Nobody could have predicted the astronomical change that happened in the world in 2020. When COVID-19 emerged, our lives as we knew it evolved.
Rapidly, we began switching in-person shopping with online purchases. Face-to-face conversations disappeared, replaced by virtual meetings and video conferencing. Companies everywhere had to transform overnight.
Many business houses had to make an abrupt shift from physical payment systems to virtual and completely automated payment solutions to avoid human interventions. Transactions through check, cash, and card with customers, vendors, partners became nearly impossible as per COVID protocols. During this turmoil, Automated Clearing House (ACH), also known as e-checks, became a great relief for businesses as it supports accepting and making payments electronically. Those who availed ACH solutions from some of the best ach processing companies were able to resume their banking operations and sustain. Electronic debit and credit systems offer lower operational costs, secured banking, greater flexibility and convenience which was the need of the hour.
Many larger companies weathered the storm of the pandemic well, introducing new delivery systems and remote working strategies for employees.
However, smaller companies weren’t so lucky. Many organizations shut down altogether, whereas others had to engage in drastic budget cuts just to keep the lights on.
Even as some employees are returning to work and lockdown restrictions ease, business leaders need to be prepared. Here are some top tips on how you can keep things running smoothly throughout the coronavirus crisis.
1. Examine the Competition
Competitive analysis is a powerful tool in any stage of business growth. Looking at other companies in your industry is great for figuring out which steps to take to serve your clients better. You can also use a competitive evaluation to find underserved segments of the market and enhance your unique selling proposition.
Looking at how other organizations manage the COVID-19 scenario could give you some useful ideas on how to survive yourself.
For instance, maybe your competitors are shifting to a contactless delivery model when sending products to customers. The same strategy could work for you. Perhaps you could present your sales pitches over video conferencing or use webinars to onboard new users from afar.
Look at your indirect and direct competition. Make a list of how they’re continuing to support existing customers and attract new ones in this difficult time. Which strategies will work for your business?
2. Look at your Finances
No matter which industry you’re in, you should expect some financial issues in the months ahead – if you’re not encountering them already. As the economy struggles to recover, many businesses are rethinking how they spend their corporate budgets.
Remember, your customers are unlikely to have much disposable income this year. This means you need to keep things lean if you’re going to make a profit.
Look at where you’re currently spending money in your organization and where you can cut costs. For instance, can you reduce overhead costs by allowing more of your employees to work from home full-time? Would switching to local suppliers for resources save you money on delivery and shipping fees?
Efficiency is crucial to staying ahead of the curve and outcompeting your rivals. Don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions to keep costs low.
3. Adjust Your Marketing Strategy
One thing you shouldn’t cut back on right now is generating new leads and prospects for your sales team. Now more than ever, you need to ensure that your marketing efforts have the right impact on your target audience. When you’re planning marketing campaigns, put empathy and understanding first.
Remember that your customers are facing a difficult time. They need solid evidence that your product or service is worth their money. Using marketing campaigns to show customers how you can save them money or solve problems will be extremely helpful.
It might also be a good idea to invest more time into personalizing your campaigns. Remember, customers appreciate a product or service more when it feels like the pitch was tailor-made for them. Get to know your customers and address their pain points with your next campaign.
4. Be Prepared
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that most companies are woefully underprepared for the unexpected. Fortunately, we now have a chance to rectify that by updating preparedness strategies and emergency plans.
If you haven’t already, look at your business operations. Ask yourself where your biggest risks lie.
Can you continue operations if there are sudden disruptions to your supply chain? Do you have insurance in case of natural disasters? How are you defending yourself against issues with data loss and cybersecurity breaches?
Unexpected downtime is poison to any thriving business, costing thousands in lost opportunities and dwindling brand reputation. Now is the time to revisit your plan for bouncing back in case something goes wrong.
Although COVID-19 is something no one could predict, it brought to light many threats for business continuity. For some, it was a lack of online presence, while others couldn’t get their hands on vital materials. Plan now so that you’re protected should the issue ever occur again.
Make Sure Your Business Survives
The COVID-19 pandemic is evidence that no business can be fully prepared for anything that might happen. You can have the best product, a fantastic marketing campaign, and some of the world’s top talent. However, you could still be thrown off guard by an unexpected event.
The only way to survive when disaster happens is to be properly prepared. Don’t panic, assess the situation, and find a solution that works for your brand. Examining the competition and looking at your finances will give you ideas on moving forward on a tighter budget. Reassess your business continuity plans and adjust your marketing campaigns to suit the situation. You’ll be ready to continue serving your customers and unlocking new opportunities, no matter what happens.