It will take years to understand the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic fully, but previous recessions have taught us that small businesses suffer the most severe effects, as they are less likely to have the reserves, resources, and capacity to shut down for long periods. Dealing with the disruptions, new rules, and erratic customer habits while also working out a strategy to stay afloat can be overwhelming. Indeed, according to a recent small business survey, there are five key challenges small businesses are facing right now due the pandemic. Here’s what they are and some solutions to help your business navigate them.
1. Economic Uncertainty
While surviving the onset of the pandemic was the first stage for small businesses, keeping cash flow and making ends meet has become harder and harder. According to the new survey, about 64% of small businesses rate it a somewhat or much higher priority now than it was before COVID-19. What's the best defense in times of uncertainty? A strong offense. Thinking quickly and creatively is key. Creating new revenue streams like adding Online Ordering or setting up an e-commerce website, and creating subscription packages using a Virtual Terminal are solutions that will work not only during the pandemic but beyond.
2. Retaining Customers
Getting new customers can be more complicated than retaining current ones, so it's no surprise that most businesses are focusing their efforts on the latter to maintain cash flow. While offering your products or services online helps, communication is more important than ever. A digital Loyalty program and intuitive Marketing software allow you to keep in touch and offer unique rewards or deals to your most loyal customers. Also, be sure to communicate business changes, including hours of operations and restrictions, to keep customers informed and safe.
3. Managing Costs
While it might seem that you can't control all aspects of your business right now, managing costs is something you can control. Cutting costs to reduce risk helps preserve profitability. Software to help automated Appointments and Reservations, or even a new POS, are smart solutions that help optimize operations and reduce labor costs. Also, the enhanced efficiency of POS software helps you to boost long-term revenue while having a more efficient checkout process.
4. Finding New Customers
Attracting new customers requires finding opportunities in new places. Having different and new revenue streams is a great start, but how will you reach new customers when they don't know how to find you? A Review management software allows you to climb higher in searches and help you attract more customers thanks to the genuine experiences that your current customers share. Complementing this with Marketing software adds credibility and opens a channel for conversations and more opportunities for the new customers to find you.
5. Managing Cash Flow
Managing cash flow during the pandemic is particularly challenging because sales have decreased but expenses have not. Look to take advantage of helpful new services or new technologies that some companies offer in response to the pandemic. Partnering with a reputable company for payments like SpotOn helps bolster cash flow with next-day funding while making sure you are not paying junk fees or forced into a long contract, with best-in-class technology and software.