Small Business Blog – How to Navigate Crisis using Leadership and Durability

The Virus Crisis continues. In March we were told it would be a two-month shutdown. Here we are, two months later and consumers are not consuming. A month ago, they said that 60,000 people in the US would die. More than 108,000 Americans have died. Today there are 20,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths. Whether a city is “Open” or “Closed”, it is clear that people are not flocking to stores or other businesses. If you own a small business like I do, you need to set an expectation. How long does Small Business have to hold out?

The old Normal will never return

If you define normal as the day when parking lots and offices are full, when people are sitting in restaurants, and where face masks are in the past, then we will never get there. The world is changing in permanent ways. In my business, we have dropped our land-line business phones, moved nearly all our mail to online payments, and upgraded our staff home workspaces with business chairs, desks, headsets and related office style equipment. Magnify these changes by thousands of small businesses, and as the crisis moves from months to years, you can see that there is no going back. Now, we must learn to run our businesses for a different sort of “normal”.

This week, protests and social instability got added to the mix. These were always part of the mix, but suddenly they went from background to foreground. Who knew that ensuring the safety of my staff could become a hot political issue with customers? Innocent statements about human relations can have dire business consequences. An entrepreneur must now be a PR manager, a health manager, and a procurer of medical supplies. A simple office purchase of hand sanitizer has become a month-long ordeal.

Leadership

Some people crave leadership roles. However, they may be poor small business owners. The best entrepreneurs are often those with an expertise and a passion in a specific skill set, that they can market to customers. As they become entrepreneurs, they suddenly get a side-line job as leaders. We cannot skip this part of our job. It is neither our passion nor our expertise, but it is an essential part of the package. We must lead our staff and our customers, set expectations, deliver according to those expectations, and take responsibility if expectations are not met. We must carry this in our products, our services and our ethical standards.

Durability

For small business durability comes from frugal spending combined with generous customer skills. Our customers are the sole source of revenue. We can keep that source active by providing effective service and valuable products. When the customer saves money and gains satisfaction, they will happily recommend us. Frugal spending means monitoring all financial transactions to ensure they are the lowest required. Until there is profit, there is no room for luxury or glamor.

Ethics

When you look at the most hated corporations; Facebook, Comcast, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo, it is easy to see what is in common. Each of these companies use their market position to push individuals, without choice, into transactions with poor value. Facebook sells your private info, losing control of it, then taking no responsibility. Comcast raises their rates to provide dwindling content. Microsoft forces risky updates to give you features you do not want.

Free software and services is not the answer. The world is full of unsupported free software that never really works. Free computer service has value only if you do not value your time.

The ethical road is to travel between these two boundaries. Create value relationships with people willing to pay for that value. Make your service and product clear, with a clear price and generous refund and upgrade policy. Then you will be rewarded by loyal customers who will recommend your business.

Summary

My county will move to Phase 1 in a couple weeks and Phase 2 in about a month. But the Covid crisis will be with us through the Summer and beyond. Over time, virus will be less of a factor as social and economic trends grow in the looming election cycle. A new social and economic order will arise over time, and we cannot predict what it will look like.

Small Businesses who tap on Leadership and Durability will manage to retain customers and staff ready to grow into the next economic cycle.

Most Effective Business Strategies for Small Business in 2020 and Beyond

Small businesses need effective business strategies to keep up with the market due to the number of competition existing in the same industry. Keeping up with the latest business news and trends can help small or starting businesses to plan how they can utilize those changes to grow the company’s brand recognition and sales.

The effect of technological revolution businesses are experiencing is changing at a rapid pace, producing massive numbers of information, progress, and technology in a short amount of time. Keep in mind that the most effective business strategies prevent you and your company from potentially wasting time and effort.

For small businesses to stay and flourish in a competitive market, they’ll have to utilize the innovation of technology in their business strategies to stay on the cutting edge. Thus, here are the most effective business strategies for small businesses in 2020 and beyond.

Using Chatbots to Automate and Enhance Customer Communications

Chatbots are one of the most effective business strategies because of their ability to think and respond to queries similar to a customer service representative. Due to the advances in technology, machines and software are enhancing their capabilities in artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

The machine learning code inside artificial intelligent machines and software has been programmed in a way to understand queries similar to a human being’s thinking. Another special feature of the machine learning code is that it allows chatbots to gain experiences and learns them to improve how they interact with customers and handle further conversations.

The importance of using chatbots in business processes is to enhance customer communications and improve customer engagement. Since chatbots are capable of handling a huge amount of customer interaction-based problems, your business can then deliver a better experience to them, expanding your business’ reach.

Social Media Marketing Experts Will Be Key

Social media marketing is a necessity for businesses because it’s an effective way to drive audience engagement to gain attention for the products and services you provide. It was even found that over 70% of small and starting businesses used social media to expand their reach and boost brand recognition in the past years.

It’s essential for small businesses to share content by posting blog posts,  image updates, texts, and videos, on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In that way, your small business can be one step closer to achieving your branding and marketing goals to grow your business.

Go Cash-Free

Another main issue that small businesses face daily is the costs of running a business. But, due to the increase in technology accessibility, you’ll be able to use smaller and smarter systems to increase efficiency and improve your manufacturing methods.

Taking advantage of technology can help you overcome the business infrastructure costs with new plug-and-play features that can provide you cheaper access to large-scale business infrastructures.

Takeaway

Business owners should always keep in mind to keep up with the latest news and trends in the industry to make the growth of their small business a success. Even though the small business level is constantly changing, taking time to plan out effective business strategies and utilizing new trends is the best way to stay on the cutting edge in 2020 and beyond.