A Small Business Survival Checklist for Navigating COVID-19

Your View is a recurring series of opinion pieces from members of the Pulptown community. To share your ideas, goals, and work about Orlando with the community in a Your View piece, please submit it to hello@pulp.town.

By: Stephen Boehringer

As many local entrepreneurs and business owners continue to cope with a new normal due to the novel coronavirus, it pays to be able to adapt. For small business owners that have been heavily impacted and looking to navigate the workplace disruption, Stephan Boehringer, CEO of Orlando-based digital marketing firm Get The Clicks has prepared a Small Business Survival Checklist. The checklist was created in an effort to help local small business owners stay organized during the pandemic. Boehringer specifically wrote the below to be shared with our Pulptown audience. 

2020 has been a very unpredictable time for people all over the world. But with Covid-19 still taking a massive toll on society, it can feel incredibly overwhelming just trying to handle day to day life. This becomes even more stressful for small business owners struggling to stay afloat during these trying times. To help you increase your chances of success going forward, there are things you can do for your small business here in Orlando.

Re-Evaluate Your Goals

No one knows exactly what the future holds in terms of Covid-19 and returning back to normal. With this unexpected roadblock, it is important to fully evaluate your business plan and decide what may need to change going forward. Look at your previously set goals and factor in the impact Covid-19 will have on them. 

You may need to set new short- term and long- term goals to accommodate Coronavirus. But just because your short-term goals change doesn’t mean they can’t change again in the future when things get back to normal.

Get Your Website Ready

Whether you are a new business or have been around for years, you already know the importance of a good website. Websites are how more and more people are shopping in recent years. Because of Covid-19, it is now the main method. As restrictions lift and businesses reopen, many people will still want to stay home and purchase their items via a website. This makes it more important than ever to have a well designed and functioning website.

Run through your website to make sure everything is up to date, especially all the necessary sales components. Make sure all links are working, and your site is easy to navigate. Any confusion can lead to customers leaving your site for a competitor’s. 

Make sure you have a wide variety of payment methods set up to accommodate all your customers. You might also consider selling on more popular platforms like Amazon, where most people will be looking for items.

Keep Customers Up to Date

By keeping your customers up to date on new practices and policies, you make them feel safer buying from you. When you make the effort to reach out to them, you can help put their minds at ease and make them feel more confident in your company. This can be done in blog posts, emails, notes on your website, and through your social media. 

Social media will be vital when it comes to customer satisfaction and trust. Take the time to inform your customers, taking care not to overwhelm them. Be sure to still make your presence known on social media. Even if it’s not exactly business as usual during this season, it doesn’t mean your business should silently retreat. 

You can even consider providing some form of meaningful entertainment during these trying times. Building relationships and standing out this way can help your business become the go-to.

Set Up Google Ads

Google Ads is an effective way to get your products and services seen all over the internet. Using Google ads will increase your chances of getting clicks, thus increasing your website traffic and your chances of a sale. You can also use their Adwords Express program to make things simpler and take most of the load off of you. There are so many ways to customize and optimize your ads so do not neglect Google ads as a strong lead generator for your business.

Getting your ads ready can include deciding on your budget, choosing the main keywords that you want to target, preparing your landing page, and actually writing and designing your ads. Of course, it’s important to monitor your results and constantly test and optimize.

Build a Referral Marketing System

Marketing is always going to play a major role in the success of any business. But small businesses especially benefit from a referral marketing system. These are the commonly seen deals or a discount or reward of some kind when your customer successfully gets another person to sign up. 

Sales and traffic are definitely lower during this time, with lesser people spending and shopping in malls. Many businesses will have to leverage their fan base or their loyal customers. And what better way to drive more business than to ask your loyal customers to recommend their family or friends? A referral system is a great way to reward a loyal customer while drumming up new business and bringing in a whole new stream of customers.

Make Sure Your Staff Stays in The Loop

A lot has had to change in terms of day to day operations in order to keep everyone safe. As businesses start to reopen and things start to get back to normal, you will still need to make sure your staff is taking the necessary precautions. 

This means staying up to date on the latest recommendations from healthcare professionals, and figuring out how to incorporate that into the workplace. That may require frequent conversations, so it is important to have a consistent way to stay in contact with everyone involved.

Plan for Sales and Promotions in the Future

After all the added stress and financial strain caused by months of Covid-19, having special sales and promotions may help propel your business forward again. This is because many people will still be struggling for months after everything is reopened. Offering promotions can encourage spending while going easy on their budget.

It is also a nice way to celebrate reopening and reward loyal customers. Promotions can also offer you a chance to say thank you to the people who have supported you through these difficult times.

Overall, Don’t Panic

The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will no doubt impact many businesses. However, challenges are not uncharted territory for entrepreneurs. This is not the time to give up. This is the time to roll up your sleeves and address the challenges like you have tackled any other business obstacles in the past. 

There will be a lot of trial and error, and you will see some weeks much better than others. Customers will be hesitant when things first start opening up again, so don’t panic if you have a slow first few weeks or months. 

As time goes on and people get more comfortable, they will then return to spending. Just optimize your chances and stay on top of things, and you will stand a much greater chance of success after Covid-19.