As states across the country start talking about “reopening America,” small-business owners find themselves pivoting their business models almost overnight. With the reality of a new normal setting in in a post-COVID world, small businesses now have to adapt to the changes this pandemic has created for consumer behaviors and supply chains around the world. Here are a few ways the pandemic has changed the way we do business today:
- As more consumers get used to the idea of buying almost everything online, small-business owners need to have resilient systems to handle surges in online purchasing and protecting data.
- Small-business owners need to think of new ways to create positive and safe experiences with their customers so they will feel confident to shop again once the threat of the virus recedes.
- We have entered the virtual era and it impacts everyone. The pandemic has blurred the lines between work and home life. Anything that can be done virtually will be done virtually.
- Every business will need to have a public health plan for their workers and customers. Shopping and health experiences will go hand in hand. Small businesses will need to play a part in a healthy ecosystem to be a winner in the new economy.
- As more people stay home, home spending will rise. Our homes will be our workplaces, and it will be important to make sure our little nest is comfortable. Small businesses that will rise in a post-COVID economy will need to consider more carefully what consumers and workers need to make their home comfortable, productive and safe.
- To stand out, small businesses will need to invest in becoming authorities within their industry. Customers will depend on credible recommendations to make smart purchasing decisions and small business owners will need to think about how to provide confidence in their service or product, whether it is certifications, offering video education or partnerships.
- Online commerce will be priority. The winners will be small businesses that have a digital commerce mindset and grow their existing offerings online.
- Excellent customer service will be the differentiator between a business that is compassionate or indifferent. This does not seem like a new idea but, with the current emotional state of consumers and workers, adds to the challenge. And uncovering new ways to take care of workers and customers today will present small businesses with new opportunities to innovate and grow.
- Leadership has taken a deeper meaning in business. Our workers and customers are now discovering an unfamiliar world and it is changing faster than ever. Small-business leaders will need to build on their emotional intelligence skills to handle uncertainty responsibly and lead their business with confidence, even when the business owner does not have all the answers.
- Employers will need to redefine work benefits. The reality of the new workplace has changed, and workers will need guidance and support to adapt. Many companies are investing in redesigning compensation packages to include home-office expenses, flexible work schedules and virtual work environment systems.
As the plans to reopen the economy in America unfold, small-business owners will need to do their research on how find new clients, how to sell in new ways, understand how supply chains impact their bottom line, and how to protect their workers in a post-COVID world. Many argue the changes are good, but “good” for a small-business owner is a relative term.