According to the Washington Post, the struggle is real for small businesses after the pandemic, with more than 100,000 of them shutting their doors permanently since March. As they explain, “It’s simply not possible for small businesses to survive with no income coming in for weeks followed by reopening at half capacity.”
And, while some 4.2 million businesses have managed to survive thanks to emergency SBA loans, that does little to help the rest of the 30 million or so small businesses in the country. In short, the future may be bleak for a fairly large number of these “micro” businesses.
However, there is hope and, with a solid plan and determination, your business could not only survive – but prosper.
Time to Get Strategic
Though it offers little solace, it must be said that those who are imposing such severe restrictions on business owners usually know little about the entities they’re regulating. In other words, being an expert at limiting the spread of a virus does not also make one an expert at running a business. And so, conflicts arise.
Despite this, your ability to weather the storm and keep your small business afloat will depend more on how you respond than the limitations being placed on you. According to an article at Forbes.com (and quite a few others), you won’t be able to just “wing it” anymore. You will need to respond to the urgency of the moment with “efficient execution” of a plan.
This means that, if you haven’t begun to do so yet, you must create a strategy for survival that includes marketing, client acquisition, client retention, and more.
The Forbes article offers five keys for reopening your business and they are all solid recommendations. (Yet, one can only wonder why they placed “Make A Relaunch Plan” number three on the list!)
Below are brief descriptions of each of the keys:
- Lead With Engagement – Engage with your local community to empathize with employees and customers. Many states have released guidelines for reopening businesses. Still, consumers just aren’t coming out the way they used to.
- Get Ready – Personal protective equipment (PPE) is here to stay for the foreseeable future. If businesses have not planned well, it may become the greatest barrier to reopening their doors. From masks or other face protection to gloves and barriers, choose wisely and have these tools in place.
- Make A Relaunch Plan – Don’t just open your doors. Relaunch your business. You will need to account for a variety of needs and regulations in your post-coronavirus relaunch plan.
- Over-Communicate – Social media, email and radio or are all powerful ways to communicate and spread awareness. The impact of good communications is doubled when the businesses has something substantial to say. By now, we all have much to say.
- Start Partnering Up – Small businesses can use partnerships to expand their audience. This is an especially useful tactic now to generate consumer interest, as the nation has been on a commercial hiatus.
While there is quite a bit more detail offered in the article, we believe this shortened version of their keys will get you thinking about a strategic approach to reopening your business.
Developing Your Business Relaunch Plan
Want to know a secret? You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to relaunching. Other business owners have already started the process and that means you have a template available. All you have to do is watch and learn!
Whether brick and mortar or online, there will be successful and unsuccessful relaunches taking place over the next months. Even your competition can offer insight, based on how well or poorly they respond.
Take some time to sit down and study these questions, then get busy researching the answers. Once you do, you will very likely have at least an outline of a plan for relaunching your business.
- What are the successful businesses in your area or niche offering? Check out the social media profiles and websites of some top performers to see what they’re doing.
- What changes have your competitors made since the pandemic hit? Have they changed their hours of operation? Their services or product lines? What have they missed and how can you respond to fill any voids?
- What services and categories are needed in your area or niche? Are there categories where you could offer your services? There is always something missing in a competitors menu of services, creating a niche for you to fill.
- What services can you provide that are unique, superior, or at a more competitive price point? The more specific you can be here, the better. Take a deep dive into the needs of your target audience, especially what they may need from you in the wake of the pandemic. What can you do differently or better?
- What will set you apart from the local competition (or others in your niche online)? Is there a need in your market for a pro who is willing to take on smaller projects, instead of always going for The Big Deal? Does your market need a pro with a different pricing structure?
Not everyone will respond the same way to the needs of the moment. Some will do the expected – some the unexpected – with varying levels of success. Use these questions to research your local market or online niche and see if there’s an unmet need you can fulfill to attract new clients – or renew relationships with previous clients.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what your business will look like after the pandemic, and how to get strategic, we can help: Get in touch with the YOMT Team today