COVID-19 in 2021
2020 resulted in many small businesses being closed due to government mandates and regulations. We have learned that running a successful business is not always in a business owner hands. There are hundreds of small businesses that were extremely successful before the mandated lockdowns and quarantines, but now they are still closed and owners are not sure what to do about it.
We have taken a lot of time to listen and learn what small business owners are saying and there is one common denominator, they are scared. Many owners are afraid that even if they were allowed to open at 100% full operations it may take years to recover from the financial losses over the past year. Some owners have taken loans to survive and others have violated the shut down in order to put food on their families tables. No matter the situation most people are not sure what to do next.
Getting a Plan in Place
Now that the initial shock of being forced to close or loss of revenue from current customers has passed, its time to make a real decision. Do you want to fight for your business or should you permanently close your doors. This may be a difficult choice to make and it should not be done quickly, but it does need to be done. If you are determined to keep your business open and have the fortitude to do battle with everything being thrown against you, you are a business warrior.
The first step to realize that this type of thing could happen again in the future and some of the things happening now may never change. So now its time to reinvent how you do business with unforeseen elements working against you. No matter what your product or service it is just as important to also have a strong internet presence as it is a brick and mortar storefront. Many businesses survived this pandemic by leaning on their internet presence since they were not allowed to open their physical store to the public.
If you already have an internet presence you will need to ask yourself if it was able to provide you with any type of income or did it simply slip off the map. With the high volume of people having to stay quarantined they spent hours on the internet to search for what they needed. This is when a strong presence is needed most, but the problem is many businesses didn’t take the time to build up their websites or social media accounts prior to the business shut down.
Now it’s time to lay out a plan of action. As a business owner you should thoroughly look over your website often and decide what is current and what may be obsolete. The website should have strong keywords to help customers find you and should be very easy to navigate. Another aspect of your site is to make sure it is mobile friendly; more people use their phones and tablets than they use a desktop computer.
The next step is to go over all of your social media accounts and make sure all the information is current and relevant. Little things, like one digit in a phone number being off, can be catastrophic. Be sure to respond to all of your reviews and inquiries to let customers know you care about their input. Finally make sure the content of the page is consistent with the message you are giving out on your official website. The social media platforms should be driving people to your website and not just be used as a stand alone tool to generate information.
Implementing your Plan of Attack
It is this phase where you will need to decide when you will deploy everything you have done. We recommend that a schedule is set up to check (and update) your website at least once per week. It is also a great tool to write at least two articles for your website to keep your customers engaged and it also helps your natural SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Articles can vary from do-it-yourself pieces to technological stories. Just make sure it is relevant to your website and the product or service you provide.
The next step is to schedule regular posting for your social media accounts. For Facebook we recommend one post per day and never more than two per day. Twitter posts should go out to keep people engaged, but stay away from spam type tweets. There are no real limits with how many tweets should be done per day or week. Instagram is another great way to keep customers engaged though photos and less writing. Try to keep Instagram postings to two or less each day as some people may stop following you.
We hope you have a lot of luck in 2021 and forward. We know that so many of you are hurting from this pandemic and we think about all of you often.
JLM Communications Can Help
We are here to help all small businesses that choose us. If you feel like you need our help please just call us. We do not charge people to ask us questions and we will always work hard to get the correct information. There are many different things that we do as a business that may be able to help yours so feel free to look around our website or contact us here.