It’s been a few months now since the COVID-19 pandemic started making its impact felt in India, causing a wide array of adjustment and lifestyle changes across geographies and social strata.
From working remotely and practising social distancing, to wearing masks and preparing for an uncertain future, the novel coronavirus has hit the world with challenges nobody was prepared for.
Running a sustainable business has emerged as one of the bigger challenges that this crisis has brought to the forefront. It has now become crucial for businesses to adapt to the current situation, and recharge their foundations to help survive in these challenging times.
Here are a few tips for small business owners to consider to help battle the tide of uncertainty today.
Inform and stay informed
Every business needs to keep their customers and employees up to date and be transparent with them on all the changes in operations and services during this pandemic. It is equally important for the business to be abreast of all the relevant updates from reliable health sources, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and credible local government bodies, and to be aware of the restrictions and guidelines pertaining to the business and product offerings.
Log in to the virtual world
Given the current state of mandated limited physical presence, to help keep your business operational, it may be necessary to consider bringing your business online. Businesses that were traditionally reliant on physical spaces and people, can now continue to stay active by leveraging digital channels to deliver their products and services. Depending on the nature of the business, one can find ways to adapt to what the business has to offer to internet-friendly services.
In addition to maintaining a professional business website, business owners should also consider building and updating the company’s social media pages to help stay connected with customers during such bleak times.
Flexible and remote workstyle
To help protect your employees, you may buy down to the already made arrangements to work from home. Most companies have instated flexible work-from-home policies in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring that employees have access to the required data and servers to do their jobs.
You may also want to consider using an offsite server host to manage your company's information and enterprise software to help you have people working together from anywhere, at any time. Make sure the business has security measures in place to help protect the business and customer data, as well as resources.
Sustain your customers
To keep your business surviving, it is necessary to sustain your customer base. Regardless of the size of the business, maintaining customer’s trust is absolutely critical. Apart from being transparent and maintaining communication on changes affecting the business, it is also important to establish trust when it comes to the safety and privacy of data.
As more businesses will now be operating and interacting with customers online, trust can play an even more integral role – as protecting digital data has become more critical to the success of a business.
To help gain customer’s loyalty, a business might also consider offering various rewards and benefits, based on the type of business. Rewards and loyalty programmes can be a cost-effective way to further nurture customer relationships, and provide a competitive edge over other players in the market.
Motivating the workforce
Retaining employees, as well as employees, during such difficult times is highly important. Many employees may be dealing with anxiety and depression as they try to balance new challenges both at work as well as at home. It is also very important to pay attention to employee concerns, which might help them to be more productive and stay positive at work.
Listening to their concerns and addressing their critical needs will help in creating a sense of belongingness for the employees. Rewarding the good work and showing employees that their work is meaningful will also help reinforce the employees’ trust towards the organisation, and motivate them to put their best performance amid the crisis.
In the end…
It might be challenging to conduct business customarily right now, but it’s important to not neglect your brand, or connecting with your customers in such crucial times. Taking the right measures at present, can help businesses emerge from this crisis, and potentially achieve greater results in the long run as well.
Edited by Suman Singh
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)