The global pandemic has affected small businesses across Australia with some closing their doors permanently. However, as lockdown restrictions finally ease, small businesses can now work on recovering from last year’s losses.
To help you out, here are six strategies small businesses should try to recover and grow this year.
Expand to E-commerce
Out of all the industries, e-commerce is the one that benefitted the most from the pandemic. In fact, reports say that Australia’s e-commerce growth was one of the highest last year globally during Q2 and Q3 of 2020. After all, most businesses turned to online platforms to promote and sell.
To recover and thrive this year, one of the small business trends for 2021 is expanding to e-commerce. Even if you don’t sell products, consider selling items that can help supplement your store. For example, if you own a salon, you can sell hair and beauty products online. You can also try selling e-books and reports if that aligns with the nature of your business.
The key is to sell products, information, or services online that your customers will appreciate. Maximise online platforms to reach new markets, promote your brand, and make more sales.
Try Delivery Services
With people forced to stay home during the pandemic, delivery and courier services have increased drastically. This year, online food delivery is expected to reach US$2,288 million, with a projected average revenue per user of US$242.65. It would be a waste to miss out on a good revenue stream.
Most restaurants and shops have already implemented their own delivery systems or relied on third-party delivery providers. Since then, restaurants have seen 20% more check sizes from online and delivery orders than dine-in orders.
Offering delivery services can offset the lost income from poor dine-in sales. Moreover, it could lessen overhead costs, such as rent or labour, should you decide to focus on deliveries or become a ghost restaurant. Some restaurants even use or employ an e-scooter delivery service because of the low-cost and efficient benefits of an e-scooter. Small businesses shouldn’t miss the opportunity to reach out to existing customers and encourage new people to try your products.
Make Yourself Searchable
Since most consumers and businesses have gone digital, small businesses need to create their digital footprint as well. Let customers find you by creating social media accounts and a website for your store.
With a social media account, you can promote your brand effectively and easily and reach thousands of potential customers online. In fact, 73% of marketers say that social media marketing has been effective for their business.
Social media videos, in particular, have proven to be successful for driving traffic and brand recognition to businesses. For example, Facebook Live videos have 10 times more engagement than non-live videos. These kinds of engagement put your business name out there for your potential customers to see.
Aside from social media, creating a website is also helpful for customers to learn more about your company, products, and services. It gives credibility to your brand, leading to brand trust and, eventually, more sales. Just make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, so you don’t risk losing potential customers from mobile phone users. Try new marketing strategies for small businesses and see how they can help your business to recover this 2021.
Prioritise Customer Service
This sounds obvious, but as more business owners worry about their operations and making sales, businesses could unconsciously put customer service in the back seat. Unfortunately, bad customer service can directly affect your sales. In fact, U.S. companies lose $62 billion per year due to poor customer service.
Small business owners should also keep in mind that customer service not only refers to client-facing representatives of your business but also other factors such as how you respond on your social media and how customers browse or buy your products online.
Prioritising customer service will not only retain current customers but also turn unhappy customers into loyal ones. In fact, a 5% increase in customer service could result in a 25-95% revenue. Moreover, good customer service leads to brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.
As Kaleigh Moore perfectly puts it, “Create memorable experiences for customers and go the extra mile. That effort still pays dividends.”
Enforce Flexible Employee Policies
The recent Remote Work Report by GitLab found that Australians would change jobs should they be forced to return to work in offices. Moreover, 84% now consider remote work as an advantage when seeking an employer.
Because of this, small businesses should learn to adopt flexible work arrangements to maintain a good relationship with employees, especially during uncertain times. As much as possible, allow employees to work remotely, and offer paid time off. Moreover, since remote work is different from office hours, allowing flexible hours can help employees juggle their duties at work and home.
Small business owners should consider the possibility of long-term remote or flexible work so that the business can start preparing for it and retain labour in the long run. After all, employers also benefit from remote working as it proved to increase productivity and efficiency, according to the GitLab report.
Take alternative funding opportunities
For small businesses to recover, business owners must have the necessary funds to have it running again. However, as most government loans and grants have ended, small business owners should look towards alternative funding opportunities.
These opportunities include microloans, emergency funds, and crowdfunding, among others. Business owners who have unique products can try crowdfunding to set up a store. However, crowdfunding could take a while. Microloans are one of the best options for small businesses as it provides small loans of less than $50,000 for any kind of purpose.
Use the funds as operational costs, expansion costs, or equipment costs. You can also use it to invest in digital marketing activities. For example, if you own an electric scooter shop, you can use a microloan to invest in promoting your online shop via online ads. Use the funds creatively and wisely to make the most of it.
Small businesses can get back on track
Try these small business tips for 2021, and see how your business can grow again. Business owners should not hesitate in trying new strategies, especially technologies. After all, it’s easier for small businesses to implement new models or strategies, unlike large businesses or corporations.
The ability of small businesses to make quick decisions will make it easy to roll out new strategies and see their effects on your business.