While lockdowns and restrictions have been lifted in most countries, things have not got back to normal for most businesses. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people do business. On the upside, startups and small business owners have proved how adaptable and flexible they are by adapting to the new normal.
In particular, the eCommerce industry is booming. According to the ECommerce share of retail sales report, this industry has grown by 42 percent in the past two years, from 13.8% in 2019 to 19.6% in 2021. The pandemic brought unexpected transformations to the business world, but one thing’s for certain: unexpected challenges will always come up, so it’s important to be prepared.
If you want to take your operations to the next level and scale your business in 2022, here’s how.
Revisit Your Key Selling Points
One common mistake that business owners make is targeting the wrong audience. Creating marketing strategies for people who are not interested in your brand is a waste of your time and money. You’re better off focusing your time and energy on your target audience— people who are actually interested in buying your products and services.
Similarly, offering too many products can overwhelm your audience. You need to identify your key offerings or a special product that sets your brand apart from other businesses offering the same services. For example, if you own a restaurant or a cafe, define your signature meals that you do better than your competitors. People love to visit stores that have a special offering and, more importantly, this will keep them coming back.
Automate Your Business Operations
You may have already done this – many mid-sized and large-scale businesses have embraced automation tools to streamline their regular and time-consuming management tasks. These tools may involve a high upfront fee, but they are worth your investment over the long term.
Automated HR software is more efficient, more manageable, and cheaper than a bunch of employees that need training. Plus, you need to hire a supervisor who can monitor your HR department to see if they are managing recruitment, onboarding, training, and other tasks as required.
On the other hand, HR software can post jobs, filter applications by specific keywords and qualifications, train new employees, distribute payroll, record attendance, and execute other HR tasks efficiently. This is a smart investment that will more than pay for itself over the long term.
Grow Your Customer Outreach
If you want to scale your business, you need to not only retain your existing customers, but also focus on bringing more people to your store. Now is the time to grow your customer base and expand your business on a domestic and global level, particularly online. The number of online shoppers globally reached 2.14 billion in 2021, representing 27.6% of the world’s population. This means that one in every four people you see on the street is an online shopper.
Large businesses can afford to put aside a budget for TV advertising, billboards, radio advertising, launching a big event for product announcement, and so on. For startups and small business owners, your best bet to reach your customers is through social media and search engines. There’s no need to shell out for traditional advertising when all you need is a professional-looking website and a strong presence on social media. Social media, search engines, emails, flyers, business cards, and eCommerce stores are cost-effective and proven ways to get your product in front of your target audience, grow your customer outreach, and ultimately scale your business.
Use Technology to Improve Customer’s Shopping Experience
AI-powered tools, machine learning, VR, AR, access control systems, and IoT are all helping businesses to streamline their operations and better serve their customers. These tools help to give your customers a pleasant and hassle-free user experience. Considering that a large proportion of shopping is now done online, it is time for business owners to incorporate AI and other technology into their business model.
AI has the power to offer a personalized shopping experience to your customers. It records their buying patterns, browsing history, and other information to suggest a product they might be interested in. Amazon is a prime example of an eCommerce store that embraces AI for a personalized shopping experience.
Have a Solid Funding Strategy in Place
Many businesses had to shut their doors for good after onset of the COVID-19 pandemic because of poor capital management strategies. Capital is one of the areas where startups and small businesses struggle greatly. Paying for raw materials, product development, employee payroll, and rent are just of a few financial obligations that can take a toll on your business in challenging times.
Being unable to meet these expenses can land your business in debt. Poor financial management is often the reason why new businesses struggle to keep their doors open. That’s why it’s important to have a funding strategy that will keep your business running in tough times.
Increasingly tough competition combines with the ongoing pandemic represents threats for small businesses. That’s why automation, cash flow management, and solid marketing strategies have become essential in today’s business environment.