Small businesses have suffered a great deal during the current pandemic. Unfortunately, slowdowns in business can be much more devastating to the small business owner than to a large corporation. Resources were probably slim before COVID-19 struck, but now they have been stretched to the limit.
Small business owners have been forced to think outside the box in 2020 and must continue to in 2021. Reimagining the ways they engage with clients and how they manage income have become necessary to stay afloat. The adage, “curiosity is the mother of invention,” has never been more appropriate than it is right now. As science and technology grow and improve, curious people create ways to save time and money.
Invest in New Communication Technology
It’s always beneficial to connect with customers in person, but that has become difficult in recent months. For those business owners selling services rather than consumer goods, the transition has been less disruptive. Advancements in technology have made it possible to stay connected with important clients as well as other team members working from home.
Online web conferencing services, such as Zoom or Skype, make scheduling meetings much easier than before. Software like Microsoft Publisher, Excel and Power Point make it easy to create professional-looking presentations and graphs that create a more effective display.
Communications can also be enhanced by installing business phone numbers. Having a local number gives prospective customers the reassurance that they are dealing with a company in their neighborhood. It may even be possible to choose a number that makes it easier for customers to remember.
A cloud-based system can save a business owner money as well. Unlike the telephone company, some cloud systems offer low monthly fees without the costly maintenance expenses. You can easily add additional lines down the road as your business grows.
Implement Safer Engagement With Retail Customers
For retail establishments that sell disposable goods, customer contact is unavoidable. However, there are some smart ways to limit interaction to ensure that employees and patrons stay as safe as possible.
- Requiring a mask to enter, which many states have already mandated in public places, is a great place to start in keeping everyone safe.
- Installing hand sanitizer stations and offering sanitized wipes can reduce the transmission of the disease as well.
- Limiting the number of checkout lanes that allow cash payments can also slow the spread of the virus.
- Erecting plexiglass partitions at the cashier stations will help to protect both the cashier and the customer.
Research Digital Marketing
The small business owner doesn’t have a lot of funds available for marketing their product. Digital marketing allows them to focus their efforts on web-based solutions that don’t cost a lot of money. Taking advantage of social media is a great first step. Facebook and Instagram provide ways for entrepreneurs and others to market their goods at no cost.
Search engines, which have become very sophisticated in recent years, allow business owners to connect with potential customers. Since a typical search can provide hundreds of choices, the key to using the system effectively is through search engine optimization, or SEO for short. A company uses keywords about the products they sell in each blog and article they write. These keywords tend to be words or phrases that the typical consumer will use when looking for their goods. The search engine’s algorithm software looks for the optimal choices based on the placement and frequency of those keywords.
The current pandemic has wreaked havoc on the small business owner. Looking for affordable solutions can help them weather the storm and hope for brighter days ahead.