It’s no secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every industry. While some businesses have been able to adapt and remain semi-operational, others have had to temporarily halt their operations.
It’s also very difficult for small businesses that have to figure out what the “new normal” means for them. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the future looks like for small businesses and what steps they need to take to adapt.
Social distancing that works
It’s very likely that maintaining a high standard of cleanliness and social distancing, to a reasonable extent, will remain the norm in a post-COVID world. Small businesses will have to continue taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their customers and team.
Here are some actionable tips to help you implement social distancing that works:
- Reduce max capacity. Fewer people in a room means less risk of catching the virus. Instead of 5 people working in one room, make it 3. And instead of 10 people coming in for a presentation, make it 5. Small businesses can benefit from encouraging their team to work from home whenever possible.
- Set up hand sanitizing stations. If you have people working from the office, make everyone feel safe by setting up hand sanitizing stations all over the building, especially near places where there’s more hand-to-hand interaction, such as the entrance of the building.
- Incorporate the use of digital tech. Add tools to your existing tech stack that reduce contact with other people as much as possible. For example, you can use a business payments solution for contactless payments, online conferencing tools for meetings, and webinars for training employees.
Hiring new staff
The ongoing pandemic has embedded the fear of contracting the coronavirus, triggering career anxiety among people.
In the post-COVID world, people will likely be reluctant to work in the traditional office setting, making it difficult for small businesses to hire new staff. On the flip side, others might find it difficult to work from home due to a poor internet connection or lack of child care options.
As a small business owner, the best thing you can do at this time is to support your existing team. It’s easier to retain your existing workforce than to hire employees and get them up to speed with your business operations.
That said if you do have to hire new people to join your team, consider conducting interviews remotely. Be flexible with your requirements and open to suggestions. In fact, due to the pandemic, organizations around the world have already shifted to a remote workforce.
Simplifying the way you manage customer relationships
Loyal customers play an important role in deciding the future of your business. Managing and maintaining customer relationships should be on top of the list for small businesses.
During times of crisis, people prefer to buy from local businesses as a sign of support to the whole community. In fact, 83% of people are willing to buy local products even if they cost a little bit more. 26% of consumers in the United States purchased from a small business in the last week just as a sign of support for the business.
Being a small business, you should prioritize maintaining customer relationships through these challenging times. Here are some tips to help manage customer relations better:
- Stay responsive on social media. You might be losing potential customers seeking support if you aren’t responsive on your business’ social media pages. Most people prefer to use social media platforms in their free time. It’s the most convenient way for them to approach you and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to build strong customer relationships.
- Provide proper customer service. Give your customers a proper platform for support and service. The easiest way to do this is by adding a customer service platform for your tech stack. Investing in a good customer service platform – preferably one that integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool – will go a long way.
Figuring out how customer needs have changed
People’s lives have changed a lot over the past year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. That also means that their needs have changed quite a bit too.
From preferring online shopping over in-store shopping for groceries, to buying takeout food instead of eating at a restaurant, people are adapting and changing their habits to the current situation.
Businesses must provide consumers with products and services during the pandemic but also after the pandemic is over. Figuring out how to deliver services that add value during the pandemic will enable you to stay in business even after the outbreak.
Re-evaluating your business model for post-COVID is going to be a worthwhile time investment. Ask about your customers’ experience during the pandemic and gain insight into how it’s affected their lives. This information will help you answer the main question: What can your business provide to its customers after the pandemic is over?
As a small business, you’ll need an online business payments solution like Ablii to send and request payments. It lets you customize your approval process and syncs with Quickbooks accounting software, eliminating manual data entry.
The future looks promising for small businesses that are willing to learn from the COVID-19 crisis, shift their operations, and adapt to the ‘new normal’. Digitally enhancing your day-to-day operations will be a necessary challenge but could also be turned into an opportunity.