We can agree that social distancing is necessary right now, but this situation has been catastrophic for many startups and small businesses, which rely on in-person activities (for example restaurants, hairdressers and so on). The bigger businesses have a better chance of surviving. However, when something big and significant like this happens it can be devastating for the small business owner and their employees.
If you’re struggling during the pandemic, and you’re concerned about your business, here are a few strategies that could help you to survive and thrive:
- Try not to panic and take care of yourself
This can be difficult when your money is not enough, but remember to take care of yourself – try to eat well and exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself can help you to keep calm, which also means keeping your employees calm.
If you have to make difficult decisions, take time to balance yourself and your mind. In this very dynamic and rapidly changing situation, sometimes taking a step back to consider, and asking for opinions will help.
Just remember that things eventually will get better, and you are not alone in this.
- Take care of your team
Try to think of every one of your employees and their feelings. Some can easily adapt to the circumstances, while others can not; some might feel anxious, while others are confident in the current business model.
Ask your team regularly for feedback and be transparent in decision-making processes.
Furthermore, to stay connected with your team you can have virtual meetings and parties! For example, you can play online games, watch movies together, or just video-chat on your lunch break. Maybe not everyone will participate in this but show that you’re concerned about them. In this way, they’ll feel appreciated and their organisational attachment will get stronger.
- Ensure your values are aligned with behaviours
The way your company responds to the current crisis directly reflects its culture. If in your company one of the most important value is transparency but doesn’t give information to the workforce, or it says that it values customers but doesn’t communicate openly with them, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate those values.
Cultures evolve through time, and it’s important to know what your company’s values are at any moment, especially in unpredictable situations.
If the behaviour of your employees doesn’t align with your company culture, talk with them about this, have more meetings, and try to share your company’s values with them.
- Stay connected with your costumers
Even if your customers don’t buy your products, or services, right now, once this is over they can come back to you. That’s why it’s crucial to stay connected with them. Here are a few ways to make this happen.
- Send an email
Email your customers to let them know how they can get your product or service during this time. If they can’t get it, you have to inform them about this.
- Update your website
An email will reach the people whose contact info you have. For everyone else, you need to update your website.
People who come to your website need to know what you are offering. If you’re still working, make this clear and put it in the centre of your homepage, so you don’t miss out potential clients.
- Post on social media
No matter what age your costumers are, most probably they have Facebook or Instagram. Try to post regularly and keep in touch with new and old costumers.
You can also give them some useful information. For example: if you have a hairdressing salon, you can share with them a home-made mask frothier hair or something like that. They’ll appreciate the connection you make with them!
- Ask for ideas
No one knows better what your customers want than your customers themselves. Everyone is dealing with social distancing differently, so you can ask what do they want from your business right now. This allows you to continue to market and connect with your customers.
Remember that your costumers are the reason, your company and products exist. Understand that this situation may provide an opportunity for growth, and find ways to earn the loyalty and trust of your customers. They won’t forget how you treat them during a crisis, and that treatment will define your brand.