While large business houses have a disaster management protocol and team in place proving that companies that have been around for longer have an idea of how to navigate through a downturn in their industry or market.
The same for a small business, can be a challenging task. Given that small businesses are usually single-person entities or local enterprises. Knowing the exact protocol becomes all the more important in order to respond during and after the crisis situation.
Just like the 2007-08 Global Recession, the current CoronaVirus threatens to bring another global financial downturn. In this article MarketinGrow provides a tool kit that small businesses can apply during crisis management and after.
The Crisis Tool Kit.
A crisis Tool kit is nothing but a list of tasks and approaches that a business can lay down to navigate through a natural or unnatural disaster that may have caused a loss in their business.
- Research and Asses the situation
Know about your customers and your local market, how will the situation adversely affect them and the impact it may have on your business. Research on how long will the impact lasts as per government and expert opinion. This gives you an idea about planning the short term and long-term plans for your business accordingly.
- Look for government subsidies and help
In most situations, banks and governments offer support to small businesses by offering subsidies and lower interest rates in a time of crisis provided that the crisis has affected a large number of small businesses.
- Outline a crisis management plan
Once you have an idea about the financial impact of the situation on your business, outline a protocol your business can effectively follow-
- Educate stakeholders and customers- during a large-scale crisis panic spreads easily, use your platform to assures and contact partners, leads and customers to educate them on the crisis and ways to manage it. Since the crisis would have affected a larger group of people staying in touch with your customers and partners assuring them that the business has a plan of action ready and in place helps in building trust in your brand.
- Show empathy – if the situation has affected a larger group of people or an entire community reach out and drop a mail or post share and support the community and tell them what your business is doing in the given situation. Whether it is discounted prices to help consumers or community outreach programs let your customers know you care.
- Get the core team together- for United efforts meet with departmental managers or heads to make sure the core team of the business is on one page this includes the HR, Finance, Marketing and Administration.
Adapt to the Situation and Improvise
If you are a small business, chances are the effect of the crisis can have a severe impact on your business. Staying positive and adapting to the situation is one of the first things that will help your business get through the situation. For example, in the current situation where most businesses are shut and customers are quarantined figure out ways to engage with customers and lead instead of a sales pitch, offer services at a lower price or through other means that help customers or B2B services survive the crisis.
Improvise and Survive
The silver lining to the current situation is that you may be unable to physically meet or interact with your customers but that doesn’t mean “out of sight is out of mind”. In fact, it’s very much the opposite of that. There are a number of ways you can navigate a rough patch given you have the right marketing resources and approach some of them are:
Maintain a media presence
The major advantage businesses today have is that they can stay active on social media or through e-mail marketing and websites and pursue their customers directly. Here you can clearly share their visions, goals and past achievements and answer customers queries through various social media platforms. Follow the below-given tips for a better media presence:
- Educate your customers about your digital presence.
- Stay available on WhatsApp, we chat, Facebook messenger and Skype or Zoom to make your business more accessible to its clients.
- List out helpful posts and tips that your business can offer.
- Be a Good Samaritan and help your community (it’s Goodwill for your business).
- Don’t send sales pitch E-mails that spam, send relatable useful content to your readers.
Start an E-commerce platform with a payment gateway incorporates – e-commerce platforms are a must-have for any small business. Are you’re a cookie maker? Or a hairstylist? Or even a tailor. E-commerce can offer custom websites some even with AI integration to help understand what your customer is looking for and help to make a purchase without leaving the comfort of their home. This also helps a business make a better profit since it can offer a variety of services based on the preferences of its customers.
Start a blog
Not selling a product? No problem talks about your past achievements and how your service can enrich your customers’ life and make it easier. A well-written blog is as good as a brand ambassador or a great ad for your business
Promote your business through social media. Or just engage with followers.
No matter what age group your customer falls in, everyone has a phone or some level of social media presence. Engaging with customers and followers can bring in new customers too. You can have an online shop on Facebook or Instagram and link the same as a shoppable post to your pictures. You can promote your services or see what your competitors are offering and up your antic.
While the given situation isn’t the best to be in, we understand it can be a testing time for small businesses and local entrepreneurs. But with the right approach and a positive mindset, this too shall pass.
From everyone here at the MarketinGrow team, we wish our readers health, success and safety.