In less than four months of China discovering the index case of Coronavirus, the global economy is sloping towards a meltdown. The impact is touching almost every business.
If you run an SME, you may say the impact could only be much on multinationals, and bigger businesses. But that’s not true. The negatives may start from larger companies, but it’s coming all the way down, and it’s already evident.
Government at all levels is recommending social distancing, self-isolation and other strategies to keep the spread at the barest minimum. Coupled with the loud fear in the public, these recommendations are being followed.
Many companies are already adopting remote work. On the consumer end, there is not bulk purchase everywhere – people stocking their homes with foodstuffs and basic necessities because, soon, they may prefer to stay indoors to be safe.
None of these sound good to businesses who rely on walk-in customers to make sales, or generate clients. If people can’t go out as they like, retail stores may just be open all day with no one to come around and buy anything.
So, in the middle of all these, what can you do to keep your business flying?
The digital media has made it easy with endless opportunities to connect with your customers, make sales, and even manage your team until the much-needed calm returns.
Here are a few things to consider.
Go all digital with sales
Now is not the time to fold hands and expect things to get better, while Coronavirus hits hard on your business. Rather, you should get digital with your business.
Let’s say you run a retail store – selling anything, from grocery, cakes, fashion items, and books products to computers and general electronics. This will mean you adopting e-commerce or social commerce.
With e-commerce, you have a website where people can visit to order your products. Think of this as your store on the internet. Simply put, it’s your online store, or a replica of what you already have on the physical. Consider what Jumia, Konga and the likes have done in this area.
On the other hand, social commerce is basically selling through social media. It could be through Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp.
Using a few marketing tactics and strategies, you will get people consistently reaching out to buy the products you have. Having an online store is, in fact, more effective now because people will prefer to order what they need online, without having to step out of their homes.
And the evolution of the logistics business in Nigeria has made it easy. You can simply get a delivery service to take a token and help you get that product to your customer. Remember, that token is not even paid by you, but by the customer who prefers the delivery option.
So, you get to keep your profit intact.
Use social media more now than ever
In the same way digital sales will take precedence over walk-in or physical sales in these trying times, online engagement with brands will also skyrocket.
When prospective customers have questions now, they will prefer to either call you or leave you a message on social media. And if you’re not available for almost immediate response, they will consider your competitors.
Not just that, you need to keep your brand name always in their eyes by sharing content consistently. Don’t let a day go by without you leaving a footprint on social media channels, where you are active.
On one hand, it is telling the customer that your business is not shut down by the Coronavirus, but most importantly, it constantly reminds them to do business with you when they have a need for your products or solutions.
To make this work, it is advisable that you get a staff whose responsibility will be wholly this. And if you can’t get that, you can simply hire a digital agency to help you with this.
Manage your team remotely
I’ll say this is the most interesting part.
In the same way that you manage your team and business in a physical setting, there are online tools that let you replicate this, if your team has to work remotely.
As you’re most likely aware, most companies are now opting for remote works to check the spread of the virus. And even for those that don’t consider that, the government may come up with some policy that will compel you to do the same.
So, if that happens, how do you intend to keep your team functional? It’s with such tools.
There’s a particular one I’ll like to recommend, BoldBMS. It’s a Facebook-acknowledged app that lets you manage virtually everything you do at your workplace – team management, task assigning, invoicing, lead management, and many more. It’s more or less Asana or Trello, but even a bit simpler to use.
So, even with the Coronavirus raging very harsh, you can still keep your business going. The internet has made it easy to replicate your physical presence and attend to your customers, without any hitch.