With the arrival of 2021, it brings a refreshing spirit to help Americans grow and change for the better.
Of course, with COVID-19 in place last year, no one could have seen how individuals and small business owners could have navigated those unpredictable waters. But with last year gone, entrepreneurs can build on steps their peers just started taking or are now planning to apply to fuel growth this year. Those efforts include revamping business models, offering goods and services that meet customers’ demands, and staying resilient to flourish despite the ongoing pandemic.
Yet, one thing appears to remain certain: The way customers deal with businesses and how those firms interact with customers will most likely be different than in previous years. So here are some resolutions small business owners may do well to consider and implement this time.
1. Stay focused on making sure customers feel safe and healthy
Many people are still justifiably worried about leaving home as the pandemic keeps surges. Apply actions that put the safety of customers and employees first. That may look like implementing contactless payment processes, boosting sanitation protocols, requiring face coverings, and enforcing safe distancing.
A new study by Washington University revealed that consumer spending rose an average of 5% in counties requiring masks. The largest gains were in nonessential businesses like restaurants and bars. Some 62% of consumers swear they would stop shopping at a retailer they didn’t believe was taking their health and safety seriously, an Ipsos survey showed. So steps used to show your compassion for consumer safety can pay nice dividends.
2. Be open-minded to change and new concepts
As indicated earlier, many small businesses that pivoted last year are now using those concepts this year. Many have been forced to courtesy of the pandemic economy. Be aware of new insights you can pick up from great business leaders talking about new strategies they are applying, read blogs and online materials and tune into podcasts. Do not miss tips that could be pivotal for your firm.
3. Launch or upgrade your website if you have not already done so
This might sound like a no-brainer, but amazingly, this is among the most popular resolutions for this year. That perhaps because websites along with social media are vital ways small businesses stay in touch with customers. A strong website can offer many perks, including boost your online and offline exposure and increase customer engagement. Upgrade your website to be user compatible with other mobile devices so customers can place orders. Some customers use text message alerts to keep them updated about your business. Perhaps consider adding PayPal or Venmo payment options to begin selling items quickly. An online presence can potentially bring you unexpected business.
4. Gain new customers with social media marketing
This media channel could be very lucrative, allowing you to potentially reach many new people you have not connected with before. Click here to view some benefits of social media marketing.
5. Create a referral program
Word of mouth has long been and remains one of the best ways to boost sales and attract customers without breaking the bank to do so. Word of mouth promotion is the most trusted of all forms of marketing, with 86% of customers believing in those type of reviews and recommendations. Visit here to get some tips on how to set up such a program to help grow your business.
6. Remain in touch with customers, especially faithful ones
Now with local laws changing almost daily because of the pandemic, it is imperative to keep customers aware of what your business is doing operationally and safety-wise. Let customers know by social media or other means if you are doing such things as requiring reservations, offering only delivery or curbside service, and changing hours to cope with local laws or staffing issues. Do not be afraid to let customers know of what precautions or adjustments you are taking to help them feel safer
7. Hook up with a support network
As an entrepreneur, you probably know better than most running a business is not a cakewalk. So, don’t do it solely by linking with support networks to assist you. Another reason to consider this option is COVID-19 and social distancing mandates have erased many networking, speaking, and business events. Several groups, including SCORE, provide virtual and in-person mentorships. Professional business owners can also network with peers via such channels as Facebook Groups or Mastermind Groups. For instance, this site offers a roster of Mastermind Groups. Do not forget to check local Chamber of Commerce, business, or trade groups to see if they have virtual offerings you can benefit from.