How traditional brick and mortar businesses can survive the next 6 months and beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a debilitating impact on businesses all over the world. Between March and September, nearly 98,000 businesses had to close their doors due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Other businesses are still barely holding on by a thread, even as vaccinations start to put an end to the crisis.
The economic fallout from the pandemic is likely to continue well into 2021. Savvy business owners are developing contingency plans for these issues to keep their companies afloat. They are always looking for ways to be successful, but it is even more important to follow them during this challenging time.
What steps can small businesses make to survive for the next few months? Some of the best measures they can take during COVID-19 are listed below.
Use digital marketing
You need to be as cost-effective as possible. Digital marketing is important for companies trying to thrive during the pandemic.
“There are many benefits of online marketing, but cost-effectiveness is certainly at the top of the list,” said Peter Kent of Peter Kent Consulting. “You should embrace PPC marketing, because the ROI is much higher than almost every offline marketing medium.”
Make sure that you understand and abide by any COVID restrictions
In recent weeks, a growing number of businesses have been fined for failing to follow many of the restrictions that have been in place. One of the biggest transgressions that they make is neglecting to require their employees or customers to wear masks. There are currently 38 states with mask mandates, which means that the vast majority of businesses in the United States will get fined or possibly lose their business licenses for neglecting to enforce wearing masks.
If you are already a cash strapped business, then you need to take mask mandates and other Covid policies very seriously. You don’t want to get slapped with a fine that you won’t be able to afford.
Find creative ways to encourage social distancing in case new restrictions are put in place
Social distancing has been heavily enforced since the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, as cases continue to rise in different parts of the country, governors are likely to take even stricter precautions in the coming weeks.
You should experiment with different social distancing strategies to adapt more easily. You will have an easier time promoting social distancing when spring comes around, since you will be able to have more customers outdoors.
In the winter, you might want to consider investing in outdoor heaters, so customers can be outside. You can also try to find more efficient ways to do curbside pickup and other services that don’t require customers to congregate in the store.
Keep your politics out of your business
The United States is one of the few countries where certain COVID-19 policies have become highly polarized. You may have different political opinions about the pandemic. However, it is important to avoid letting them creep into your business and shouting them at your customers.
One business in New England recently made a very vocal point about not wanting to have to require their employees or customers wear masks. They even went so far as to cancel a major event in response to a new mask mandate, which likely cost him a lot of money. He might think that this was a smart business move, because a lot of customers that shared his views posted their support on Facebook. However, he appears to have turned a lot more customers away by insulting them for having opposing views on the Covid restrictions and failing to create a safe environment. Overall, it seems that being vocal about his political views did more harm than good.
Whatever your opinions on the politics of COVID-19 policies are, you should avoid bringing them into your business. It is too polarizing and you will probably lose more customers than you gain.
Don’t be too proud to accept any relief from the government
You should be aware of all of the relief options that are available. Countless businesses are struggling to get by during the pandemic, so they are willing to take the relief that they need to survive. There is no shame in getting necessary support to keep your business from filing for bankruptcy.
Use social media to communicate changes with your customers
Local business activity has been very fluid during the entire pandemic. Some companies have closed their doors temporarily as cases continue to grow. Others have shut down entirely and will never open again.
Unfortunately, customers might not know which businesses are still open. They don’t want to drive out of their way to a business that might not even be around anymore.
You should use social media to keep in touch with your customers. Your customers will know that you are still in business if you are regularly posting on Facebook, Instagram and other important social media profiles. They will be a lot more likely to put in the effort to visit your company when they know you’re still active on social media.
Story by Judy lees