There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a terrible year, between the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn. And while some businesses have been left with no choice but to close as the crisis continues, others are doing much better in this changing economy. Here are 5 ways to pivot your business so you can survive the challenges that 2021 may bring.
#1: Don’t Assume that You Know Your Customer
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to customer behavior. That applies to all businesses, both large and small. Here are some ways that you can do that.
- Google My Business: Do you have a Google My Business page? If you do, that’s great. If not, go create one now as it’s essential for your local SEO rankings. One of the advantages of having such a presence on the Internet is that you can ask your customers for reviews. It’s a given that when someone looks at your services or products, they’ll trust customer reviews above everything else.
- Google Trends: This is a tool that every business should use to research industry trends. Take the topic “interior design,” for example. The screenshot below shows that searches for interior design in New York peaked just before the pandemic and only came back to near those levels at the end of September. While they’ve dipped a bit since then, the topic is still a popular one.
You can also filter the results to match your own needs, so if you want to see the search trends for the past 30 days, you can do that too.
You can drill down a bit more by looking at the Related Topics and Related Queries section. In this example, related topics include “house painter and decorator” and the related query is the commonly used longtail phrase, “interior designers near me,” all useful from an SEO perspective.
#2: Provide Great Customer Service
This has always been important but perhaps never more so than now. In addition to offering value, your follow-up customer service should also be great. This includes responding to questions quickly, personalizing your service, and checking to see how satisfied your customers are with their purchases.
#3: Offer More Than One Service or Product
During a time of change, it’s especially important to diversify.
Jamie Oliver started out as a chef, but his business has scaled significantly since then.
Not only does he publish cookbooks; he also does supermarket sponsorships, TV shows, guest appearances, as well as owning a chain of restaurants.
His books, however, form the anchor of his business.
His latest one, “7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Every Day of the Week,” is a great example of that as nearly every day, Oliver uses his social media presence to promote it.
Lesson #4: Focus More on Mobile Engagement
With in-store shopping experiences far and few between these days, consumers are spending more time – and buying – on their mobile devices. That means that your business website must be easily browsed on a phone or tablet. It must also quickly load, a key element in getting people to your site and keeping them there. If you’re unsure of your website’s speed, try using this handy Google tool.
#5: Be Ahead of Your Competitors
Doing business as usual will likely not work during the Covid era and beyond, which means that you and lots of other small business owners/solopreneurs will need to be ahead of your competitors. Think of the distillery companies that switched to producing hand sanitizer in the early days of the pandemic.
If you have a traditional brick and mortar business, you might want to transition to selling products online? Ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify can help you sell to a local or worldwide audience.
If you’re a trained nurse, for example, and you have an interest in midwifery but don’t want to expose yourself to the hospital setting right now, setting up a freelance midwifery business might be a profitable endeavor. This is especially opportunistic since home births are on the rise due to the pandemic.
Even as the pandemic continues to affect the world, there’s no need to give up hope. If your competitors aren’t thinking outside of the box, perhaps it’s time that you did instead.
How has your business done through the Covid-19 crisis? Have you activated any new strategies to help it grow? Let me know in the comments below.