The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire economy, but small family businesses have arguably suffered the most throughout the last year. Small family businesses don't have the infrastructure or cash savings to weather economic storms like this, as well as larger corporations.
However, small family businesses can still adapt to the pandemic and even come out on the other side more innovative and efficient than ever before. Let's break down how your small family business can adapt to the pandemic with a few smart strategies.
Preserve Cash if Possible
One great idea that applies both in good times and bad times is saving money. Rather than looking to expand their operations, small family businesses should try to save money during this period.
It's a good idea, in part, to make sure that your business can survive until the pandemic is fully controlled (as full vaccination and herd immunity is still some months away). But it's also wise so you can start building up cash reserves for any other future economic downturn.
Events like COVID-19 are rare. But they're not unique. There will eventually be another pandemic. The only question is when it will hit.
Streamline/Reinvent Delivery Processes
Small family businesses should also leverage AI and software technology more than their larger counterparts. Specifically, these companies should look into delivery software for small businesses to help them optimize their delivery routes and ensure that each customer gets what they ordered ASAP.
Using AI and delivery streamlining software provides a few major benefits:
If you don't already have a delivery team, consider building one (although saving cash may take priority in the short term). Product delivery is more important than ever before, both due to COVID-19 and an increased customer expectation for prompt delivery due to Amazon and similar businesses.
Innovate! Take Advantage of New Opportunities
But developing your own delivery team is just one form of innovation. You should practice innovation overall during this pandemic.
Small family businesses should take this opportunity to pivot to a more successful business model, especially since many of the economic developments COVID-19 has inspired are likely here to stay. As mentioned, increased reliance on delivery is one example.
But faceless shopping is another good example. For instance, your small business could still service customers even if they don't come into the store by leveraging telecommunication software adequate to make sales. Then a delivery team could bring a customer's order right to their door.
These are just a few hypothetical scenarios. But the greater lesson is that small family businesses should attempt to look for and take advantage of new opportunities rather than just wait out the market downturn.
Plan for the Future
This advice almost goes without saying; small businesses should plan for the future as the pandemic will eventually end. Your business may sharply increase once people are no longer worried about going outside their homes, so you may need to budget for new hires or re-hires in the immediate future.
Communicate with Customers
Lastly, small family businesses are better positioned to adapt to the pandemic by communicating directly with their customers compared to larger corporations. Smaller businesses usually have more direct connections with their customers anyway, but your family business can leverage this to keep customers at your store instead of a competitor in this trying time.
You can also communicate with your customers to ensure your business grows back to its previous activity once the pandemic ends. Regardless, make sure you explain all of your decisions and adaptations to your core user base as early as possible. It's the best way to show them that you're transparent and working toward their satisfaction as best as you can.
WRITTEN BYClaire Ward