The coronavirus has dramatically changed the world economy, forcing many businesses to alter their operations to survive during a pandemic.
The pandemic has taken a monumental toll, small businesses bore the brunt of job loss, with a decline of more than 17% in May 2020. With SMBs especially vulnerable during this time, these companies must be agile and nimble to adjust in ever-changing times. As companies prepare for the future, there are several ways they can come out on top during the pandemic.
With more limitations on staff size and in-person office spaces as we enter fall and a new resurgence phase of COVID-19, businesses of all sizes must think outside of their network for staffing.
With these restrictions, we’re seeing more small-to-medium businesses bridge the gap by outsourcing work to freelancers rather than hiring new employees, especially for marketing services, project management and CRM. In fact, there are now 57 million Americans in the freelance economy, up from 53 million in 2014. (CNBC)
Not only can small businesses benefit from freelancers due to their specialized skill sets to address your every need, but they are increasingly more affordable and flexible without a long-term contract. Beyond that, leveraging freelancers makes it possible to attract world-class talent that would be unavailable to most organizations on a full-time basis.
Even when the danger of COVID passes, the use of freelancers is here to stay. With 43% of the working U.S. population turning to freelance work over the next five years, the rise of independent talent and a flexible workforce will enable businesses to stay competitive and change the workforce for years to come.
Implement a Customer Relationship Management Solution
Since March of 2020, the consumer’s way of life has changed dramatically. In order to captivate your target audience and stay top of mind without direct access to customers, SMBs must leverage new solutions. As a result, many businesses have implemented Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to support their efforts amid the pandemic.
CRM technology has long been regarded as an essential tool for all businesses. From customer service and email marketing to personalization, companies now expect to be able to connect platforms and technologies with customer data, in order to provide a more personalized experience. With new operational challenges, leveraging this solution has become a necessity to stay afloat.
CRM is the fastest growing software market today. It was a $14 billion industry in 2010 and is expected to reach $80 billion by 2025. That’s nearly a 600% increase. (Source: Grand View Research). This technology drives revenue and gives SMBs a competitive advantage by targeting the most qualified leads, increasing retention efforts, improving sales productivity, and providing highly-personalized messaging to existing customers.
Utilizing a CRM helps businesses connect with their customers on a deeper level, even when they are stuck at home, and could be the deciding factor between those that thrive and those who struggle to survive.
Be Flexible and Adaptable
Adjusting during this unknown moment is crucial for small businesses. Whether you’re adjusting to working from home, new marketing techniques, or selling products, being agile can help small businesses stay afloat.
Find creative ways to implement new market trends
Having a unique way to market products or services helps you stand out from your competition and maintain a steady flow of customers and revenue. Give your business’s online presence a boost by:
- Optimizing your business website for mobile
- Creating valuable content
- Experimenting with some SEO research
- Incorporating keywords on your website pages
- Engaging in online communities and forums
- Improving user experience
Enhance your sales strategy
A few ways to enhance your marketing strategy and promote unique offerings might look like shopping virtually or hosting engaging virtual classes, meetings, webinars, and even conferences.
Invest in work-from-home solutions
While most people likely have a phone, a computer, and an internet connection, the work they do from home may look different than the work they do in the office. Invest in technology like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Drive to keep communication consistent and simple.
The pandemic poses new challenges for small businesses as they adjust to the new reality and look toward recovery. Fortunately, new technology is booming and there’s never been a better time for companies to rethink their marketing, talent, and operations.