The world is breathing a collective sigh of relief that the end of lockdown is in sight. The COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world, but the day when we can enjoy perusing the shops, going out for lunch, and meeting with friends and families is finally (if not slowly) approaching. So, as the country starts to re-open, we've put together a few tips for business owners, entrepreneurs, and side hustlers, as you consider re-opening your doors, whether in-person or virtually, amidst COVID-19.
Let's dive in!
1. Give Customers What They Want
COVID-19 took us by surprise - no one was ready for it! And as it's unprecedented, there's no concrete way of knowing what customers actually want at the moment. This is where sourcing, analyzing, and reacting to customer feedback is essential. This means being ready and willing to pivot your business strategy to accommodate the changing demands of your consumers.
For example, if you're a sit-down restaurant, perhaps customers now feel more comfortable using delivery services. Some diners will choose to stay away from public spaces even after COVID-19 is over. Yes, lockdown might have lifted, but for many, the fear remains, and as a business owner, it's your job to establish how that impacts your target demographic (if at all), and meet them where they're at.
Not only is listening and adjusting your strategy based on customer feedback great for your bottom line, but it's also a fantastic way of improving customer satisfaction. Now, more than ever, people want to voice their concerns. So, permit your audience to do exactly that by making them feel heard. Needless to say, this works wonders for building a stronger rapport with your audience and boosting customer engagement with your brand.
2. Move Operations Online and Provide a No-Contact Service
Since COVID-19 gripped the nation, we've seen a rise in online shopping: On average, people are spending between 10 to 30% more online. Even though the country is starting to reemerge from lockdown, it'll be a slow and painstaking process, which might pose a difficulty for your business. So, during this weird interim period, where possible, it's wise to move business operations online and provide a no-contact service.
- Offering a food delivery service where customers pay online and you leave food outside their door.
- Selling on digital marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy.
- Creating an eCommerce website and posting orders to customers
- Streaming your services
You get the idea.
3. Mind Your Finances
During times of uncertainty, it's even more important for business owners to practice fiscal discipline. So, here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Create a budget and stick to it. Budgets work wonders for highlighting where you’re spending too much (or too little). With that info at your disposal, you can then adjust your spending accordingly.
- Space out major expenses. Now is not the time to hurl yourself into unnecessary debt.
- During unpredictable times, frugality is vital. So, cut costs wherever you can.
- If you haven't already, create a cash reserve. You'll want this on-hand should any unexpected financial complications arise.
By heeding the above advice, you'll reduce the likelihood of going into debt or taking out a loan where you'll pay more in the long run due to the interest charged.