Owners belonging to the Asian, African-American, and Latinx communities experienced the sharpest decline of business activity, with female-owned businesses right behind them. It’s no secret that the whole world of small and medium businesses came to a grinding halt during the pandemic, and things have not been the same since.
The infrastructure of small businesses is typically more fragile than that of their larger counterparts. So, the challenge of remaining strong in the wake of chaos becomes even more difficult.
Small businesses need to be completely alert and constantly upgrading their systems if they are to successfully establish their place in the industry. Based on recent data on small business trends and predictions, here’s how you can uplift your small business going forward into 2022, and beyond.
- Establish Your Digital Footprint
Since Covid-19 first hit, internet usage has soared to new heights. People are spending more time seeking entertainment online. Plus, they need to effectively continue working from a remote location.
Your brand needs to be fully functional, accessible and appealing to internet users—they will become some of your biggest customers and clients. Claim your digital footprint and ensure that whoever is in charge of your digital marketing and management has the necessary expertise.
- Streamline Virtual Communication
The other side of sprucing up your digital footprint is the fact that your company will work remotely, too. It’s not just your customers that need easy access and efficiency in interacting with your business online. You and whoever is working with you need to be able to do so comfortably from their own home.
Invest in high-value communication and collaboration tools that make your (and your employee’s) jobs easy. There are plenty of affordable options designed for this exact purpose that will enable more streamlined virtual communication and remote workability.
- Collaboration and Networking
Connecting and developing relationships with other small businesses in your field or area has always been important. But in light of the new challenges you are likely to face, networking is instrumental to your survival.
Collaborating with your peers on events, products and packages will prove highly beneficial. You end up sharing contacts, growing your network and drawing in customers from pools you did not previously have access to. It will bolster your reach and forge business relations that are mutually supportive for everyone involved.
- Create Online Courses
Hundreds of businesses around the world have pivoted towards creating unique tutorial or educational-style videos (AKA e-learning) that web users can easily download in exchange for a price.
Online programmes like Skillshare, Udemy and Masterclass offer videos made by professionals in various fields which teach the viewer a new skill or series of techniques.
If your business involves a unique skill or particular expertise, consider creating an online course to reach a broader audience and generating passive income.
- Harness The Power of Ecommerce
During 2020, online stores saw a gigantic spike in sales due to lockdown and social distancing. Even though some of the heavier lockdowns are no longer in effect, people around the world are still concerned about infection rates. This leads them to opting for online shopping, rather than visiting brick and mortar stores.
If you do not already sell products or services online, now is the time. Doing so is a simple and reliable way to generate traffic and create profit for your small business.
Ecommerce opens up the door for attracting a whole new target market and supplying consumers with a service that they not only prefer, but require.
Setting up an ecommerce store for the first time will be tough in the beginning, but worth it for the reward. Once done, anyone with a computer, laptop or smartphone can become your customer.
- Prepare for Customer Reviews
The world’s current economic standpoint is in a delicate place. This means that even long-term loyal customers of bigger brands may look for ways to keep costs down and find cheaper alternatives.
This is where your small business steps in.
Do everything you can to provide affordable, friendly services to your target market that results in positive customer reviews. Other potential customers will read them, hoping that you will meet their needs too.
- Incorporate Empathy
In this day and age, it’s no longer good enough to just provide quality goods or services. Mainstream audiences around the world are looking for businesses that are sound on an ethical, environmental, and equality driven level.
Incorporating an empathic layer to your business will help to attract local customers. It will allow them to perceive you in a more positive light.
- Utilize SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is the calculated creation of digital content based on high-demand internet searches. Through analyzing the search and browser data of your target audience, you can adapt your services or goods based on what customers are seeking. You can even add a blog feature to your website that attracts online traffic and potentially results in more customers.
There’s a huge amount of data analytics and tracking software available (both free and paid) online. If you are not using SEO on your website, you’re already falling behind.
- Adaptability—Prepare for Unexpected Change
You can research and prepare all you like for the future. But at the end of the day, there is no telling what it will hold.
We have already seen a dramatic sequence of events unfold around the world that has left some businesses on their last legs. There’s no guarantee that this will change.
However, if change by nature is unpredictable, good things can come too.
Use your time to be productive and focus on the goals you want to achieve. Preparing yourself and your team for shifts in plans or strategy will ease concerns and allow you to feel more confident going forward.