4 Tips to Overcome the Impact of COVID-19 in the Long Run

The spread of COVID-19 has spared few businesses or individuals from worry and financial distress. With markets teetering on the brink of recession, many business owners have spent significant time and energy trying to revive their businesses using short-term tactics to deliver immediate revenue and a chance of survival. But this is not a winning approach.

Businesses seeking long-term success need to adopt an opposing mindset of ‘survive and thrive,’ holding two unique points of view. On one hand, they need to take a longer-term view to devise strategies that consider the current and ever-changing marketplace. And on the other, they need to quickly adapt with in-the-moment tactics to respond to a volatile business environment. The ability to hold both points of view simultaneously will be key to sustaining the business over the short-term while establishing a foundation for long-term growth and sustainability.

To help get you to shore up your business in the near term while focusing on building your business for the long haul, here are four tips on how to overcome the impact of COVID-19 in the long run.

1. Create a strategy to monetize big seasonal events

One way to begin long-term planning is to spot lucrative opportunities and devise unique ways to engage with your customers and drive more sales. While working to adjust to the uncertain market, you must not lose sight of the opportunities present in seasonal events like Back To School, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, etc. These seasonal occurrences trigger demand for a wide range of products and services that will require longer-term planning to maximize your sales opportunities.

With the fluctuating conditions within the market, planning for these upcoming events will require more time than you usually account for. The ability to include some future-thinking, flexibility and creativity will play a large role in experiencing success during these key selling periods. After all, the pandemic has affected many consumers’ earnings and will certainly alter consumer spending behaviors in the coming months. As a result, you will need to introduce revised customer service and marketing strategies that encourage them to spend their dollars with you.

You can revise your strategies by practicing a new approach when building emotional connections between your brand and audience. Then, leverage this connection during sales events to encourage more purchases. By priming your audience emotionally, you can increase the preference for your brand and, in turn, your products and services. This can generate significant long-term results and draw in considerable paybacks than short-term efforts alone.

2. Build contingency plans based on different scenarios

When planning long term strategies, bear in mind that the future is always uncertain, and given that the marketplace is volatile and ever-changing, it will be essential to remain observant and flexible. To ensure your response to new outcomes is fluid and seamless, you’ll need to prepare contingency plans based on different possibilities. By this we mean considering various scenarios and how they will impact your business. You’ll need to devise a plan that allows you to take advantage of the situation or protect your business against losses.

Recognizing the changes that could impact your business and the willingness to quickly adapt to multiple scenarios will provide options.

Some future possibilities you could plan for are:

a. Conducting business under continued restrictions or new restrictions.

b. Returning to business as it was before the pandemic.

c. Moving forward with a “new normal” when it comes to doing business.

d. New conditions that could have not been predicted

While preparing for these probabilities, try your best to keep your plans flexible and think of ways to adapt to unforeseen changes in customer or market behavior. If you already have a long-term plan, review it on a regular basis and adjust to accommodate the current market circumstances. When you’re through, ask yourself if your plan still aligns with the current market conditions and if you still feel prepared. If you doubt that you are, don’t be afraid to revise your plans and see where you can adjust until you have a level of comfort in your plans. Anytime there is a sizable event that causes a shift in the market, you should review your long-term plan to evaluate if additional changes need to be made.

3. Weave short-term tactics into your long-term strategy

It may seem like a good idea to focus on short-term efforts due to the highly unpredictable nature of the market, but it could be detrimental to the long-term viability of your business. We’re not saying that you need to stop short-term efforts, you just need to ensure that short-term efforts ladder up to your long-term plans, where possible. Ensure that you allocate enough effort to navigating the current storm while setting a course to endure over a longer period of time. Your short-term efforts will provide stability, while your long-term efforts will provide the ability to move ahead and succeed.

One approach is to ensure your short-term tactics are designed and implemented in a way to support your long-term goals. For example, as physical distancing has become socialized into the collective psyche, many consumers have become comfortable with using online alternatives to acquire products and services. To meet this requirement, launching or enhancing your business’ online presence makes sense. Your long-term plan would be to make the investment that will allow you to take advantage of this market condition, and your short-term strategy will focus on the promotional efforts to raise awareness among your clients and prospects of your capability of transacting in the digital channel of their choosing.

4. Seek professional help with your long-term strategies

One of the best long-term strategies you can employ is to continue or increase your investment in marketing. As in-person social activities have decreased, online activities have surged, creating the opportunity for your brand to be found by your target within the digital channels. The ongoing need for goods and services is not going to die down anytime soon, people will continue buying. To get them to consider your business, an investment in marketing to raise awareness for your offering will be essential. As the marketplace adapts to restrictions, consumers will be seeking options via digital. This will create opportunities for those small businesses whose continued digital marketing efforts will place them at the top of the customer’s mind.

You recognize that Marketing is a vital function of your business. As a small business, you may find it challenging to focus on running the day-to-day operations and pulling together and executing marketing plans. You know you don’t have the financial resources to hire an in-house team and trying to figure out how to market your business on your own presents a steep learning curve. To save your time and effort, consider partnering with Staples Powered by Webware, the all-in-one digital marketing solution for small businesses. A unique combination of expertise, tools, and support that gets digital marketing working for small businesses. Their team of experts will guide your business through each phase of the process to launch a complete digital solution focused on generating quality leads, closing more deals and encouraging repeat business. Once you have launched, the team will manage your ongoing online marketing efforts for a low monthly cost. This complete solution reduces the amount of time required to market your business and gives you back precious time to focus on running your business.

To learn more about our services at Staples Powered By Webware, please click here, or get in touch with our experts here.

By Staples Canada

August 17, 2020

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