In May 2021, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that 34% of small businesses are still closed because of the pandemic. The small-business sector has been one of the hardest hit during the health crisis. And it’s important to nurse the sector back to health since 99.9% of all businesses in the country are small businesses, employing 47.3% of the private workforce.
Experts state that for small businesses to survive, awareness and innovation are key. While no doubt these companies will have a future in a post-COVID world, they must take the right steps to thrive.
Common Traits of Businesses that Thrived
The businesses that remained open had to find novel ways to stay afloat. Here are the characteristics of the companies that survived the pandemic.
- According to Score.org, retailers that quickly adopted new regulatory procedures when the pandemic hit kept their doors open successfully. Those that implemented contact-free pickup and offered delivery options stayed in the game.
- Excellent Communication. Businesses that kept their doors open were transparent about their operations and communicated openly with their workers. These steps increased trust among employees and customers.
- Social Responsibility. Customers were more likely to support businesses that upheld their social responsibility. For instance, those that followed social distancing protocols and sanitizing procedures gave customers and employees peace of mind.
- Successful small businesses thought of new ways to enable cash flow even when their cities implemented quarantine measures.
The Three Drivers of Risk
To survive what the WEF calls a “volatile” recovery period, businesses must be aware of three risk drivers.
- Savvy small business owners should keep an eye on stimulus packages and how they are skewed to particular sectors. They would also focus on domestic policies that would affect supply chains.
- The pandemic has made companies surge forward in technology adoption. Nimble companies should continue automating their systems to accommodate new consumer behaviors.
- The health crisis has also put more pressure on businesses to improve their environmental and social practices. Now more than ever, customers scrutinize brands for their eco-practices. They also look at how companies care for their employees, as well as their initiatives on community-building.
Small Business Trends to Join Now
To be ahead of the curve, consider these business strategies:
Increased Social Media Marketing
2021 will see increased investment in social media marketing. Because more consumers now shop on their phones, small businesses would take advantage of social media to increase brand awareness and capture more customers.
Take note that 54% of social media users research products using social media platforms. In fact, if you add a “buy” button on your social media accounts, you increase the chances of purchase.
If you’re pouring effort into your social media pages, keep these trends in mind:
- Live streams will remain popular. During the pandemic, many brands used live streaming features on social media. People have gotten used to this type of interaction, so live streams will be effective from 2021 onwards.
- Ephemeral content offers strong engagement. Instagram Stories and Fleets engage hundreds of millions of users, so they’re a magnet for customers, too.
The past few years saw cryptocurrencies skyrocket in popularity, and recently, many new entities release ICO PRs to increase their value further. But despite its increasing adoption, many small businesses think that Bitcoin and Ethereum are reserved only for large corporations.
However, small businesses can also join the crypto craze by partnering with online payment processors.
- Crypto payments often have lower transaction fees, thanks to a lack of a central intermediary.
- Crypto payments also enable your business to keep up with customer preferences. A growing number of buyers now prefer crypto to cash, and this trend is expected to grow.
- Crypto payments also offer greater merchant protection. Because cryptocurrency is decentralized, it protects merchants from fraudulent chargebacks.
- Crypto payments could also lead to increased sales as small businesses could accommodate international buyers.
You can check the following platforms:
- CoinBase Commerce
OSHA Safety Precautions
The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) will likely adopt changes in response to the pandemic. Despite the crisis slowly abating in the US, COVID-19 has shown huge room for improvement in employee safety and well-being.
As such, businesses must monitor CDC guidelines so they know how to protect themselves, their employees, and customers. There are also state and local ordinances that must be followed to safeguard your stakeholders further.
The post-COVID world can be challenging, especially for small businesses. But if companies would exert effort into making their operations crisis- and future-proof, they will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.