The way business is conducted is drastically different from just a few months ago; many small businesses are adapting to Covid-19 in creative and revolutionary ways. Businesses of every size have felt the repercussions of the global pandemic and have had to adjust their strategy, but small businesses are in a unique position.
Small businesses may not have as much capital to hold them over and in many cases, the wrong decision can be fatal – but they do have the upper hand when it comes to implementing a new strategy. Small business owners have the authority to make creative decisions and apply them right away without having to worry about widespread and expensive retraining and policy changes.
The SBA as well as federal and local initiatives have put together comprehensive guides for small businesses so they have information and access to relief options. Loans would undoubtedly help small business owners but they’re only one half of the solution. It’s clear these businesses must make changes to their core strategies in order to succeed in today’s climate.
We’ve seen some of our favorite businesses stop operations, and seen others experiment with new approaches that have paid off. Tens of thousands of businesses have had to close each month since the pandemic began, but there remain many inspiring stories of perseverance and adjustment.
The approaches may vary but here are 4 ways that small businesses are adapting to Covid-19:
Social Media Engagement
Social media marketing and engagement were key prior to Covid-19 and now is the perfect time for small businesses to up their social media game. If you’ve been active online sporadically, or maybe not at all, start with a Facebook for Business page, here’s why.
Successful small businesses have increased their social media activity. They’ve stayed connected to their customers by engaging in conversations, posting more in general, and posting updates specific to any new business policies or offerings. By keeping your customers in the loop with any updates, you’ll gain their trust. This also allows you the time to build those relationships virtually that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
Social media engagement has so many benefits for small businesses. It’s free, or at least inexpensive, wide-reaching, instant, and only takes a few minutes from your day.
Transitioning to Technology
Some mom-and-pop shops that have never relied heavily on technology before have made the wise choice to dive in. One great example of this is Necker’s Toyland, a toy store that has been in business since 1948. To stay safe, they started offering virtual shopping, using FaceTime and walking kids down the aisles so they can choose a toy to pick up that will keep them busy during quarantine.
Other communities that have turned towards a technology-centered model are fitness and real estate. Fitness classes have transitioned to online and leasing agents now offer virtual tours. These changes have positive lasting effects for these industries by removing physical limits. For the trainer who wants to offer their services to clients who are moving, or grow their presence in a different area, now is their chance. Leasing agents are now more comfortable conducting tours virtually for those interested leads who aren’t in the area yet.
There are plenty of industries that have done the same and it’s safe to say that these practices will stick around even when life returns to “normal” and restrictions ease.
Some companies have found that their product or service isn’t necessarily in demand during this time. Instead of closing their doors, they’ve found other ways to stay in business all the while expanding their market. Cleaning services are a great example of this. People don’t want cleaners to enter their homes, so these companies have shifted their focus on disinfecting and sterilizing public buildings instead. Once their clientele starts scheduling them again, they’ll have built a foundation for a growing and successful business.
Partnering with other businesses is a great way to grow your business and your professional network. If you’re having trouble delivering your product or service, research complementary businesses and reach out. A simple but effective example is struggling restaurants partnering with local grocers to offer ready-made meals. Along the same lines, delivery services have offered incentives for those customers who order from local restaurants.
Has your small business adapted to Covid-19? It’s time to get creative, even if that means guessing until you arrive at the right answer – you could be on to something! Keep an active presence online and look into different ways you can connect with your customers via technology. If there’s simply no demand, consider a similar product or service that could reach an entirely different target market. There’s plenty of action that you can take to navigate through these times.