It’s been one year since our lives got flipped, turned upside down (yes, this is a Fresh Prince reference).
The current pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we live and move and for many of us, it’s also had a huge impact on the growth of our businesses.
Sales have slowed or come to a screeching halt, and all the work you’ve put in the last few months, even years, can start to feel pointless.
It is estimated that there are over 2.3 million small businesses in South Africa, providing jobs to over 5.8 million people. Studies show that since the beginning of the pandemic, 95% of small businesses have reported not being able to pay their employees at some point, while 50% of small business owners have said that they do not believe their business will survive.
As a small business owner myself, I’ve been through all the motions. Panic. Anxiety. Sadness. Frustration. And finally, determination.
I believe in the value that this business brings. And I’m determined to do all I can to help this business and the people it serves, survive this pandemic.
So today I thought I’d share 3 simple things I’ve been doing, that you can also do for your business during (weird) this time.
1. Make more content
With everyone now forced to spend more time at home, we have all had to find new ways to entertain ourselves. And for most people, that’s meant consuming more content.
Be it TV, Netflix, YouTube or even Instagram - screen time all the world has increased.
And at this point, no one is interested in the news or Covid numbers anymore.
This means that there is an opportunity and space for content creators to create more content. And that’s exactly what you should be doing.
Even if your business operations have slowed down during this time, giving your consumers regular quality content will firstly, help grow your community, and also keep you top of mind. And this will position you well.
2. Build and prioritise community
I’ve mentioned before that one of the things that I can attribute to the success of iZULU is community support.
We are an e-commerce business that is built entirely on other business owners buying into our vision and choosing to collaborate with us to build something that serves us all.
The point here is, community is vital!
By now, we all know that small businesses have felt the impact of this crisis the most, so I can guarantee that there are tons of other local business owners who are in the same position as you and are feeling the pinch.
So I’d suggest doing two things:
One, reach out to other business owners and let them know that you love and support their business and are there to offer help by becoming a sounding board for them, offering up your services to them for free or at a discount, or even collaborating with them.
Secondly, think of ways to connect meaningfully with your consumers. We’ve all been impacted in some way and having a brand show genuine care for the people who support it goes a long way in building and retaining your customer base.
3. Work on your business
Often we spend a lot of time working IN our business and not working ON our business.
We busy ourselves with staying on top of admin and client output and all those other things that a necessary to keep a business running.
But what we don’t give enough time to is making our businesses better.
We probably all have a little more time on our hands right now and we should try to use it to work ON our businesses.
This could look like building automation into the work you do to help streamline your business. Or putting specific processes into place to help make managing your tasks easier.
It could also mean relooking your marketing or content strategies and seeing how you can make your communications more impactful. Or setting goals and mapping out how you intend on achieving them.
You can never really “arrive” and this means that you can always make your business better in some way.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and will play a key part in rebuilding our country when all of this has ended. While the past year has presented very many challenges, I encourage you to hang in there and to keep looking forward.