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Many businesses struggle to stay afloat as the world adjusts to a newer social climate caused by the ongoing public health crisis. While the situation seems bleak for many industries, there are many ways to ensure your small business stays pandemic-proof.
The current quarantine restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have limited business operations. Businesses in the non-essential sector, such as live entertainment, hospitality, and other industries that depend on social interactions, are hit the hardest, making revenue increasingly difficult as days pass. In worst-case scenarios, these businesses eventually suffer the effects of the new normal, folding and causing many people to lose employment.
In the face of a pandemic, is it possible to survive and, even more so, grow?
With determination and some innovation, you can keep your business afloat and possibly thrive, despite the different social climates. To help you get started, there are many different ways for small businesses to continue expanding despite the challenging times.
Strategies for Small Business Growth
Keep employees who can multitask
Having versatile employees means they accomplish more than one task, especially tasks beyond their skills. While this is not the best scenario, with the coronavirus lockdown, it is wise to invest in versatile and knowledgeable manpower. Virtual assistants, for instance, can perform many jobs ranging from administrative to knowledge and skill-specific tasks.
Capitalize on your sales team
Even though the demand to buy is low, it does not mean the interest to purchase is. This is why your sales team needs to come in stronger. Employ a proactive sales team who can help introduce your products and services to the market. Having a solid and efficient sales team will help you increase revenue and build a good brand reputation, long-term customer relationships, and a positive ROI.
Strengthen your online presence
With people being restricted to their homes, people are spending time in their homes more than ever. This means consumer spending is up while the cost of advertising is low. While this is temporary, consumers will still feel the pinch of the recession after the 3rd month.
Whether operating a traditional business or in e-commerce, investing in your online presence is one of the best ways to reach your target market.
How is this possible?
As of January 2020, there were around 4.54 billion active internet users worldwide. With good online visibility, you can likely increase the number of people familiar with your brand. The question is, how are you going to attract your target audience?
There are many ways to begin amping up your online presence, such as:
- Build a website
- Create valuable and relevant content
- Optimize your target keywords so you can rank higher on search results (this way, more people can see your website)
- Try pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Market your products and services on social media
- Connect and build relationships with your customers through email marketing
- Create videos of your products and services, then upload them on the right channel
Now that a solid, timely online presence delivers more than you think, ensuring your brand has the social and online impact guarantees more exposure and revenue. You can hire your online marketing team or outsource this service from a reliable company.
Look for ways to penetrate the market
A market penetration strategy allows you to have higher market shares. It is possible by trying to surpass the products and benefits your competitors offer. With a pandemic on hand, this is easier said than done. But let’s stick to the basics. Here are some strategies you can use to penetrate the market:
- Develop effective pricing strategies (e.g., discounts)
- Improve your after-sales customer support
- Increase your distribution channels
- Enhance the quality of your products
- Implement price adjustments
- Conduct promotional activities
- Increase customer usage
- Drive out competitors
- Put more importance in entry-level products/services
Give priority to your branding
Branding creates trust and improves recognition among your target market. Moreover, it is essential in maintaining your business since it encourages word-of-mouth marketing. If your product has a distinct characteristic that sets you apart from your competitors, it is easier for your customers to remember and find you if they want to purchase it again.
Consider market expansion
Practice this tip with caution. This strategy is about expanding your potential market by offering your existing products or services to new users. It can also increase your sales by introducing new uses for your product. Market expansion can be done within your geographical region or outside it.
The most important consideration when choosing this strategy is competition. It is easier to introduce your products to a market with low competition. However, you still need to determine whether the market is ready for your product. As long as they can find your product useful and within their means, there’s a high chance of getting a positive ROI.
Because you’re targeting new customers, this strategy can give you an edge over other businesses.
If you’re planning to employ this strategy in growing your business, these are some pointers you need to remember:
- Have a thorough research of your target market
- There’s a possibility to modify an existing product to cater to the new market
- Find out the other uses of your product
- Develop a good marketing campaign
- Look for new distribution channels
Diversify your products
Once you’ve established your products and customer base, it is time to implement the diversification strategy.
This strategy entails the development of your company by adding new products or targeting new markets to your core business.
Diversification is a good way to move forward from the plateau phase of your business growth.
It has four types:
- Horizontal diversification – developing new products that appeal to the customer base of one of your products. For example, a bag manufacturer adding bag accessories to its product line.
- Vertical diversification – performing a business operation or acquiring a company within the same production vertical. It aims to strengthen a company’s supply chain, open new distribution channels, and reduce production costs. It is subdivided into two categories: backward integration and forward integration. Backward integration happens when a company acquires its supplier. Meanwhile, forward integration occurs when a business takes control of the post-production process.
- Concentric diversification – introducing new products that complement or closely related to your main product. It aims to maximize the technologies and marketing system you are currently using. For example, a milk tea shop adding pastries and snacks to its menu.
- Conglomerate diversification – entering a new market or launching new products that are entirely different from your current product line.
Segment your market
It is typical for small business owners to target anyone when marketing a product. This misconception often comes from the belief, “everyone can use my product so why do I need to limit my marketing efforts to only a few groups of people?” While there is a truth to this statement, it limits your ability to create targeted messages for your potential buyers.
Marketing and selling your products to different groups of people requires a unique approach. Through this, you can determine your high ROI customers and the least potential buyers. Focus on the ones who can bring in the most revenue to your company so your efforts won’t go to waste.
Use alternative channels
It is not enough to have a physical store. To extend your market reach, you must open alternative stores where your customers can reach you easily. Going online is one way of doing so. You can either have your website or have your products listed in e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Alibaba, or Shopify. You can also offer membership or subscription programs to attract new consumers and give the existing ones more reasons to stay with your business.
If your business has gone online before, it’s time to look for other channels. There are plenty of choices like email marketing, social media, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, or just plain old pay-per-click advertising in search engines like Google, Bing, and Youtube.
Leverage on partnerships
Partnerships are not only limited to big companies; even small businesses can benefit from this business activity.
Especially in the face of a pandemic, engaging in partnerships can bring in more income to your business. Both of you can use each other’s strengths to achieve your goal. For instance, if you are good at branding, you can teach it to your partner/s. If your partner/s benefit from it, you can also get what is due to your business.
Find one or more partners who can bring in expertise or help you reduce costs. Though you are entrusting some of your functions such as sales, customer service, human resources, or technology development, it doesn’t mean you won’t have control over those areas anymore. Instead, it will help you increase your experience and expertise as a small business. You can also focus more on your expertise.
Growth Takes Time, But it Should Cost Much
Growth doesn’t happen by chance; it’s earned. While determination and hard work can lay the ground for you, you will still need tools to achieve the goals you want to reap. It is not an overnight success either. Even the big corporations you look up to start from small beginnings.
Along the way, you will make mistakes alongside every right decision. Instead of rushing growth, you should focus on the lessons you can learn from your steps. Invest in your people. Be willing to take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail and stand up again. The seed to the success you’ve been craving is in your hands.
Magellan Solutions offers efficient, cost-effective digital marketing services that are guaranteed to continue expanding your business in any crisis. With decades of expert experience in the industry, we provide top-quality digital marketing to small and medium-sized enterprises that bring results.
Allow us to show you the possibilities. Sign up for a free consultation below.
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