It is too simple to fall into stressing about missed sales. You might also be stressing over losing customers. You need to find novel ways to retain that element of connection with your clients and offer them valuable products that they will want to purchase.
Here are our top ten tips for ensuring that your SME thrives and survives during lockdown.
Take advantage of social media to connect with your customer base
It is more important than ever to connect meaningfully with your customers online.
Try to post on your socials networks more frequently. Include calls to action by inviting your customers to like, comment, enter competitions or share the post. If you receive public or private comments and messages, respond promptly and take a friendly and understanding tone. Another effective strategy is to host video seminars or chat groups on platforms such as Zoom.
Your sales might have slowed down and you may not be as busy with your normal operations. That’s why you need to make sure that you are still offering value to your customers. You can deliver value by posting informative blogs on your website and socials.
Maintaining an online presence reassures your customers and shows your business is still up and running.
You can tailor the content for these uncertain times and offer advice on dealing with these unexpected conditions. If you do not have the time to write new content, you can repost old content, editing it to include key words if necessary. You can also recycle content and turn it into video posts.
Host Webinars instead of face-to-face events and meetings
Networking is so important. Face-to-face meetings are now impossible for most industries. That’s why you should take advantage of virtual platforms to host meetings, public meet-ups and live streams. This is a great step as it levels the playing field for small businesses that previously may have been unable to afford to host meetings.
Some great ideas include classes and tutorial sessions, training videos and industry-expert panels.
Join virtual professional communities
You can use the COVID-19 pandemic to show that your business is socially conscious. This will help you build rapport with your client base and will allow you to stand out in a crowded market.
You can sponsor or volunteer for food banks, mental health organisations, medical charities, or even create your own program. Encourage your employees to take small steps such as phoning the elderly, going to the shops for vulnerable neighbours, or checking in on others.
Plan for the worst
Don’t bury your head in the sand. You will give your small business the best chance at survival if you forecast and plan for all possible scenarios. It’s a great idea to put a percentage of your revenue aside in case of emergencies. Examine all the costs of the business, especially the consistent costs such as rent, insurance and utilities. Lowering these consistent costs will help the business to stay open in the long run. To compare quotes online for business insurance packages to get the best price click here.
Revamp your website
Before COVID-19 disrupted our economy so dramatically, many small businesses found themselves too busy to focus on web design. If your employees are not occupied with their usual duties, you can set them to updating your website. Tech-savvy employees can update the graphics and interface. Other employees can find new photos for the website and rewrite and update content.
First you will need to make a site map and organise your content audit accordingly. You will also need to reassess your target audience by identifying who your customers are now, what they want and what they like and dislike. Then decide on the direction that you want to take your business. Prioritise which parts of your website you want to address first.
Lean Inventory Principles can do wonders for your business
Businesses of all sizes and models should consider working along the principles of Lean Inventory. The Lean Inventory Fundamentals state that you should keep your inventory to no more than 30-50% of your business sources.
Encourage and support your employees to upskill
Many e-learning platforms, universities and other educational bodies are now offering free or inexpensive online courses. Encourage your employees to sign up for these courses by allowing them time during their normal paid working hours to study. Paying for relevant courses is a valuable investment in your employees.
There are so many courses out there, from coding, analytics, mathematics, web design, corporate psychology and more.
Keep lines of communications open
It is so important to keep your staff in the loop. During and after this economic lockdown, your staff will be the backbone of your business and will drive its growth and success. Even if you are feeling the squeeze, be as transparent and honest as possible with your decisions regarding rostered hours, salary decisions and other financial decisions. You should share the state of your company’s finances with your employees so that you are all on the same page.
Don’t worry, be happy
Many small business owners are under exorbitant stress. Don’t suffer alone. Share your worries with family, friends, your business mentor, GP, or mental health professionals. Take proactive skills to boost your happiness and mental health. Exercise more, meditate, watch your favourite movies and cook or order your favourite foods. Take up a course that you have always been interested in. Don’t torment yourself with ‘what-ifs’.