Right now, staying nimble is the key to survival for most small businesses.
The coronavirus has created a long list of challenges for small businesses in every industry. However, even in such a challenging situation, many small businesses have already been able to stay nimble and keep their doors open.
Life is full of things that we can’t control. Small businesses don’t have any control over social distancing recommendations. They don’t have control over what their customers will choose to do or whether or not they consider their products or services to be essential. But, what small businesses do have control over is how they respond to those challenges.
Responding to the challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic takes flexibility and a whole lot of creativity. Here are a few creative ideas to help you get started.
Ideas to Help Small Businesses Stay Nimble Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic
#1. Transition to remote if you can.
The biggest challenge small businesses are facing right now is the inability to serve their customers face to face. This is no problem if you have an e-commerce store or have already been serving people online, but for many brick and mortar businesses, it can be a big obstacle to surmount.
Luckily, though, there are ways for small businesses in lots of different industries to adapt their services remotely. For example, fitness centers can offer online fitness classes that members can log into and could even expand to giving their members nutritional advice for quarantine. Beauty salons that can no longer serve their customers in person can instead promote self-care products that can help their clients to keep looking their best from home.
#2. Brainstorm new products or services you can offer.
If your products or services aren’t what a lot of people would consider to be essential, there’s probably not a high demand for it right about now. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t temporarily transition into offering products or services that are in demand at the moment.
One great example of this is the fashion industry. Many clothing manufacturers have stopped producing stylish clothes and started producing reusable masks. The demand for fashionable clothes has fallen drastically, but the demand for reusable masks has skyrocketed. Another example is distilleries and perfume makers that have transitioned to manufacturing hand sanitizer.
As these examples demonstrate, offering a new product or service doesn’t have to mean investing in new equipment or learning a skill. There are lots of ways small businesses in many industries can use the equipment and skills they already have to serve their customers in new ways.
#3. Readjust your focus.
As your customers’ priorities and demands change to reflect the new realities of life during a pandemic, so should your focus within your organization.
For example, let’s say you’re a plumber. Before coronavirus, your bread and butter might have been bathroom remodels. With coronavirus, though, lots of people’s priorities (and budgets) have changed, and they are likely to be a lot less interested in those kinds of projects. Instead, readjust your focus to installing bidets or doing essential services, like unclogging toilets or cleaning out blocked drains.
Restaurants and bars that used to mainly rely on in-person dining are now offering carry-out and delivery services. Some are even offering cook-it-yourself and mix-it-yourself kits so that people can create their favorites at home.
#4. Reduce your prices.
Social distancing is just one of the many challenges small businesses are facing. With widespread unemployment throughout the country, even if people were able to go out and visit a restaurant or go shopping, many wouldn’t be able to afford to do so. In situations like these, businesses have two options.
The first option is to keep your prices where they are. With this option, you may not lose any revenue on your products or services, but you’ll be likely to see a sharp reduction in the number of people who can afford to take advantage of them. The second option is to lower your prices to something your customers can actually afford at this point. You may not make as much on individual products and services, but overall, you’ll have more business.
In addition to actually maintaining a customer base, reducing your prices is a good move for your business’ reputation. When this is all over, people will absolutely remember the businesses that were able to help, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.
#5. Make a difference in your community.
Just as there are lots and lots of small businesses that are hurting right now, there are lots and lots of people hurting, too, and some of them are probably in your community. If you have the means to give back and help the people who are hurting in your community, now is the time to do so.
The way you help your community may or may not be directly related to your business or industry. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Donate to your local food bank – With empty grocery store shelves and many Americans stocking up on two weeks of groceries at once, food banks all over the country are hurting right now. Donating to your local food bank is a great way to make an impact in your community.
- Help to finance other efforts to give back – You may not have the means to make medical supplies, sanitizer, or ventilator valves yourself, but you could help to financially support the businesses in your community that can.
- Teach people how to do it themselves – Giving back doesn’t always have to mean giving money. If you don’t have the means to financially give back to your community, there are lots of other ways to do so. One of which is teaching your community how to do things themselves that they would normally hire you for.
The truth is that there are lots and lots of ways that your business can remain nimble during this trying time. If you need help coming up with ideas for how to do so in your organization, contact us at Marketing 360 today!