10 tips for small businesses to thrive in a pandemic

Make your small business thrive.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways we never envisaged. The pandemic has brought the global economy down to its knees, with many industries crashing to a halt. Employees have lost their jobs, and businesses, both big and small are struggling to get by.

Without a doubt, this pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in every business.

The key thus, is to acknowledge the potential threats that the pandemic poses while exploring the opportunities and avenues you can adopt to help your business not only survive but thrive.

1. Bin your old business plans

Throw out yesterday’s playbook. The tactics that previous drove results may no longer be relevant. It’s time to bring change to your business strategies.

While some businesses have managed to retain their popularity and profit, most have lost out and are now faced with more challenges. Wherever possible, use this lull period to train staff to acquire additional skills, which could boost their efficiency and productivity. Move your customer relationships to virtual and fully automated platforms, where everyone can remain connected to each other.

  • If possible, use this lull period to train staff to acquire additional skills, which could boost their efficiency and productivity. 
  • Move your customer relationships to virtual and fully automated platforms, where everyone can remain connected to each other.

Editor’s note: Connecting with customers via email? Get an email address that matches your business name with Professional Email from GoDaddy. It will make you look professional — even if you’re working out of your bedroom.

2. Aim for the best: Prepare for the worst

Two people walking along Marina Bay in Singapore

While most businesses remain apprehensive, this is your chance to move ahead of the competition. While the impact and the duration of COVID-19 remains uncertain, its effects will certainly be far reaching.

Rather than succumbing to your fears, capitalize on your resources and time to help your business overcome this predicament.

As such, devise two plans:

  • A plan that assumes the best possible outcome for the next six months 
  • A plan that assumes the worst possible outcome

Such contingency planning may include, for example, preparing in advance for legal requirements in cases of layoffs or coping with shortages in supplies when lockdowns occur.

Plan for both, because in these uncertain times, there is no predicting what’s going to happen next.

Plan for both, because in these uncertain times, there is no predicting what’s going to happen next. This is often called business continuity planning — learn more here.

3. Renegotiate your rent

From the beginning of the pandemic, many entrepreneurs have been struggling to make rent payments for their businesses. If such a situation continues to persist, even the ones that didn’t expect to run out of money for rent eventually will. 

So the minute you think you might have issues making the rent, is the time to call on your landlord. Explain the dire situation you are in, and respectfully ask for flexibility. No landlord can certainly afford empty space at this point of time.

4. Be a Zoom star

Overhead view of man meeting on Zoom

Physical presentations and meetings are the exception in these precarious times. However, once Covid-19 is over, the world won’t ever be the same again. Virtual and digital platforms would have taken hold. So any business leader will need to excel at both in-person and virtual meetings, presentations, and conferences.

Entrepreneurs have to learn how to effectively pitch their product over video.

You need to know how to display your product and how to get people to look, feel, and taste it when you can’t really do it in person.

Always start with a powerful personal story to introduce your topic. Now more than ever, this is a time to build strong emotional connections with your audience.

Master the “chat” function

Screenshot of Zoom control bar

Invite the audience to use Zoom’s “chat” window to interact with you and leverage it throughout your presentation. This is the key to engaging your audience by understanding people’s expectations and what they think about the topic in real time.

So get comfortable with Zoom and video, and make virtual presentations your platform for telling, sharing and selling.

5. Save $$$ online

As a savvy business owner, you’ve probably been wondering how to keep your sales pipeline flowing in such times. 

The answer lies in shifting as many services, sales, and operations into the digital sphere as possible.

 Take a look at where your business is currently spending most of your money and try to find the unnecessary expenses. Perhaps, this is the perfect chance for you to gear up your efficiency by reducing the rate at which you spend money in excess of business income.

Switch to work from home longer-term 

Most companies are still following stay-at-home orders at the moment, with many employees tuning in remotely to keep operations going. Instead of cutting any salaries or laying off employees, consider making this move to remote work permanent and cutting down on office space.

The days of expecting your business to operate all in one space are over, and the sooner you can accept this, and lean into the benefits of change, the more aggressive your recovery can become.  

