As 2020 dawned, everything seemed like business as usual. Then the coronavirus swept across the globe, shutting down millions of businesses — tens of thousands of them for good. Then, just as many entrepreneurs were beginning to pick themselves up from the blow of widespread global quarantines, civil unrest broke out across the United States, further hobbling one of the world’s most powerful economies.
If you’re a business owner trying to survive these turbulent times, you may feel that you simply want to throw in the towel. However, before you bow out, it’s worth making an effort to adapt to the “new normal.”
Here are some suggestions for ways to adjust your expectations, goals, and methods, — especially in the all-important area of sales — in a post-COVID-19 world.
Use the Down Time to Prepare
Often it’s nothing more than a “cup half full” mentality that can help to turn a situation around. Rather than looking at quarantine or shelter-in-place orders as catastrophes, simply search for ways to use this downtime to upgrade, advance, and generally improve your business for the future.
This is especially poignant for those who have received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that have eased some of the financial pressures inflicted by the response to the virus. With unexpected cash bolstering your operation for the moment, draw on some of that fiery entrepreneurial spirit to look for ways to improve your company from within as you wait for things to change without. Some suggestions that come to mind include:
- Professional development: Both you and your staff can use this time to learn about industry changes or develop any beneficial in-demand skills or talents that you might otherwise not have the time for.
- Improve infrastructure: You can use this time to streamline, improve, or overhaul internal company policies that may be outdated.
- Any other neglected minutiae: Whether it’s finally building a company website (more on that further down) or simply cleaning out your desk, the current situation provides the perfect excuse to deal with the nitty-gritty details within your business.
If you use the downtime to address the oft-ignored details, you’ll be ready and raring to go once things open back up again.
Build a Technologically Sound Foundation
Perhaps the greatest way that you can use the current crisis to your advantage is by “future-proofing” your company against any similar events down the road. You can do this most effectively by steering into technological solutions, such as:
- Building a virtual store to sell your goods: Even brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from a virtual store, as it facilitates things like local online exposure and curbside pickup.
- Creating a company blog: This bolsters your digital marketing, establishes you as an authority in your industry, and can help with lead generation.
- Setting up digital marketing channels: There are many effective online marketing channels, such as email, search engine marketing, and social media.
- Shifting your staff to remote work: If you can keep your staff, especially your sales team, effectively working from home, it can do wonders in keeping your sales up.
If you can create a sound technological foundation for your company, you’ll be able to lean on your virtual, remote-based operations in a moment’s notice without the need to shut down and suffer from lost sales.
Look for Ways to Innovate
While a solid technological foundation is a good step, if you want to truly improve your sales, you’re going to want to take the concept to the next level. Once you have your website, remote work situation, and digital marketing established, don’t stop there. Look for ways to innovate and upgrade your existing setup. For instance, you can:
- Begin holding virtual events: Whether it’s a Facebook live plug, a prerecorded training, or a full-blown online convention, a virtual event can be extremely beneficial to your bottom line.
- Create an app: While a mobile-friendly website is essential, mobile marketing is extremely popular and certainly here to stay — which makes creating a mobile app a savvy move for many businesses looking to stay in touch with their customers.
- Adapt Speech-to-text into your sales process: Speech-to-text technology is rapidly improving, and integrating voice commerce into your business operations could give you a significant edge over the competition.
Constantly innovating and improving are key factors that help you survive and thrive, no matter what the circumstances. If you can maintain a growth mindset, you’ll be able to remain ahead of your competitors, which is the perfect place to boost your sales.
Boosting Sales in a Crisis
There’s no doubt that both COVID-19 and the current civil unrest have put enormous pressure on business owners, especially in the United States. However, rather than tapping out, entrepreneurs should stay positive, assess their situation, and actively make plans to improve their revenue both now and in the future.
Business owners can use the current crises to improve internal operations, shift towards cutting-edge tech, and foster a mindset centered on growth and adaptation. If they can do so, they significantly increase the odds that they’ll be able to survive and thrive no matter what trials and tribulations they may face over time.
Author: Adrian Johansen