While COVID-19 may have thrown a wrench into small businesses ’ plans this year, the good news is there are plenty of strategies that you can still use to grow your small business in 2021. These include strategies that will work around the restrictions the pandemic has placed on businesses of all shapes and sizes since it’s a reality we’ll be dealing with at least at the beginning of next year.
In honor of Small Business Saturday fast approaching, let’s take a look at six different ways you can grow your business into 2021 and beyond.
1. Leverage Small Business Saturday to Your Benefit
This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 28th. Remind your friends and family that you have a small business they can support, send out email campaigns, and even paid advertising campaigns promoting any Small Business Saturday deals that you’re offering. This is an excellent chance for businesses to attract new customers and set themselves up for success as we move into 2021.
Remember to have re-engagement campaigns up and running after Small Business Saturday so you can retain new customers that you’re able to attract long-term. The benefits don’t only have to be for one day!
2. Consider Offering Contactless Options
As much as we all wish it would, COVID isn’t going to disappear the second the clock strikes midnight and 2021 begins. Offering contactless service options (if you don’t already) will continue to be a crucial differentiator for many customers who are still concerned about safety.
If you already offer contactless and socially-distanced options for your business, keep it up! These are services plenty of customers are looking for and a great way to set yourself apart.
When you do offer contactless options, list them clearly on a dedicated page on your website explaining how they work. If you can list other safety measures your business is taking during the pandemic, even better.
3. Focus On Personalized Customer Service
“Good” customer service somehow isn’t quite enough anymore; you need to have exceptional customer service to stand out from the competition and really increase retention rates.
The great news, though, is that exceptional, personalized customer service is always a worthwhile investment, as customers are retained significantly longer and are willing to pay more for brands who are able to provide a strong customer experience. They’re also more likely to recommend you to their peers.
Having a strong CRM and a well-trained customer support team with the flexibility to help customers as they see fit are key to personalized service.
4. Look for Partnership Opportunities
Strategic partnerships with other small businesses can be an outstanding way to help both of you grow.
It’s not uncommon for an eCommerce business, for example, to have a referral partnership with another online brand with complementary products. They trade referrals back and forth, and both have grown exponentially as a result.
Customers often see and purchase from small business partnerships. Consider what businesses around you would have members of the same target audience, and reach out to see if there’s a potential opportunity to work together.
5. Have Strong Standard Operating Procedures for Internal Teams
Here’s something most businesses overlook: You can’t grow your business externally if your internal teams aren’t set up to scale well. Even if you’re able to attract new customers, disaster can strike if your team isn’t equipped to handle the incoming volume.
It’s essential, therefore, to have your time primed for success and ready to scale, even if most of them are working remotely in the meantime. Putting strong, clear standard operating procedures in place for your employees has never been more important, especially with so many working from home.
Take advantage of communication tools like Slack and virtual business phone systems so that your team can stay connected from anywhere. You should also look into project management software like Trello or Asana so everyone can stay on the same page.
When your team is ready to scale, only then your business can scale without major growing pains.
6. Take Advantage of Peer Recommendations
This is such a seemingly small detail, but it can have a major impact. How many reviews does your business have right now on Google? On Facebook, and Yelp?
When you want to grow your small business, word-of-mouth advertising in the form of reviews and direct referrals are everything.
Reviews can help you increase your ranking in search engines, giving you more visibility for customers who are actively searching for you. And since reviews are highly trusted and taken into consideration when users are making buying decisions, they carry an enormous amount of weight.
Similarly, referrals are the most trusted type of marketing, just slightly edging out reviews. If you have an official referral program going for your business, your happy customers are even more likely to recommend friends, family, and peers become clients, too.
Asking for reviews and setting up referral programs are quick, easy, and inexpensive, and they can yield exceptional payoff.
If you want to grow your small business, there are plenty of ways to do so — even during a pandemic. Ultimately, putting the customer’s needs at the center of what you do will always be crucial, and combining that with a strong internal organization structure and new methods of gaining exposure to high-value clients is key.
Take some time to consider which of these changes and growth strategies could help your small business so you can put them in place to hit the ground running in 2021.