Small Business Recovery
It’s a huge time of uncertainty. The Coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone. Small and medium-sized businesses (SME’s) in particular are feeling especially vulnerable right now. A recent Simply Business survey reports that four per cent of small business owners say they have closed permanently so far because of the pandemic - some 234,400 UK closures.
According to strategic insight agency Opinium, their research with Be the Business has uncovered that the vast majority (82%) of SME business owners are concerned about the impact that Covid-19 will have on their operations. Immediate and short-term impacts of the Coronavirus are the biggest worry. Almost half (47%) are concerned about sales drops, while two in five (39%) are worried about the impact of the wider economic situation, and 35% are concerned about day-to-day cash flow.
You might be a bricks & mortar business with closed doors, or an online business that’s seen a sudden drop-off in orders. In both cases there are worrying days ahead as you try to get your operation back up to speed and operating safely in the new landscape.
The encouraging news is that there is help is at hand, as True Blue Marketing Consultant & Owner Chris Mellor-Dolman explains:
“It’s a very different world to the one we knew before. I believe many businesses will be looking for outside to help to re-establish themselves post-lockdown. As professional marketers we have the agile skills to navigate through the challenges and get small businesses growing again.”
Outsourced marketing in particular will appeal to businesses that struggle to find the time and resources to manage their own marketing. For a relatively low investment, handing over the marketing seat to an outside professional will free up time and resources so that business owners can concentrate on what they do best - directing their own operation to ensure that they’re prospering again as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the expert-driven marketing activity will get their business back to being front-of-mind with their customers & prospects by maximising their exposure after the Covid-19 Lockdown.
Now, more than ever, is the time for small businesses to be proactive and to get creative. It’s not just about survival either, it’s about finding new ways to thrive too.
This quick-reference list of useful tips has been compiled to get SME’s thinking afresh:
1. get connected
> Reach out to other SME owners. We’re all in this together. Make contact with them and share ideas that work. Ask questions; the responses might well be useful for everybody to know.
> Connect with your customers & prospects with regular contact. Email is the obvious choice, especially newsletters. Provide useful tips to help them through as they adjust to living in new ways - especially without the benefit of your product or service.
2. be resourceful
> If customers can’t come to you, think about how you could still deliver your business to them in some way. Personal trainers and coffee shops have done this in some very inspiring ways. Take their lead and make it work for you and your customers. Get creative with your thinking. You never know, it could result in a new, better way for your business to operate moving forwards.
> Can you help your local community during the pandemic? Several well-known football clubs such as Southampton FC have done just this. Time is the most precious thing you can give, and not only will it be appreciated by those who you support, but you and your colleagues will benefit as a team from making a difference.
3. be visible in new ways
> If you’re an offline business this could be the time for you to build an online shopping page where customers could buy your products & services from.
> If you’ve steered clear of social media then now, more than ever, you’re missing out on the best way to engage with your audience in real time. In the era of social distancing, ironically social media channels are the best way to get up close and personal with your business. Set up company and brand pages on Facebook and Linked In, build your audience and get the conversation started. It’s one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to keep your customers informed about everything that’s going on in your business. You can also create intrigue on channels such as Instagram if you’re on the verge of launching an exciting new product service.
> Show your human side. Your customer base is likely to be predominantly home-bound right now. Use digital marketing to let them into your business to see what happens behind the scenes. Introduce your teams and profile what they do in an engaging way that reassures your customers that they’re dealing with a company that cares about them.
> Good old fashioned posted material hasn’t gone away. Why not drop customers a line on a creative mailing piece like a postcard? It shows that you’re thinking about them as individuals, and that they matter to your business.
4. make the most of new opportunities
> Maybe you’re one of the lucky businesses that’s experienced a boom during recent events. Good for you! If you’ve found a new opportunity then make sure you approach it with the right mindset - not as a one-off, but by applying the right strategic thinking and resources to sustain the momentum going forward. There are likely to be many more gym instructors who’ll be sticking to delivering their classes straight into clients’ living rooms after the crisis, as opposed to going back to classes in physical spaces. Customers alike have found new and better ways to lead their lives. Collaborate with them on it, and deliver the solutions that work for them.
Whatever you do, do something. Don’t stand still and wait for things that might never happen. Get creative and drive your own fortune. After all, that’s why you set up in business in the first place… to be in charge of your own destiny. Never more than now during this crisis has this been more appropriate.