Navigating the treacherous waters of 2020 is scary for most business owners. Some of the brands declaring bankruptcy and closing forever were already floundering, and others had owners already close to retirement age. For others, COVID-19 is a chance to make your business stronger than ever before and prepare for a recovery that catapults you to the next level.
Even though retail sales were down in April due to the lockdowns across most of the country, experts still expect Q3 to reveal overall growth. Estimates put this year’s market increase between 3.5% and 4.1% despite uncertainty. Are you ready if things take off and customers come flocking back to your establishment? What about if the rebound is slower than expected? How will you survive the slow trickle of economic rebound? There are eight things you can do to position your business for rejuvenation.
1. Brand Your Business
Figure out ways to keep your name in the spotlight. During COVID-19, you might want to offer free face masks to customers and employees with your logo. After, think about the types of things that people can use to rebuild their lives. For example, you can provide promotional reusable shopping bags.
2. Go Contactless
Now is an excellent time to review your procedures. Even after the threat of COVID-19 lessens, businesses will need to take precautions for a while. Some things you can do is ensure there is a barrier between the customer and salesperson, such as a plexiglass shield.
For restaurants, contactless options are vital. There are plenty of diseases beyond the coronavirus that people can get from unsanitary practices. Go out of your way to make sure everything is as safe and sanitized as possible.
3. Build Social Proof
People are more likely to trust a review than what a company says. Cultivate online relationships with customers to create a positive image. Make sure your website offers trust factors, such as testimonials and links to social media pages. Start a campaign where people can share a photo of themselves using your product.
4. Plan an Event
Once it’s safe in your area to resume meeting in groups, plan a blowout event to invite people back to your store. People will be excited to get out of their homes and gather with others, so this is an opportunity for free press and word-of-mouth buzz. Host an open house of sorts, allowing people to discover new products, munch on snacks, and talk to staff. Beyond your home turf, you can sponsor a community event, such as a festival or fair, and set up a booth. Another option is to attend a trade show and touch base with potential clients.
5. Sharpen Your UVP
What is your unique value proposition (UVP), and does it still make sense in a post-coronavirus world? If not, it might be time to revamp your message. Make sure your proposition resonates with your typical buyer.
Keep in mind that your target audience may change a bit from what it was before 2020. Look for ways to get the message out about who you are and what you stand for. How will consumers respond? People are more worried about safety and necessities than comfort or luxuries right now.
6. Refine Your Checkout Process
Make checking out as easy as possible. For an online store, this means reducing the number of steps needed to put something in the cart and complete the order. For physical shops, you’ll want to clearly mark where checkouts are and offer easy payment options where the person doesn’t have to touch you.
For example, they can slide their card through a reader and not have to touch the screen to complete the sale. Many businesses have already changed to this type of transaction, but others are using plastic covers for their card readers. If you use a plastic cover, replace it between every customer who uses it.
7. Secure Funding
Whether you’ve been closed during the pandemic or have reduced hours, you’ll need to take another look at your finances. You may have a cash flow problem at first. Look at ways to secure funding, such as small business loans or fundraising endeavors. Where can you cut costs and remain competitive and profitable? Once you get through the rest of Q2 and into Q3, money should start flowing again.
8. Prepare for Future Crisis
Even though we all hope COVID-19 will go away for good, it could circle back in the fall with a second wave of infections. Hopefully, that won’t happen, but it’s smart to prepare for a potential second crisis. Go through different scenarios and have a plan for how you’ll handle things, so you don’t have to shut down a second time completely.
If you begin turning a profit, set money aside for hard times. If the infection rate takes off again, how will you keep running while still protecting your customers and employees? Do some brainstorming with your team about services you can add to keep things running. Many businesses that never delivered products before have added the service as part of their restructuring strategy.
Growing Stronger After COVID-19
The first part of 2020 has been one of the most complex situations we’ve seen in at least fifty years. However, tough times also breed strength and character. If you focus on the points above, you should head into Q3 as a survivor and come out on the positive side of the equation.
This article was written by Lexie from Design Roast.