Completely unprepared and unaware of the pandemic coming many businesses in 2020 have to deal with loss. With passing days and months businesses now are habituated to the new normal. As the lockdown in many countries has been lifted, the question arises that “will the upgraded business adjustments implemented in these past few months continue to impact the future?”
To ensure that the new strategies and adaptability is good to carry through next year or not? Here is the list of strategies that will thrive in 2021:
Analyze Your Business
The first question business owners have to ask them-self is “how bad has their business been hit due to the crisis?”. When analyzing, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to be pragmatic about the business’s current status and its future outlook.
The most vital step in analyzing the business is tracking finances. Following the same old business finance strategy won’t result in success. Business owners might have to cut costs in certain sectors due to the financial loss faced last year. But now with things gradually coming back to normal, owners need to reconsider the flow of capital in the required sectors.
It won’t be easy for reconsidering or undoing the capital flow of business. Rather than traditional bank loans fortunately the new year will come up with modish opportunities to get funding.
Crowdfunding will still be a modern way of getting funded. Business owners should thoroughly research websites/platforms which give the opportunity to apply for crowdfunding. However, crowdfunding platforms are very competitive as your business idea needs to be pleasing and appealing to the people who are probably non-investors by profession.
Another method of funding business is through venture capital. This funding method can only be considered if business owners are willing to share ownership or give some active role to venture capitalists (VCs) in return for their funding. Getting funding from VCs depends a lot on how you pitch your idea.
A sensible option to get business sales up and run the business smoothly from the start of 2021 is by stabilizing the finance of your business.
Strengthen the Online Presence
While forced to live the social distancing and quarantine life-style in 2020 it is clear that people are browsing the internet like never before. There is no mystery that the online presence of the business boosts up brand awareness like no other strategy.
The first step toward strengthening the online presence of your business is to optimize the website. All the online marketing and sales strategy will land potential customers to your website. Probably your business might already have an optimized website for desktop but often websites perform poorly on small screens i.e on smartphones and tablets. Therefore entrepreneurs should also make sure to optimize a website for small screen users.
The next step to strengthen the online presence of your business is through social media platforms. As there are many social media platforms, entrepreneurs are required to choose the right social media platform relevant to their business niche. Hiring a social media influencer for promoting your brand is a thriving strategy that will not fade in the coming years.
With the transformation of normal life to a quarantined life-style, a wave of the digital era has been introduced and there is no better time than 2021 to strengthen the online presence of your business.
React to Customer’s Change in Priority
A superior entrepreneur knows that the customer’s needs have been altered due to the world pandemic. Even though the lockdown is lifted in many countries people hesitate to go out, they shop online in the comfort of their homes.
It’s just not about online shopping, people might also discontinue using prior products. The best solution to deal with the loss of customers is by offering products or services that meet customers at home necessity. Well, all businesses can’t practically offer home necessity products or services. In such a scenario a brand can offer a trial version of their product/service which is deliverable to the home or can be used portably.
Before reacting to customer’s changes and including innovative solutions for your product/service make sure to read the customer’s feedback first. Taking a look at feedback will bring clarity to new challenges and also highlight areas in need of change.
Most businesses’ minor and major decisions are based on meetings and the gut instinct of the owner. Instead, entrepreneurs should study and work on customer’s feedback which will lead to data-driven decision making.
No doubt that diversifying offerings will ensure that your business has the potential to help even more customers and reach new audiences.
Adapt to Remote Working
The 2020 crisis has caused many business owners to rethink their business accommodation. Before the year 2020 if we ask business owners “will you adopt remote working for your business?”. A clear ‘NO!’ would have been the answer. But the pandemic has made entrepreneurs realize the advantages of working from home.
Remote working makes employees happy as they will have a healthier balance between professional and personal life. Therefore, employees will be more productive. If you are a business owner you no more have to pay for the office snacks/drinks, the electricity bill will lower, and office space will be reduced which will lead to saving rent-money.
The most advantageous attribute of remote working is that entrepreneurs can hire from any corner of the country or world! It is worth investing time in building a talented and dedicated team as it’s the team that takes your business to the next level.
Nevertheless, remote working cannot be adopted by every business. Surely some departments of the business can be shifted to working from home even permanently.
Lastly, we may say that making remote working possible for your business is the way to go in 2021.
Leverage Personalization in Online Marketing
Personalization is the best way to target potential customers as well as to retarget existing customers. That’s why personalization is a huge business growth trend in online marketing.
The first step for personalization is to do customer segmentation. The segmentation may vary according to the business type like age category, gender, first-time visitor, regular customer, etc.
Here is the list of online marketing strategies where you can add a touch of personalization:
- Display Advertisement
Marketers nowadays are making use of new ways to implement display ads that involve the application of personalization and AI, the advertiser calls it “programmatic advertisement”. Programmatic ads aren’t easy to understand but in simple words, it makes use of data stored while you browse different websites commonly termed as cookies.
Small businesses should spend marketing capital on display ads as they can advertise based on a specific targeted location.
Your business website might already have different ways of collecting email IDs. If not, the basic approach for collecting email IDs is to add a short form filling process commonly termed as a pop-up. Users have to fill this pop-up before they access the complete blog, newsletter, or any premium tool.
We already mentioned the importance of customer segmentation, and here is the most crucial application of its “email marketing”. Customer segmentation will assist you to send different email templates to various grouped customers. An email without being personalized has no value because on average a person receives more than fifty emails per day! That’s why customers expect the brand to talk with them separately.
Entrepreneurs should not forget that emails are the finest method of promoting discounts, sales, or any other important brand-related offer.
- Social Media
Social media in the passage of the last five years has become one of the foremost significant elements of brand awareness by application of personalization. Personalization is the key to connecting with your customers and building a personal relationship on various social media platforms.
- Content Marketing
An optimized content strategy is not defined by just high-quality content but also it should involve a touch of personalization. You must connect emotionally to customers through the content you write in the form of an article/blog. It can be possibly done by adding photos of yourself, friends, team, or family.
We may conclude that the touch of personalization leads to a more trustworthy relationship between a business and its potential customers.
No matter how harsh the crisis has hit the business environment in 2020, new businesses keep on emerging and the competition in the marketplace has not decreased a bit. Your business might have to face loss in 2020 which probably means you are losing out on new business. Contradicting this, possibly your competitors had to deal with more loss than your business so it may be your turn to gain ground over them!
Coping up with digital automation will also assist your business to be ahead of competitors. Artificial Intelligence(AI) is majorly influencing business strategies nowadays.
AI can collect a huge amount of data in a short period of time. Later this collected data can be used for personalizing the purchase experience. The most popular example of using AI in business is Chatbots.
As an entrepreneur you should keep an eye on competitor’s business affairs, this will boost up your chance to outsmart them.
Wrapping Up: Implement, Analyze & Revise
2020 has been a year of the pandemic which had a bad influence on the business environment, but that doesn’t mean that 2021 has to follow suit.
Planning for 2021 may seem like shooting in the dark, but strategically following the steps of analyzing the business, strengthening the online presence, prioritizing customer’s needs, adapting working from home, leveraging online marketing, and tracking competitors regularly will ensure that your business can overcome the loss and be prepared for potential challenges ahead in 2021.
Mark Burke is a blogger and a business consultant in Alcor, a global investment bank. Mark is passionate about researching the latest small business and marketing trends. He loves writing informative blog posts to help small business owners and startup founders in their entrepreneurial journey.