Today, technology provides everything digitally. From financial transactions to delivery services. Try to downsize everything that you don’t need. Send people home and lower the rent for the offices.

Adapt your order fulfillment process.

Free delivery painted on a shop window

Employ some delivery personnel and work by getting orders through the web. This is going to cut your expenses tremendously. You might see more profits by working like this, and it will definitely keep your head above water during such troubled times.

As you think of going digital, remember that GoDaddy is your one-stop provider to go to for doing business online. GoDaddy offers:

From start to finish, GoDaddy puts all you need to do business online at your fingertips.

Related: How to establish your brand on social media 

6. Look for government aid

Governments around the world have been pouring in aid for the businesses struggling through this crisis. This assistance however, may not be open to businesses in all industries.

Whatever the offerings in your country, do try to apply for some of these grants.

Lots of companies are reinvesting these funds into something that may benefit their business in the future. If you have no idea what to do with the funds, start by investing it in digital marketing.

Check out these sources for government funding in these countries:

7. The need for speed

Nowadays, the situation can change by the day or even by the hour. Analysis paralysis can easily set in during such times. To adapt, businesses thus must be able to quickly:

  • Process available information
  • Rapidly determine what matters most
  • Make decisions with confidence

This organizational agility that enables a business to quickly respond to changing market conditions encompasses two major dimensions: speed and stability. 

Agility is key.

With regards to the former, a business needs to be nimble and responsive in keeping with the changing times. This includes being innovative and dynamic in its thinking and actions. 

A stable core.

Yet, to ensure sustained success and the ability to scale up operations, businesses also need a set of core elements. This component of stability then becomes the foundation of growth.

While organizational agility was once desirable, it has now become central to survival and the prerequisite to business success.

8. Upskill at home

No one should ever stop learning. Even if you have been a successful in business, you should never stop reading books and improving your skills through courses. While home:

  • Find valuable literature in areas that you’re interested in
  • Spend some time learning new things or improving your existing skills

Mug next to an open laptop and notepad

If you’re really good at sales, get some books on financing, and see how you can make the best of the tax system in your country. This is just an example, of course. You might like app development or social media marketing. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll spend your time and make the best out of it for your business.

9. Cater to the captive crowd

Governments almost everywhere around the world, have imposed lockdowns on their citizens. While at home, people had nothing to do but find entertainment indoors and order supplies via the web.

Work, buy food, socialize — people had to continue living their lives as before. So they started massively using social networks, communication apps and search engines to find what they need to order and get at their doorstep.

This shift is still giving businesses the chance to reach new customers or retain the existing one via the web. Digitize your business to capture as many customers as possible.

10. Create the new normal

Many businesses are still looking to the day when things revert to pre-Covid days. While this is an understandable hope, the better thought to focus on is how to create a new normal that you can thrive in. 

So, how can you help define the New Normal? 

If you’re in the clothing business, consider shifting into making fashion masks that complement your outfits. If you work in the fitness world, think about utilizing online courses and classes, and create an online environment that can still provide the framework people need to get and stay fit.

Moving your business online might seem like a big challenge, but it’s gone from being a good idea to something you simply have to do.

In these times, imagination is the critical factor in seizing and creating a New Normal and thereby exploring new opportunities and avenues for growth. With imagination we can do better than merely adapting to a new environment – we can thrive by shaping it!

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the Covid crisis is the worst thing that has happened to the world in decades. We had wars, global warming, natural disasters and other epidemics, but nothing quite like this.

Everyone tries to struggle to get out of it intact. Why not take this time to reinvent our businesses to adapt and turn the situation around? Use these tips to see your business flourish once again.

Kenneth Ang
Kenneth Ang
Kenneth Ang is a digital strategist, UX researcher as well as an award-winning copywriter and photographer. He helps individuals and agencies in digital transformation by improving their customers’ user experience, bringing them traffic, sales and revenue growth. He blogs about UX, content marketing and copywriting for GoDaddy. Connect with him on LinkedIn.