There is no denying that this has been one of the strangest and most difficult years for small business owners. The global pandemic has seen businesses have to temporarily close, diversify in alternative ways, and operate entirely different to the way they may have been used to before. It is a crazy time right now, but that means that things are changing, and you need to be on board with it if you want to survive.
Being a small business owner may have meant everything to you. Your idea that you had, spending time, investing and effort to bring the dream to life. You may have worked solely online or had a retail premises or shop. The dream doesn’t have to be shattered simply because the world is struggling with a virus right now. There is a new normal that we all have to get used to, and adapting the way you operate your business, how you sell your products or services and even how you conduct your business, be that digitally or face to face, your business can ride this storm and come out the other end thriving. But the problem is, nobody truly knows what the future holds, so how can you make changes to support your small business? There are things that you can do that will help you to steer the storm, even if there are some curveballs of guidance changes or things that you can or cannot do. With that in mind, here are some of the things to think about.
Making your business covid safe
One of the first things that you might need to think about is making your business covid safe. This is massively relevant if you have a retail premises or office space in which you conduct your business. As you are now likely to start opening and trading once more as you may have done before, physically, you need to ensure that you follow guidelines so that things are safe. Not just for you but also your customers and clients. There may be guidance in place for social distancing, so having markers on the floor or signs to help your customers and staff remain a safe distance could be advisable. You might also need to think about hand sanitising stations, and even perhaps doing temperature checks before people enter. There is also an element of making sure things are covid safe when it comes to handling items and dealing with your customers, this might also be required for digital businesses. Using gloves and not touching things can stop the spread of the virus. The more you do to encourage customers, staff and clients that you are creating a safe space for them to work and visit, the more your business will continue to move forward in these uncertain times.
Enhancing your website
Many people are avoiding going out right now, and with a lot of encouragement to stay at home unless it is essential, you may need to think outside of the box so that people can still sue your business. Especially if you relied on the high street and footfall sales. A website is a great way to create an online shop and ecommerce option for customers and clients. If you already have one, which lets face it is likely in today’s world, then you may want to think about how you can enhance it. Look at the layout of your website and make sure that each web page flows. It could be worth checking to see if you need to make any amendments to the content that you have on there, using specific keywords, which we will come to with the next point, but also making sure all content is relevant to today’s world. Your ecommerce side of things needs to be up to date with correct pricing and stock levels and also easy to use. Last of all, think about how your business stands out on the screen. Could you brighten up or change your logo? Maybe rebrand now to make some positive changes for the future? The more you enhance your website and make it easy for people to use, the more your business can survive.
Making SEO a priority
SEO is a huge part of any business, and so you might need to think about how you can make it more of a priority and incorporate this into your business website. You may not have had to think about it before, or not even know what it is. Briefly SEO is search engine optimization. It makes it possible for your website to be seen in search engine results, and rank higher than others. When you browse on the internet, you are likely to pick the first few web pages that are brought up, assuming they are the most relevant. That is because the search engine has deemed the relevant due to SEO and also keywords that are used within the content. If SEO is not your thing, you may want to look at agencies like Conklin that do SEO for companies around the area to help you. Experts can look at the content you have and come up with an SEO strategy to help you get started. You could also research how to do it yourself, and by investing a little time, you may be able to build up your search engine ranking. The more you focus on SEO the better it will be for your business website.
Coming up with a social media strategy
Social media is of huge importance to small businesses right now. So many people are using the platforms not just to share their lives but also seek out business locally to them and other recommendations. The more you use social media the better it could be for your business and having a strategy to consistently post will help you to work with the algorithms on them. However, there is more to it than just posting your business. You need to engage on there, you need to comment and like, and also respond to comments and any direct messages that you get. It is also a good idea to mix up your content from business and sales focused posts to something a little more humanised. People buy from people so giving an insight into that through your business could help with it. Social media can help any business, and involving influencers who already have a targeted and engaged audience to review and share your products or services could be a great way to increase your reach more naturally. The more organically you grow, the better it is for your business.
Focusing on involving your business in the community
Finally, make sure that you put some focus and attention on the local community. As a small business, it is more important than ever to have a greater stance and representation in your local area. A great tip would be to advertise more locally, get involved in local events and sponsorship and also become more involved with charities. You could even consider sponsoring schools or teams in the local area by having your business branded onto uniform. The more you spread the message locally, the more you will generate more business. Consumers are wanting to support small and local businesses at the moment, now more than ever, so capitalise on that and make sure that your business is the “go to” in your niche.
Let’s hope that this tips help you to shape your small business for the future.