Engage Connect and Grow: Small Business Survival

Here are some practical strategies that have helped businesses engage, connect, grow and become stronger as a result:

Reinvent Your Business to Survive

Many companies are switching over their operations to produce face masks, disinfectants, and other needed supplies. You don’t have to be a big corporation to make changes. In fact, the smaller and leaner your business already is, the faster you can shift gears and zoom back into action.

If you have a catering facility, for instance, consider selling and delivering family meals to consumers. If your hot dishes could be frozen and reheated, or frozen uncooked and then cooked by the customer, offer customers the option to buy several days’ meals that they can store at home and cook as needed.

Consider what your customers need and would buy from you and pivot your operations. If you are a retailer who is able to stay open or sell online, but can’t get inventory or supplies from your regular vendors, look for local merchants who might be able to help you meet your needs.

Start Selling Online

Are you selling your products and services online? If not, why not? It’s time to get your head out of the sand. Even when people buy in-person or on the basis of personal relationships, they are likely to research the products, company or consultant online before making a decision on what to buy and from whom to buy it. If you have a business, you need a website. The type of website, and what should be on it depends on what you sell.

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Expand Your Online Presence

  • If you are not already selling on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms, find out how to and get started now. Many stores are running out of things and if you have food products or other products and people on social media know you are local, they may buy from you. If you don’t know how to use social media to sell, look for free classes online and instructions on YouTube.
  • If you have a PayPal business account, send out emails with Buy Now buttons included. Add PayPal Buy Now buttons on your website. For a more robust online sales platform consider using WooCommerce with your WordPress site or setting up an online store on through an e-commerce provider such as Shopify or BigCommerce.

Free Social Media Graphics to Help Your Business

Free social media graphics to help your business connect with new and existing customers on social media.

Go Social

Social media is a great way to connect with existing clients and find potential clients to market to. Use your website and social media accounts to keep clients updated. If you can, now is a great time to invest in social media marketing. Investing now may attract more customers when you re-open. Think of ways to promote your work. If you are a creative professional, sharing your work on social media may help attract new buyers. If you haven’t previously focused on social media, now is a great time to start.

Throw a social media party just to have fun and get away from the stress/boredom or try out a conferencing app like Zoom where everyone can log in and talk and see each other. Do demos and point people to your website or, if the audience is local, tell them to call to place an order.

Be Mobile Friendly

An ever-growing percentage of business people and consumers are reachable electronically via computer, smartphone or tablet for a majority of the day. These people include everyone from teenagers to retirees. The Internet – thus their ability to search for vendors, products, and prices and be notified of deals (as well find the nearest restaurant or gas station) – is no longer limited to their desktop computer. It’s on their tablets and smartphones. You need to be accessible by the devices and methods the customers you want to reach prefer.

Get Creative

Finding creative ways to make money is nothing new for freelancers. The pandemic has created many new and unique opportunities. Schools everywhere have closed, leaving millions of children home looking for something to do. Is there a way you can offer an online class for kids stuck at home? Can you create something that will keep kids busy for a few hours? Is there a way that you can sell your service online? There are a ton of ways to grow your business online; you just need to find a way that’s right for you.


Start Pickup and Delivery Services

Even if you’re not in the restaurant business, consider offering pickup or delivery services. Customers might be willing to pick up items if you could provide a way for them to place an order in advance and then deliver their orders to them in their cars. Or, consider doing deliveries. If customers won’t come and get your merchandise, take it to them! This is a simple strategy that nearly any retailer can add with relatively little difficulty. Ask your insurance agent what you need to do if your employees are driving their own cars and delivering for your company.

Ramp Up Your Email Marketing

Hopefully, you already have a customer mailing list. If you don’t, start building an email list immediately! Use your list to communicate with your customers. Tell them what’s happening with your business. Give them tips on how to use what you sell. Tell them what products you have available. Include coupons, links to buy, and your phone number. If you run a gym, or a physical therapy facility, or other facility consumers can’t visit during the pandemic, give them tips for staying healthy and active until you reopen – and include a coupon for future use.

Collaborate with Other Small Businesses

“Think outside the box,” says Garbarino. “Maybe you and another business can go in together and figure solutions to some problems. Two heads are better than one. Maybe your chamber of commerce or networking group can help.”

Engage in local community

Small businesses are not just the heart of American economy. They are also the hearts of their communities. They know the people who live in the communities and they understand their needs.