By Alisha Shibli
The unprecedented advent of the COVID-19 pandemic gave birth to a vicious economic downturn that resulted in the stagnation of business operations all over the world. With lockdowns and social distancing as the ‘new normal,’ many small business owners feel the burn when it comes to sales and turnover. They also struggle to provide employee assistance.
Just 12% of organizations are prepared for the impact of Coronavirus, according to Gartner’s Business Continuity Survey. Small business owners in the service sector especially suffered amidst the lack of opportunities and are struggling to make ends meet. On the whole, the business models they leveraged in the past happens to remain a thing of the past.
Businesses across industries are feeling an urgent need to implement thoughtful continuity plans relevant to post-COVID times. A successful business recovery process would require intelligent pivoting of business models and creativity in business operations.
10 simple tips to business recovery
Regardless of the nature of your business, here are ten tips that you can include in your business recovery plan:
1. Work on an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) or MVS (Minimum Viable Service)
As an entrepreneur, you need to see your business models in a new light and reassess the capabilities and services. Your products and services need to be relevant to the current market situations.
You must look for ways to adjust your products and services to meet the needs of your customers in present scenarios. Creating an MVP or offering an MVS can help you make the most of available resources.
2. Customer discovery
Bringing a Minimum Viable Service is just a series of guesses and assumptions. The success of an MVP or an MVS depends on the validation of the problems that customers face. Customer discovery is the art of leveraging the existing customer base to find out if they would be interested in a new service.
You can explore social media or even run an email campaign and video conferencing to understand the real interest and pain points of your present-day buyers.
3. Conduct rapid testing
What the end customers think of a product or service matters more than what you or your team thinks of it. Sometimes, even the most meticulously built products and services fail to capture the desired target markets. As a business owner, you need to understand if the target segment wants your updated product or service. The only way to ascertain that is through rapid testing.
It’s reasonably easy to build, deploy, and improve a digital product within days or weeks, depending on the feedback received from the market. Rapid testing can help you understand what the market wants and how to develop something that fits that demand.
4. Refine your products/services
Building a fast feedback loop should also be a prerequisite for your business continuity plans. This can help you gather relevant feedback and implement it optimally as you steer ahead. Refining your products and services through feedback from clients helps ease their pain points and boosts retention rates.
Asking feedback from peers should also be a component of your recovery plan. Such feedback can help you gain insightful knowledge about the shortcomings of your products and services and shed light on the scope of improvement. Wholesome input from clients and peers enables you to upgrade your products and services.
5. Simple omnichannel marketing is the way forward
There is a significant paradigm shift in the way businesses are being run and how marketers are reaching out to the most remote workforce. We know that most consumers are choosing to shop online from their homes. Thus, the increasing importance of digital channels is significant to their customer journey.
While most of you may already have a website, one of the things that you can improve is to create a special domain name for your updated product/service. For example, if you’ve launched a new remote work tool, you could register it on a domain name such as www.betterwork.online and promote that. Or if you’re selling organic products, you could register a domain name such as www.allorganic.store.
You could even create branded short links to reiterate your brand message such as betterwork.online/pricing or allorganic.store/fruits. URLs such as these give your business and your brand a more meaningful online presence since they have all the important keywords communicating the key message through them.
6. Spread the word
Your business recovery process must not end at the launch of your updated product or service. A good way to spread the word is to share your process and wins with the business community through innovative social media channels and email marketing.
Sharing your knowledge also helps business owners contact other people dealing with similar target audiences and pain points. They can help you refine your products and service to be the best they can be. Talking about your product and service is essential even if it is not an immediate success, as feedback from others can inspire you to pivot efficiently.
7. Create a pandemic ready workplace
The pandemic has led to workforce disruption at an unprecedented scale all over the world. Workforce management at businesses needs to be fit-for-purpose today and still be flexible enough to evolve as the global business environment unfolds.
The need of the hour is to ensure your employees’ well-being. While it’s advisable to create a remote work culture, some businesses need their employees to be present physically. In that scenario, a safe working environment with regular sanitization, limited-scale meetings, and social distancing protocols in the areas of everyday use is crucial.
8. Embrace new sales channels
Lockdown does not mean an end to people’s wants and needs. Far-sighted business owners create opportunities that serve these needs and wants even in times of adversity through alternative sales channels. A relevant example of this is small business owners shifting to eCommerce given the sharp decrease in the foot-traffic in stores during the pandemic.
Business recovery plans post coronavirus pandemic should utilize online marketing, eCommerce models, social media conversions instead of an emphasis on physical selling. A chunk of businesses, such as service sector businesses, can readily adapt to these new sales channels.
9. Forward-thinking customer engagement
The current global crisis has revamped the way businesses engage with customers. Companies must strategize their investment in consumer products based on their popularity with the target audience. Further, having real-time channel dashboards helps continuously reevaluate and tweak channel investment budgets for profitable growth with constrained resources.
Even factors such as workforce mix contribute towards consistency and flexibility in meeting the evolving customer expectations. Performance management and measurement for both work-from-home and in-office staff should also be redefined for best customer service experiences.
10. Take pent-up demand into account
There may be a chance that the economy bounces back high above the level it would have been in a pre-pandemic baseline because of the pent-up demand. This temporary boom may make up for the part of the GDP foregone during the lockdown.
Federal government policies also ensure that the recovery graph is as Z-shaped as possible. For example, the U.S. government issued $660 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses and $268 billion in increased and expanded unemployment insurance to aid businesses’ finances. Intelligent business owners, such as yourself, would take mindful decisions keeping in mind the projected pent-up demand for more significant success tomorrow.
Smart business owners must focus on strategies and steps to best protect their workforce, serve their customers, and stabilize their business continuity. We hope these ten small steps to business recovery will help small business owners chalk out