It’s no secret that the current COVID-19 has and continues to be a challenging time for businesses everywhere, especially small business owners. In this piece, we have compiled a list of resources available to help you navigate your business through the coronavirus pandemic.
Keep your client-base informed.
You might find that you have to pivot your business operations or model during this time. This means you might have to consider changing your business hours, temporarily closing, or pivoting and changing the types of products and services you currently offer. Of course, any changes you implement has to be communicated with your customers, and you can do this with a business profile, right here on business.co.za, simply sign up here.
If you’re currently offering online services, simply add your business URL to your profile, where people can be redirected from our platform to your business website.
Updating your business profile on Google.
You should also consider creating a business profile on Google Business if you have not already done so, and perhaps add that link to your business.co.za profile. If you haven’t already done so and have a Google Business profile, now is the time to update your details:
Update your hours and business status. Simply edit or flag your business as “temporarily closed in need be. If your hours and business have pivoted, update it as soon as possible.
Confirm or update your business number. It’s vital to double-check your current phone number and perhaps activate messaging services, to ensure that your clients and prospects can reach you.
Communicating COVID-19 updates. Use posts to disclose timely information related to COVID-19 processes, precautions and any changes to delivery options and inventory updates where needed.
Adding and editing attributes. Perhaps you have shifted to offering online services, deliveries or pickup services; you will need to mark these services on your profile.
Add your updated Google Business link to your business.co.za listing.
Adjusting your advertising efforts.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift business-as-usual operations and customer behaviour changes, online advertising is an excellent method to keep your current clients and prospects informed. Using Google Ads, you’ll be able to communicate any necessary information which you find most relevant to your clients during this time, including changes to your product and service offerings, inventory or business hours.
If you’re in the position where you have no budget for Google Ads, you could opt to make updates to your services right here on business.co.za. It would help if you also considered upping your social media game to provide relevant information on the platforms where your audience is present.
Striving to adapt to new and evolving customer behaviours.
Customer behaviours, needs and wants continue to shift with new regulations, so you need to carefully consider your client’s specific requirements from your business right now. You could opt to communicate with them directly via your social media platforms. In addition to social media, you should consider using tools such as Google Trends, Google Alerts, or you can research into rising retail trends via Google search for more insights.
You might even be seeking to pivot some of your products or services to online settings. We suggest starting this by considering what value you offer to your customers. Are there methods available for you to continue providing your unique selling point and value in alternative formats or online channels? For instance:
A retailer with a brick and mortar shop could create an e-commerce landing page to sell products online.
A restaurant could offer online orders for deliveries and pickups.
A personal trainer can opt to provide virtual training sessions with Zoom for clients.
An artist might host a YouTube Livestream to teach classes.
Should you not currently have a website for your business, your first step is securing a domain and exploring the options available for developing a site on the cheap. Your website need not be complicated; you just need to ensure that it highlights key information about your business and how prospects can reach you.
Running your business remotely.
Many businesses and their teams may have already shifted to working remotely, but perhaps you’re still in the process of doing this for the future. However, we recommend doing so if you’re able to as soon as possible if you’re ready to and it means your business can continue operating. Consider using the following digital tools to help you and your team stay connected and productive from home-office settings:
Start by setting up a video meeting with conferencing tools such as Google Meet or Zoom and ensure that your team is comfortable with video conferencing tools.
Use collaborative tools in the Google suite such as Google Docs, Sheets, etc. You could also create an email list or chat room via Slack, Whatsapp or Telegram.
Upload and provide access to documents and media via Google Drive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people, businesses and the nation on the whole. However, should you be a business owner who is in the position of weathering the pandemic via the above-listed tips, you should be in an excellent position to keep your head above water and ultimately come out of this period winning at your business offerings more than ever before.