The coronavirus pandemic need not spell the end of your business, but maintaining and growing it can be more challenging.
To help you thrive in these uncertain times, here are four smart moves:
1. Go Digital
These days, e-commerce is not a matter of why but when. According to eMarketer, US e-commerce alone will soar by 18% this year due to the pandemic. Compare that to barely 3% projected growth in February. This growth is possible even if the total US retail sales for the year will shrink by an unfortunate 10.5%.
Going digital, though, isn’t as simple as opening an account in Shopify or running a website on Wix or WordPress. It even goes beyond setting up a business page on Facebook or Instagram.
How can you succeed in e-commerce? Here are some tips:
- Outsource SEO, social media, and other digital marketing strategies. Many global agencies can run different campaigns at the same time. They can also offer scalable packages or services. Meanwhile, outsourcing spares you from having to learn the nitty-gritty of online marketing. You let the experts handle it.
- Pair your e-commerce site with contactless payments. Accept credit cards and wire transfers. Use international payment processors like Alipay, which is popular in Asia, particularly China.
2. Maximize Grants and Financial Assistance
Usually, when businesses face a financial crisis, they curtail spending. Not funding anything at all, though, might do more harm than good. It prevents the company from being productive and making the most of its available resources. In the meantime, debts don’t know rest.
Many states currently offer grants other kinds of financial assistance, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Some work with the Small Business Administration (SBA), which means you can get them through accredited lenders.
Although several are loans, they usually bear low interest rates and offer long payment terms. You can use this time to boost your cash flow, increase your revenue, or pivot some of your products or services without having to worry about expensive repayments.
Other programs cover rent, employee wages, and purchase of equipment and supplies. All these will help you get back on track more quickly.
3. Sell Non-Moving Assets
Assets can be deceiving. Although they can bolster balance sheets and company positions, they can also drain money, especially if they’re non-moving or non-performing. Take, for example, those products that remain unsold after three years or office supplies that are rarely used.
The best step for you is to dispose of them through selling. Use the cash to:
- Pay off existing debts
- Invest in better-performing assets
- Become your reserves
4. Reach Out to Existing and Lost Customers
Although a company’s allocation for marketing varies, it falls somewhere between 5% and 10% of the total revenue. It still converts to thousands of dollars each year. If you want to save some cash, you can focus your energy on your existing and lost customers.
These people are valuable for many reasons:
- They’re already in the deeper stages of the sales funnel. They don’t need a lot of convincing and marketing to buy something from you.
- They are the most receptive to cross-selling and upgrading.
- They can help you advertise the products and services for free.
How do you nurture them, especially at this time? Some ideas include:
- Understand what makes them stay or what made them leave. Use the information to improve your services or products.
- Create a loyalty program they cannot resist.
With the right support, persistence, and maximization of the available resources, your business will eventually pull through.