Covid-19 has been a challenge for all of us. It has presented a completely unique and unprecedented obstacle for small businesses as well as causing a global economic crisis. In the centre of it all, millions of small business owners are wondering how they can recover.
But it’s not just the recovery that’s important. After the coronavirus outbreak, which is still just as severe as when it started, how are small businesses supposed to thrive? The world can feel pretty hopeless at the moment, but we are here to help your small business make it through.
Apply for Everything
Every government grant or loan that you see that’s designed to help small businesses, apply for it. Things like government bounce back loans (BBL) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or government business grants are a lifeline for many businesses. It can be hard to swallow your pride, but it could also save you. Both CBILS and BBL come to an end in March 2021. So, if you need the finance and you still haven’t applied for them and you meet the qualifying criteria, please do. You can click here to read an earlier blog that tells you more detail about these funding streams. You can use them for cash flow, paying staff, buying stock, buying equipment, redesigning your business model and much more.
These grants and loans will help you pay your bills as well as your staff. You should also sign up for the furlough scheme where possible so that your employees are paid while your business is closed. This gives everyone peace of mind. The furlough scheme has just been extended by the chancellor to July 2021.
Boost Social Media
Many small businesses neglect their online presence through social media. Use this time to really work on it and build a following. We’ve seen a lot of businesses reaping the benefits of a better online presence, including higher sales and a loyal following. Great visibility leads to credibility which leads to better profitability.
Get creative and make your business stand out in the best way. Everyone knows times are tough right now, and people are looking to support small businesses where they can more than ever before. Get creative in attracting more clients to your doors once the lockdown is completely over. Have a clear proposition. Think about what you want your customers to say about your service or product when they’ve used it and make sure the customer journey meets that expectation. If you are a restaurant or café for example, then your aim is not just good food (they probably get that from takeaways as well) your aim is the experience they get when a customer comes into your restaurant or coffee shop. Therefore, work on that customer service and customer journey experience.
Start Using Digital Marketing
In addition to boosting social media, get into the digital marketing game. Let people know you are here and ready for action. It can feel overwhelming at first, but whether you go it alone or hire a firm, you’ll find your feet in no time at all. It just takes faith, research, and hard work.
Be Creative with Products and Service
This is pretty important, especially as many small businesses are changing things up to match the times. Think about the products or services that you provide and see if there is a way you can creatively market them to become more relevant and useful during and post pandemic.
As an example, many clothes companies also started making masks so that people are able to stay safe while working or food shopping. Additionally, it gave them a stylish edge and gave the brand credibility for being so proactive during the pandemic. So, keep the creativity simple and easy to implement. Every little helps. Anything that demonstrates to the customer that you care about their health is a bonus.
Get Comfortable with Credit
Ok, so this is a controversial one, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Businesses are struggling financially, and the same goes for your customers. It’s time to implement buy now pay later schemes (where possible) like Klarna and PayPal Credit. Both of these ensure you are getting paid, but also give your customers time to pay the full amount - everyone is happy. Since the pandemic, more and more small businesses have been implementing things like Klarna and PayPal Credit to widen the options for their customers. The economy can’t get back on its feet if we don’t help each other out.
The pandemic has been hard, and it may yet continue this year for a while, despite the vaccine being here. However, that doesn’t mean that small businesses should lose hope. There are plenty of opportunities to recover and thrive, even though things feel tough and impossible now. Follow the advice in this guide, and we are sure you’ll see a difference in no time.
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