The global pandemic has decimated businesses in almost every industry. The hardest hit has been tourism, food service and travel industries. However, the silver lining is that the strong survive and the market has been cleared of quite of few competitors. but how else can businesses emerge from Covid19 and rebuild?
Bring your business online if you haven’t already and improve your website and online assets. They represent your brand and are a way for customers to reach you whilst social distancing and travel restrictions remain in place. Look into designing a website or giving your existing one a refresh. As online eCommerce continues to grow and take market share from the high street, you may look to add an online shopping cart to your site and use Google AdWords for more leads.
Add more payment options like PayPal, credit cards and even cryptocurrencies as it becomes a mainstream tender for retail. Google Maps and pinning your business can improve your SEO but is also a way to let customers know how to find you and let them know about any changes in opening hours and additional health and safety measures for when they visit.
Embrace Social Media
As people move to remote working or make it a larger part of their working week, a trend has been that they spend more time on their social media accounts. How can you produce more valuable content to grow your followers and keep them engaged? The key is to post regularly and share content like news, videos, infographics and behind-the-scenes content.
This will give followers more value and insights into your company. Get active on the platforms that are right for your business. Instagram is great for photographers, designers and musicians because it is primarily visual and images and videos work best. LinkedIn can be expensive to advertise on but it can reach the right people in the departments you are targeting.
Keep Your Finances Under Control and Seek Funding
The statistics show that 74% of start-ups lost revenue during the pandemic by a moderate amount but nearly 20% saw revenue drop by over 80% yet only about a third of start-ups have received any financial assistance at all. This includes the retail and hospitality grants and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which the Government guarantees 80% of the borrowed amount. If you are unable to tap these funds, look at other avenues like loans from your bank, investors or taking out equity from your house or office property.
Finances will be tight when sales and growth have been impacted so severely. Help lower costs by reviewing things like rent, software licenses and pension contributions. One area not to cut back on though is marketing.
Increase your Marketing Budgets
Go the contrarian route and increase your advertising spend instead of cutting this budget. Most of your competitors will be cutting back on this area but it is the perfect time to focus on it. Bids for PPC ads are lowering precisely because fewer companies are fighting for the clicks and with less competition, you will be able to capture more leads and market share. During any economic slowdown, the companies that maintain ad spend and marketing promotion are the ones that recover fastest.
The Harvard Business Review argues vehemently for companies to invest in marketing as a way to avoid being dragged under in economic slumps.
A major difficulty with the new norm of remote working and less face time is how teams collaborate on work and projects. This has spawned a huge rise in collaboration software like Monday.com and Slack which give teams the ability to share documents, annotate and chat about them in a virtual space or what is termed ‘collaborative work space’. These spaces or platforms allow team members who cannot get to the office to share knowledge and update each other as they progress their tasks. These are certainly becoming the norm and making virtual teams more productive and accountable to each other and their managers.
Business Continuity Plans
The Covid19 pandemic showed us that things can happen to paralyze the economy, affect our health and our businesses in the blink of an eye. So, learn from this pandemic by implementing at least this one measure.
Have a plan for such an event to happen again. This plan should cover staffing, the technology and software that is required to work remotely, even an alternative office location to ensure your business can continue after a major disruption. To read more about business continuity look at this article.
The impact from Covid19 has been severe and wide-ranging, with as many as 41% of start-ups facing what is called the “red zone” which is 3 months or less before they become insolvent. Not many have or will survive, but for those that do come out the other side, lessons have to be learnt including risk mitigation of similar events occurring again. The respiratory disease could easily mutate and spike again, so use current trends like increased eCommerce, use of social media and lower digital ad costs to insulate yourself from such risks.