The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted businesses across the world—from small start-up companies to huge global conglomerates.
Bringing with it difficult questions like which staff members to furlough, which clients to focus on, and which areas of the business to prioritize, the pandemic has forced many business leaders to rethink their strategies and refine their focus while trying to stay afloat.
For small businesses especially, safeguarding their company’s future has been absolutely imperative throughout the health crisis.
Whether it be a tech-based sports simulator provider or an independent digital marketing agency, the pandemic will have certainly taught business owners a few things about what they did well and what they wish they’d done differently.
In this blog, I'll point out a few of these things, highlighting some key lessons small business owners will have likely taken from the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s get started.
Things can only get better
Let’s start on a positive note. While the pandemic has brought with it its fair share of doom and gloom, it’s important to remember that, with time, things will get back to how they were—if not better.
When you look at any other major disaster to have taken place throughout history, the world always finds a way to bounce back from the amount of trauma caused by it. Whether it be the Great Depression, World War II or 9/11, there’s a lot you can learn from the response to huge global disasters from the past.
As such, staying optimistic will be absolutely vital going forward. Businesses—especially SME businesses—will crumble if they come out of this pandemic with a pessimistic mindset. Only those motivated to take on the challenge will make it in the end.
Flexible working works
With the vast majority of businesses having no choice but to adopt a flexible working arrangement already, the good news is that it works.
Not only does research show that working from home decreases the likelihood of generating a mental health condition, but, chances are, you will have also seen firsthand how much more production your workforce has been generating throughout the pandemic. That's something you should look to encourage further as we inch closer toward post-pandemic life.
By asking staff members to work from home more often, the potential savings businesses can make in terms of overhead costs is huge. This is something to bear in mind, as setting up a flexible working arrangement as either a temporary or full-time measure could pay dividends now and in the future.
Social media is vital
While on the topic of flexible working, it’s important to consider the way your small business communicates internally and externally.
From an external point of view, marketing yourself to attract new customers, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can make all the difference to your business’ success. Likewise, paid search campaigns through Google and other marketing means have proved vital for staying in the mind of your target consumer.
Internally, communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Whereby and various other video conferencing systems have helped keep the internal workforce motivated to work. Since many processes have recently had to change to an online-only basis, many businesses have become increasingly reliant on these tools in creating a scalable unified platform in the workplace.
This is something else that should be encouraged moving forward. With at-home workers more likely to feel separated from their colleagues, social solutions should be used and implemented to support collaboration across the various teams and departments.
Social media for small businesses is pretty tricky to nail. 😎— Keap (@KeapGrowing) August 16, 2020
It goes far beyond just setting up a Facebook or Instagram account for your business, and posting content every week or so. 🤳
✨ Here are 6 tips for building up a social media followinghttps://t.co/bvczcdChQW pic.twitter.com/RSmBH5Z6Y2
Develop Plan B
While restrictions may have recently been lessened somewhat, it’s important to remember that we’re not out of the woods yet. Therefore, it’s important to prepare just in case the worst-case scenario happens and there happens to be another wave of the pandemic just around the corner.
You can never over-prepare in business after all, so make sure you have fail-safe strategies developed and at hand just in case.
Whether it be a hands-free delivery system, the use of local suppliers to avoid contamination or an entirely new service, take time now to think about how you can keep your business safe should a second wave come.