The Covid-19 pandemic has been disastrous for thousands of small businesses across the UK. With entrepreneurs having to close their shop doors and shut down their offices for a second lockdown, the future is looking uncertain, to say the least. However, there are some steps you can take to try and offset some losses and you can even find out how to grow your small business in the midst of the gloom. Keep reading to find out more.
Yes, it is true that face-to-face transactions are taking a massive hit. If you own a physical shop, rely on pitch meetings to bring in work, run in-person classes and so on, that is out of the question during the coronavirus lockdown. But there may still be opportunities to build your small business.
First, let’s start with a trick to help stem a leaky cash flow.
Offer Credit Instead of Refunds
Whether people have bought physical items from you or booked an experience that can’t now happen, the sad fact is that some customers will want refunds. That’s well within their rights, but it can seem scary to you when you have bills going out but nothing coming in.
One option is to offer customers credit as an alternative to refunds. If you give them the choice, you will find that many choose this option. It means the money stays in your business and the customer simply takes a different product that they are happy with or they come back when all this is over to take part in their experience. You don’t earn any more, but you keep that customer, you can make them happy and they may well provide you with return business in the future. You also keep hold of their money.
Some will still take the refund, but it is worth seeing if they are interested in taking credit instead.
Sell Gift Vouchers
Even if you can’t provide your regular goods or services, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell them. By selling gift vouchers, you earn the cash now with the promise to complete the transaction later. This brings money in at a time when you need it most.
There is a growing movement to support small business and buying gift vouchers serves a dual purpose for those who are part of it. Firstly, they help you to grow your small business in a crisis, and secondly, giving a voucher as a Christmas present allows the recipient to choose their own gift post-coronavirus, meaning they get something they will definitely like.
Organise an Online Shopping Event
2020 has been the year of the curated online shopping event. From online vintage fairs to craft marketplaces to luxury shopping experiences, the concept is basically the same. Sellers get together, post their goods on their socials between designated times using the same hashtag, and support each other by sharing other vendors’ posts. For the user following the tag, it is almost like wandering through a real marketplace and browsing the stalls.
Get together with a few other people in your niche or in a similar field and combine the power of your social media to promote the event in advance, build up excitement and then launch it. You need to agree on a hashtag or set of hashtags and it is often useful to have some consistency through the images everyone uses. Perhaps using a frame or template that anyone can easily edit. Canva is particularly good for this kind of task.
Improve Your Website
Many small businesses found themselves caught out by the initial lockdown. They were the businesses who didn’t have their online presence up to scratch. Being searchable is evermore important anyway, but especially so when you find yourself unable to trade from your physical location.
If you are wondering how to grow your small business while you wait for normality to return, tackling your website is the perfect start. The content should be Google-friendly, allowing anyone searching for what you have to offer to find you high up the rankings. Adding SEO-focused blogs offers a wider array of text for the search engines to analyse, and can position you as an authority in your sector.
You could build an eCommerce shop to allow your customers to purchase items 24 hours a day from the comfort of their self-isolation. In addition, make sure that the navigation of the website works smoothly and that it looks on point.
If you don’t have the skills for these tasks, you can outsource to a virtual assistant. We can look after the content for your website and blog, create your online shop and sort out your website design. The benefits of an optimised website in bringing in new custom are huge.
Concentrate on Social Media
If you can’t talk to your target audience in person, make sure you do so on social media. Lockdown is the time to truly overhaul your socials and build your small business presence.
Networks like Instagram and Twitter are great for interacting and engaging with current fans and enticing in new customers. People are scrolling on their phones more than ever, with far fewer other distractions to stop them. This is your opportunity to snare them in and direct them to your online shop.
You need to optimise your feed. For example, you might want to use an Instagram theme that looks stunning when people land on your profile. Add to that stunning visuals and text that hooks people in and compels them to click where you want them, and you can really take advantage of these powerful sites.
There is a big support local business campaign on social media, so get out there and capture them. If you need help, we can look after your socials and make them sing!
Now You Know How to Grow Your Small Business During Covid…
Follow these tips and you can really grow your small business during the Covid-19 lockdown. We are here if you need help and we would love to hear how you get on facing one of the biggest small business challenges of all time.
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