Running a business through the COVID-19 pandemic has created a tough time for a lot of businesses. From dealing with the shutdown, to having a work space filled with barking dogs or kids playing, many business owners are struggling.

While no one wanted an economic slowdown, perhaps there’s a silver lining: having the time to work on your business.

Business owners have told me that they’ve used this time to: 

  • Make improvements to their business that were long overdue
  • Explore new market niches
  • Get more creative and find new ways to market or deliver their products and services
  • Implement operational changes that have helped them function more efficiently. 

Although these changes may have been driven by the pandemic, they can benefit the business long-term as well as short-term.

Not all business owners have the time, energy, or resources to make sweeping changes, but if you find yourself with more time than usual, here are some ideas that can help position you to function more efficiently in the long term. 

Customer Cycle Review: 

Look at your entire customer cycle: 

  1. generating leads
  2. following up with leads
  3. making the sale
  4. delivering the product/service
  5. following up to ensure a satisfied customer
  6. asking for repeat business. 

Are there any steps in the process that are weak? Are you losing prospects or customers at a certain point in the cycle? If so, consider how to improve that part of your process.

Is there a way to introduce automation to make things more efficient, or simply ensure that they get done? 

Improving the way you manage your customers throughout this cycle can help you generate more revenue from the leads and customers you already have.

Market Brainstorm: 

Ask a business-minded friend or colleague to help you see things with new eyes. Try to find someone who is not an expert at your business to get a truly fresh perspective. 

Start by telling them:

  1. what products/services you provide
  2. who your customers are
  3. how you deliver the products/services to the customers. 

Ask your friend to help you brainstorm alternatives in those three areas. They may help you identify a new twist on your products/services, or new customers that could use them, or new ways to deliver them. 

Customer and Vendor Check-in: 

Make a list of your best customers and favorite vendors and give them a quick call or email to check in and see how they’re doing. These aren’t meant to be sales conversations, but rather a nice gesture to see if there’s anything you can do for them. 

Perhaps you can:

  • introduce a vendor to someone they’d like to connect with
  • send a customer an article that’s relevant to what they’re facing right now
  • just be a friendly ear as they vent about working from home. 

This is not a marketing activity as such, it’s a human connection effort, and people appreciate it if done genuinely. If you can be a good resource when people are in need, they will remember you when things look better.

Operations Review: 

Spend some time thinking about how you run your business and where the roadblocks or bottlenecks are. It never hurts to talk to your staff and address some of the daily challenges they may face when trying to get their work done.

Once you’ve identified an issue, think about ways to improve and operate your business more efficiently. Maybe you can work out some better ways to do the work, saving you some time and money in the process.

Here’s hoping that every small business can find ways to survive the effects of COVID and grow stronger in the long run! Donathan Consulting is offering a free consultation to any small business owner who is struggling due to COVID. Schedule a call now.