In 2020, small businesses all over the globe quickly learned to pivot and adapt in order to keep their doors open – and their team members employed. Instead of focusing on thriving, employers spent countless days trying to have their businesses merely survive.
The past year might have had a negative effect on the growth and sustainability of your business. But if your products or services still provide benefits and solutions to your customers and their problems, you can still thrive. And you can do so by reinventing your image and how you reach your customers.
Continue reading for ways you can do that for your small business this year.
1. Add eCommerce
Setting up your brick-and-mortar business with an online presence may sound like it could be a lengthy process. But there are many benefits to it.
Here’s why you should establish an online presence for your small business:
There’s a rise in online shopping activity. Online purchases largely increased in 2020. And they’re expected to increase even more this year. Make sure you’re paying attention to these trends to stay ahead of your competition and grow your revenue. You can use e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, or Weebly to take your business online.
24/7 - 365 Hour availability. Your store is open all day, every day when it has an online presence. You can sell your inventory even after your store is closed - and when it’s open, you can sell both online and onsite. In order to keep up with online orders, you can hire someone to fulfill them.
It improves your image. When you’re operating your business online, your products and services are available to your customers even outside your store. Having another channel to showcase and sell what you offer gives you more opportunity to brand your business, and easily change it depending on consumer trends - since editing a website is much easier than buying a new sign at your physical storefront.
2. Get on social media
You don’t need millions of followers on your social media accounts to make a difference to your customers or your business. By just having your presence on social media, you can access a new customer demographic and strengthen your relationship with current customers. Plus, signing up for social media is totally free.
With a social media presence you can:
Interact with customers more. Some customers want to call your business to ask if something is in stock, and some of them prefer to contact you quickly online — but don’t want to send an email. Having social media opens new ways of communicating with your customers.
Stay top of mind. Seventy percent of social media users log into their accounts at least once per day, according to a 2021 study by Pew Research Center.
Showcase new products or services. Have you always wanted your restaurant to host a cooking class? Do you want to show your customers how your baristas perfect the amount of foam on every cappuccino? Do your customers ever wonder how your mannequins are styled so well? Hosting a live video on social media to show your customers a behind-the-scenes look into your business is a creative way to improve their buying experiences.
Of course, if you want customers and followers to be engaged with your business, you have to engage with them too. Stay active and respond to comments and questions on your posts in a way that’s aligned to your brand.
3. Update your name and signage
You don’t necessarily need to do both, but updating or refreshing your branding can give you a new look without changing your products or services. Your attention to the way you appear to your current and potential customers can instantly interest them in buying from your business.
Here are three ways you can update your branding without changing anything about your business’s mission and vision.
Add a tagline. Walk outside of your store and take a look at your sign and how it aligns with the color scheme and style of your store. Does your business's name and signage tell customers what products or services your team provides? If it isn’t clear, adding an accompanying tagline can make it easier for potential customers to understand exactly what your business is all about.
Switch up your brand logo’s font. If you feel like the transformation of your store makes your logo feel outdated, you don’t need to change your logo completely. You don’t even have to rename your business. If you want to update your logo and stand out from your nearest competitors, change up your logo’s font. This simple change isn’t too drastic to turn your loyal customers away either.
Step up your signage with LED or neon lights. An easy way to surely stand out is by taking your signage to the next level. Line your outdoor signs with LED or neon lights. Even if you’re not open at night, your lights can interest new customers to come in the next day when you are open.
4. Be conscious of costs
Your pricing strategies may have changed over the past two years because of the pandemic, new hiring strategies, and changes in staff turnover. In order to retain your current customers and onboard new ones, think about how you can change your pricing strategy for an uptick in revenue.
Serve customers at both high and low prices. The past two years have greatly impacted consumer spending. Even your most repeat customers may no longer be able to purchase the same amount of tank tops like they used to because of an unexpected job furlough. In order to continue to serve them, and others like them, think of products that you can offer at higher and lower prices. If you have enough of a balance, you’re sure to retain and attract customers at the same time.
Offer promotions. Many businesses will offer holiday discounts. But what about the other days? Does your business have an anniversary or birthday? Create a unique promotion day that will instantly attract buyers to your store.
Use bundle pricing. If you offer a large number of certain items, think about offering a “2 for 1” or “15% off if you buy 3 or more” deal. Not only can this strategy help your inventory move faster, but it can save your customers money too. It’s a win-win.
5. Rejuvenate your company culture
If you don’t have happy employees, chances are that you won’t have happy customers too. Uplifting your employee culture can create a more inclusive and collaborative work environment. And collaborative environments can do a lot of good for overall morale.
Here are three ways you can rejuvenate your company culture:
Encourage collaboration. When your team is voluntarily working together toward their workplace’s success, your company can grow exponentially. Team collaboration encourages problem-solving, team members to learn from each other, and an increase in productivity. And that increase in productivity can largely contribute to your business’s growth and success.
Surprise your team with treats in the break room. Everyone loves a nice surprise, and everyone loves when they’re thought of. Before you head to work, buy a dozen donuts for your team members who work the morning shift as a nice way to start their day.
Host a team offsite. Team offsites can help your employees bond with each other outside of their normal work environment. It can allow them to be more comfortable talking with each other - and you as their supervisor. Take your team on a hike with a nice view or host a business dinner. The time they spend together can improve the way they work with each other, which can easily spread to their customer service skills.
Restore your business’s success
If your business has taken a toll over the past year, and you feel like your company is struggling to survive, it’s time to act now. Reinventing can seem like a fun company refresh, or it can be a necessary process for you – and your team – to thrive and grow.
Want to learn more ways you can improve staff support? Download The Employer’s Guide to Managing Unpredictability.