When shelter-in-place orders took effect across the U.S. in March 2020, businesses had to adapt. Now, as many areas begin to reopen, businesses will need to adapt once more and adjust to the still-pending, post-pandemic normal.
Recovery from the impact of COVID-19 means something different to every business. Some will reopen their offices and stores while others choose to remain remote, but every business will need to assess long-term effects of the crisis, continue to support their employees, connect with their customers, and increase cash flow to survive in a recovering economy.
Here are three actions you can take as you develop your business recovery strategy and start the rebuilding process.
The plans you set for your business at the beginning of the year likely no longer apply. Look no further than your fellow small businesses or competitors to see changes.
GetApp found that 54% of small businesses moved products, services, and events online to reach their customers during the outbreak.
These businesses are just beginning their digital transformation, but not even natively digital small businesses have been immune to the challenges of new consumer buying habits and supply chain limitations.
Though the crisis was experienced globally, different industries experienced its effects to varying degrees. When many businesses were considering layoffs and furloughs, companies like Amazon were hiring to meet surges in demand (full research available to Gartner clients).
Hassan Alnassir, founder and owner of education toy company Premium Joy, said he saw a decrease in sales from his eCommerce shop but an increase in Amazon sales. As a result, he adjusted his approach.
“I decided to focus more resources on promoting my product listings through Amazon paid ads to further boost the high sales there."
—Hassan Alnassir, Founder/Owner of Premium Joy
Take action: Compare your projections for the year against data from the last few months. Look at new trends that have emerged, including new buying habits, supply chain limitations, and new customer demands.
The recovery phase of a crisis tends to focus more on reallocating resources rather than cutting them fully (full research available to Gartner clients).
While 34% of small businesses in recent GetApp research said their main focus is cutting costs, 59% of small businesses expressed a need for new software to accommodate newly remote teams.
Like your peers, you may need to invest in different areas such as project collaboration and web conferencing to support new business demands.
Take Brian Robben, CEO of digital marketing agency Robben Media, as an example. These days, he's investing more in search engine optimization (SEO) by spending less on paid ads. By turning his focus to SEO and creating valuable content for his audience, Robben hopes to build a strong web presence and grow organic traffic to his business.
“We all saw how businesses who rely on in-person activity got crushed during the shutdown, whereas digital-first companies thrived. Our goal is that we do everything in our power to show up on Google when a prospect is looking for our advertising services.”
—Brian Robben, CEO of Robben Media
Take action: Identify new priorities as you reassess your business plan. List your current resources and readjust how you spend these resources to support your new priorities.
Once you figure out how your business will change for the rest of the year, let your customers know what to expect and how they can reach you.
Digital marketing expert Tom Spicky suggests being active on social media to connect with customers. If you’re planning on reopening your business, share on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter how you will approach reopening while keeping customers and employees safe.
You can also use social media to let people know how things are changing and preemptively answer questions like the following:
What new service offerings or products do you have, if any?
If you're offering delivery, how will your drivers follow social distancing best practices?
Is there a no-contact policy?
Are there additional payment options to make socially distant transactions easier?
Have your hours changed?
Has your contact information changed, or have you added new ways for customers to reach you?
“People are likely to buy from you if they see you're implementing health safety measures and convenient options."
—Tom Spicky, Digital Marketing Expert
Take action: Customers won't know what services you’re offering, if you’re reopening, or how you’re changing your business to better serve their needs unless you tell them. Let people know, specifically, what you’re doing to ensure their safety and that of your employees.
To learn more about how to start your business’ recovery strategy, visit GetApp’s resource hub for updates on remote work best practices and business continuity best practices.