If the last year has left you feeling more than a little anxious when it comes to the survival of your business, then you are far from alone. According to a recent report, four in five small business owners say that Covid-19 has negatively affected their mental wellbeing, with 61% blaming this strain on financial worries.
Furthermore, 92% of SMEs reported that they felt forced to “reinvent themselves” in order to weather the effects of the pandemic on their business. Undeniably this has been a stressful 12 months for the majority of business owners but, rather than choose to dwell on the negative, why not instead choose to seek out the positives?
If you were simply plodding along before with average profits and a consistent customer base, now is definitely time for an overhaul. Not sure where to begin?
Keep reading to discover five alternative ways that you can grow your business in 2021 and beyond. You may be surprised at just how much you can achieve with a little bit of effort and a lot of enthusiasm.
Put people first
If you tend to focus on numbers rather than people, then this could be holding you back from reaching your full potential as a small business. Of course, tracking your click-through rates and number of conversions is important but, if you become too wrapped up in this, you run the risk of forgetting what really matters, your customers.
Think of it this way. If you see a customer as purely a number, do you think they will be more likely or less likely to become loyal to your business? Clearly, it’s the latter. People want to be treated as an individual. They want bespoke offers and personalized promotions. They want to be addressed by their names.
As well as putting your customers first, you should also ensure you take the time to create meaningful relationships with your employees. After all, they are the ones who are on the front line, so to speak, dealing with your customers day in and day out.
Top takeaway: Engaged customers and employees will stay loyal to your business.
Focus on innovation
The easiest way to stay stagnant as a business is to focus too much on daily operations and neglect strategizing for the future. When it comes to innovation, you need to think about your products or services, your employees, and any technology that you could invest in that will help to improve your business.
To enjoy optimum results from your innovations team, it can be a good idea to have an innovation management system in place. In a nutshell, this involves the process of managing new ideas and turning them into tangible actions.
You can choose to source innovation internally, externally, or through the use of innovation partners.
Top takeaway: Innovative ideas can come from anybody within your organization.
Plan virtual events
If you used to rely heavily on face-to-face connections to build relationships with both your customers and people within your industry, then you may have started to feel out of the loop in the last year.
The beauty of virtual events is that they can be organized on a great scale by small businesses in exactly the same way as they can by larger corporations. Furthermore, virtual events allow you to reach customers outside of your local area, potentially increasing your customer base and possibly even going international, all without having to spend a small fortune on venue hire, equipment, entertainment, and the hassle of travel.
There are several platforms that you can use to interact with your audience online, including:
- Zoom webinar
- Facebook Live
- LinkedIn Live
- Instagram Live
You could even invite a well-known influencer within your niche to guest speak, resulting in maximum exposure for your brand.
Top takeaway: Prepare for tech troubles in advance to avoid disruption to your event.
Pay attention to content promotion
You have probably heard time and time again that content marketing is crucial to the success of every business, and, of course, this is true. However, not as much is said about the importance of content promotion.
The process of getting any content you create seen by the right people, at the right time, and on the right platform, content pronation is crucial, as what is the point of spending precious time writing great content if nobody gets to read it?
Don’t worry if you have been neglecting content promotion until now, as there is still time for you to start marketing your content in the best way for your business.
There are two main ways that you can promote your content. These are via organic content promotion platforms such as social media and email marketing or paid advertising such as Facebook Ads and AdWords.
Top takeaway: Use customized messaging for each different channel.
If you are going to survive the year, let alone thrive in it, you need to be thinking digital, digital, digital. Basically, anything that you did before face-to-face, you now need to find a way to offer the same experience but virtually.
For example, if you usually provide your customers with advice on how to set up a product or use a service in person, you can instead offer them an online tutorial or a how-to guide in the form of a blog.
Other digital experiences you may want to offer include:
- Online courses
- Coaching via video call
- Audio files or books
- Digital instruction manuals
If you are worried about lost revenue when face-to-face offerings become feasible again, there is no need to be. Digital products and services allow you to scale many of your services, resulting in more customers and more sales.
Top takeaway: Don’t be afraid to go international with your client base.
Embracing new techniques to grow your business doesn’t have to mean you abandon all your existing tried and tested methods. There is plenty of room in your overall business strategy for innovation and conventionality. The key to success is being willing to grow with your business rather than against it.