A Small Business Survival Guide in Pandemic time

Small Business Growth

The COVID-19 global pandemic has been especially hard on small business owners. According to this report by Statica, almost 70% of the small businesses in the US have suffered long-term negative impacts due to the pandemic.

While large businesses and corporations can bear the financial impact of the pandemic by drawing from their massive capital and investment funds, small businesses aren’t that lucky.

For them, It has become a game of survival. So in this post, we’ll share some effective strategies for small-business survival during this pandemic.

We’ll show you how with technology it’s possible to sustain financial growth and increase your business’s resiliency throughout this turbulent period.

Shift Your Business Online

A digital presence has always been important in this digital age, but it’s absolutely critical now because of the pandemic.

Most small businesses have already shifted to a digital platform due to the pandemic, but you can’t stop looking for new online channels to reach your customers.

If your business used to rely on face-to-face sales and foot traffic, then chances are you’ve lost the lion share of your revenue.

You need to offset that by constantly improving your online presence. Otherwise, your business won’t survive, and your competitors will thrive.

The global e-commerce industry jumped to $26.7 trillion during the pandemic, and online sales grew by 50%.

Not just because of the lockdowns, but people are actually preferring online shopping over physical shopping because of the sheer convenience and the growing health risks.

There’s a lot of ways you can increase your online presence. Also, shifting your business online is easier now than ever before.

You can start by having your own business website. You don’t need to have technical knowledge or skills to develop a website.

You use automated software such as Wix or WordPress to develop your business website and start selling your products.

Even if you don’t have your own website, you can start selling your products on popular e-commerce sites. Let’s take a look at some of these platforms –

Amazon and eBay:

As a consumer, you might already be familiar with Amazon and eBay. Both of them have endless categories and millions of active users.

They are often the first name that pops up when someone thinks about online shopping. During the pandemic, Amazon’s profits increased by 220% due to the massive increase of online shopping on the platform.

Similarly, sales on eBay also increased by 22% last year. As consumers are constantly turning to this platform for online shopping, you can easily increase your customer reach by retailing your products on these platforms.

Etsy:

If your business sells handmade and crafted items, then Etsy is the perfect platform to grow your online presence.

It’s a growing e-commerce site that really jumped into the headlines during the pandemic. Etsy’s sales grew by 103% during the pandemic, and it continues to grow today.

So, if your product falls into the niche of art & craft, handmade and vintage category, Etsy is an amazing platform for growing your business online.

Facebook Marketplace:

You can also retail your products through the Facebook Marketplace. During the pandemic, the Facebook marketplace started a massive push towards brands and business pages.

The latest reports show that Facebook has 1.88 billion daily active users, which is a 10% increase from the last year.

This is due to the massive growth in online selling through Facebook since the start of the pandemic.

To sum it up, if you have a business that retails any sort of physical product, shifting to an online business model will not just help you survive the pandemic, but it’ll also help you achieve financial growth in the future.

Reduce Costs with Process Automation 

During the pandemic, You need to keep your business cost at a minimum without losing productivity to maximize your revenue. Automation is the perfect solution to achieve that.

Business processes are often congested and bloated by redundant and repetitive tasks, such as documentation, invoicing, data entry, admin works, etc.

Hiring employees to perform these tasks can take up a lot of your valuable time and financial resources. Instead, you should search for software automation solutions to keep your costs at a minimum.

For example, instead of having a large customer service team, you can put a chatbot on your website to solve easy customer inquiries, then you can downsize your team and save on headcount.  

If your business manufactures products, you can automate your inventory and documentation processes to save costs.

Accounting solutions such as QuickBook and Xero can help you to manage your finances without keeping an accountant on the payroll.

No matter which industry you’re in, automation will help you to cut your cost and keep the business running without losing its competitiveness both during and after the pandemic.

Setup Remote Working

Don’t just work from home, work remotely. This means shifting most of your business processes online, including your team.

If your business doesn’t require a brick-and-mortar location, then setting up a remote working environment will save a lot of your cost.

Office rents are a large part of your business cost, and if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we are in a time when having a physical office might be redundant for your business.

So, why not get rid of this cost? Online communication platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams are amazing solutions for managing information and communicating with your team.

From face-to-face virtual meetings to screen sharing, progress monitoring, scheduling, these solutions have several features for efficient remote working.

A year-long study during the pandemic showed that remote working actually increased employee productivity by 13%. So, setting up a remote working environment will not just reduce your cost, but also improve your team’s productivity.

Focus on Social Media Marketing

Marketing is critical for small businesses. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, your success is closely tied to the recognisability of your brand. The more people that know about your business, the more it’ll grow.

While the pandemic might foil your physical marketing efforts, you can still grow your brand through digital marketing.

These days, everybody is on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are great channels for reaching your audience virtually and increasing awareness for your business.

Social media is also a one-stop channel for customer interaction. Not only can you target new audiences, but customers can also engage with your business through your posts and content.  They can also directly communicate with you on social media. So, everything happens in a single place.

In Conclusion

Digitization and automation are the best way small businesses can survive this pandemic. Utilize existing technologies to your benefit, create an online presence, and reduce your cost through automation.

These strategies will not just help your business to get through the pandemic, but also to thrive and grow in the long run.

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