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Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses

Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses

From the moment COVID19 was declared a global pandemic by the WHO, most of the population felt its effect in many aspects of their lives. Although the focus is on people’s health and reducing the number of infected and those who succumb to this virus is the priority, we can’t stay immune to the consequences the pandemic has brought to our financial status.

Small businesses are among those who experienced a huge blow in terms of doing business and making profit during these challenging times. Curfews and social distancing harmed businesses, which are now trying to adapt to this new situation. While some small companies are open to remote operation and their employees can work from home, others simply are not in the position to simply switch to online business. Small businesses must act swiftly and take advantage of the situation in any way they can to buffer the negative impact.

The consequences

Around the 16th of March, employees were working 20% less than usual, and that percentage went to almost 70% two weeks after the global pandemic had been announced. Consequently, employees in small business reduced their working hours significantly, especially in larger cities where the virus hit the hardest. By the time the second week of pandemic ended, more than 50% of small business completely closed, ceasing all operations. The “non-essential” businesses are in the biggest trouble, as their services are not necessarily due to social distancing.

How to stay on top of it

If your small business can operate online (partially or completely), it’s important to keep everything need and be updated on an everyday basis.

Re-check your accounts

You need to know how the changes affect your paid search and paid social accounts. There may be changes in impression and click volumes, as well as in costs.

People’s focus will inevitably change (actually, it already has), so you need to check drops in traffic in Google Ads and Google Analytics. There will probably be a certain drop in clicks, impressions, and conversions.

You should also be more attentive to comments on your Instagram and Facebook page posts. There is a lot of misinformation and panic-inducing comments that could turn your customers away. So, make sure there are no fear-spreading comments on your social media pages.

Adjust your marketing strategy

This is not the time to stop advertising – on the contrary, you should boost your online advertising because now everybody is online most of the day, working or simply killing time, especially on social media.

First of all, be aware of the current demand – people are advised to wash their hands often, to use sanitizers, cleaning wipes, and other similar products. In case your small business has some of the currently needed items on stock, it’s the right time to hire a pay per click agency and make your products visible online to wider audiences. Also, don’t let your online offer to include items you don’t have available at the moment. exclude those products from your campaign and focus on what you have and what’s important to your customers.

Frequent communication

You will manage to hold on to your clients if you maintain frequent and direct communication with them. As a small business owner, you should try to establish trust in these difficult times, both with your current and potential customers. Be available through email, as well as on web on your social media page.

In case it’s necessary to postpone or cease some activities, a refund or rescheduling will show your customers you understand their position and you value their time and money. Be there for your clients in time of uncertainty. If your business is affected by the pandemic, you should update your working hours with a description and explanation in your business profile. Let your customers know when exactly they can reach you and your company, and make sure you update any changes in your services in a timely manner. The updates will be directly added to details on your company in Google Maps and Search.

Piece of advice to the travel industry

In case you are in the travel and tourism industry, you know that situation is changing day after day. Nothing is for sure in most of the countries around the world – high-risk countries are completely off the grid when it comes to travelling there, and many countries banned non-essential travel outside their borders.

However, there is a high demand right now in cheap flights, especially in the USA. Searches like “cheap flights due to corona” have increased by astonishing 2,450%. What’s the secret? Even though many people can’t travel right now due to closed borders and curfews, they are already thinking ahead, considering to buy tickets for travelling when all the bans are gone. So, it would be smart to focus your strategy on future travels. The long-term planning will pay off here. You could advertise and offer trips and activities in areas that are marked as low-risk. Make it more informative by providing content on activities and places that are still regarded as safe. Include long-term travel in your offer – 2021 doesn’t sound so far away right now when the next few months are considered to be risky for travelling. Plus, people want to be entertained and planning future holidays and fun activities will keep their minds off the unfortunate situation we all have found ourselves in.

Stay informed

Finally, the fact is that every day brings news and the situation is ever-changing. Also, the internet is filled with misinformation, half-facts, and intentional horrifying comments and lies.

It’s of utmost importance to stay updated and to keep track of only reliable sources of information, for your own sake and the sake of your business. Monitoring the situation will enable you to adapt your business strategy to the current conditions and general demand. By adapting fast and effectively, your small business will survive and recuperate after COVID-19 is under control and things go back to normal.

Stella Ryne

Stella Ryne is an art historian, social media manager, conscious consumer and a proud mother. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book. Stay in touch with Stella via Twitter and  Facebook.

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