If COVID taught us anything, it’s that we need to be quick to make sound decisions, especially as a small business owner. Over the last 20 months during the pandemic, we’ve seen thousands of businesses close while others actually started from zero and are now flourishing. Regardless of where you’re at in your own journey, there’s always something to learn as a small business owner.
Technology is Important
Even if you own an online business, the importance of having technology may not have been crystal clear. It just could have been something you used daily and quite possibly took for granted. But once you were in lockdown, and even now, you may have a finer appreciation for all things tech. In addition to being the main hub of running a business, since a lot of physical locations went remote, technology is the way to conduct meetings, manage supply chain issues and even on board new clients.
Digital Marketing Works
Over the last 10 years or so, we’ve watched social media transform the way we do business. Using social media to advertise is now the norm, so without an omni channel marketing strategy, you might be missing out. Especially when you’re just starting out, time is your most valuable asset. Facebook posts, Instagram captions and Google Ads can transform your business literally overnight. Social media is also one of the best ways to bring awareness to your business for free. Posting on social media platforms is free, so not taking full advantage is foolish. When it comes to PPC and other forms of paid advertising, you also need a solid strategy. Getting your business off the ground costs money, so if you don’t really know how to run marketing campaigns, you could end up wasting a lot of money.
You Need a Financial Plan
Even with sufficient startup capital, it’s easy to overestimate how well your business will do, leaving you in the deficit. You need to have enough money to cover anything that might go wrong. There are a few ways to go about this. You can apply for a loan, set up crowdfunding or sell your life insurance policy to secure funds. If you’re not familiar with the process, you can review a guide that details everything you need to know about the process. It’s pretty cut and dry, however, it’s still a good idea to research prior to moving forward.
Working From Home is a Blessing
Being able to work from home is nothing short of a godsend. Even owners of brick-and-mortar locations who love the social interaction have better appreciation for the WFH culture. Being able to focus completely uninterrupted is more productive and actually gives you more time to get things done throughout the day.
Customer Service is King
Happy customers equate to two things: growth and higher profit margins. Unhappy customers lead to bad reviews, loss of revenue and the possibility of your business going under. Top notch customer service is what your customers remember the most, sometimes more than the product or service itself. When customer service is good, people want to spread the word and let others know about their experience. This is the best type of free marketing a business owner can hope for. On the other hand, poor customer service is also the fastest way for dissatisfied customers to go online and leave bad reviews. Make sure your customer service team, even if it’s only you, exceeds your customers’ expectations.
Communication is Invaluable
Communication, or lack thereof, can make or break any relationship. As a business owner who navigated the pandemic, you probably learned pretty quickly the value of a simple Facebook or Instagram post. Connecting with customers builds brand loyalty and trust. When consumers feel heard, they feel valued. It’s important to continue all the extra efforts you may have put into connecting with your customers even now. Since the situation is improving overall, you don’t want to drop the communication ball and go MIA. Your current customers and possibly new leads deserve the same level of attention. If finances permit, you can hire a virtual assistant to help out in this department.
If you were fortunate enough to make it through the pandemic unscathed, you’re definitely one of the lucky ones. Now, you need to continue the mindset of being prepared for anything as you look into the future. Hoping for the best while preparing for the worst has never been truer, so use this time to identify any pain points in your business. Find viable solutions that you can implement now and, in the future, as well. You also need to identify your strong points and create ways to reinforce those moving forward. It’s always better to plan for the worst-case scenario than bury your head in the sand.