex with details of your most important and regular customers, it’s time to break it out. Get in touch with your loyal customers — ones who know who you are and vouch for your services — and find out what they are comfortable with and how they would like to continue their relationship with your business.
Asking your customers what their expectations from your business are and letting them shape your crisis strategy will ensure that you understand what an average customer is looking for in terms of safety. You can then make necessary changes to your business model to provide what your customer wants.
Remember, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool that works the best in this pandemic situation. Once you provide the conditions and services that your regular customers want, chances are they may spread the word to their kins and folks. This will, in turn, help your business gain traction during the COVID-19 pandemic and bring in revenue.
Plan for the Future
You’ll never get this time again, where you have time to sit and analyze how to streamline your business to be more successful and efficient when the pandemic slows down and markets open again. Take this time to consider possible automation in place to cut out repetitive tasks and increase productivity.
You can also put effort into creating a social media presence to reach new potential customers. During the lockdown and pandemic, almost everyone is spending time online more than ever.
This has turned social media platforms into powerful marketing tools. Set up a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest account for your business and put out engaging content that will intrigue your audience and compel them to check out your business.
These are some examples of strategies, which several small and medium-sized businesses have incorporated. These businesses thrived even during the pandemic when the economy itself has been hit.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to sustain the repercussions of the pandemic. Take some time to analyze your business model and develop a unique strategy best-suited for your business and implement it. Now’s the time!