Saying that the pandemic has caused job loss is an understatement. The increasing unemployment rate is just one part of the global economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic brought. But along with all the long-term employment problems arising, an increase in the growth of online businesses has also emerged.
According to a study by Growth Intelligence, at the height of the lockdown last year, the pandemic resulted in the creation of more than 85,000 online businesses in the UK alone. People used their time cooped up at home to find inspiration, pursue passion projects, and find ways to earn on their own.
But like most things, starting a business is usually the easy and exciting part. A year and a half into the pandemic and keeping up with everyone is starting to get harder. However, you don’t have to worry because here are eight ways to keep your online business thriving as the world faces the “new normal”.
REFLECT AND ADJUST
Reassess your performance
Go back to your plans and check if you’ve met all your goals. Knowing your weaknesses as early as possible will be beneficial for your growth. Strengthen your brand identity by highlighting what your market responds to the most.
There are many tools that you can use to measure your digital marketing performance. These tools can track sales, consumer trends, and social media traffic. You can also monitor your website or social media page’s readability and market engagement. All the data that you need to help you make sound business adjustments are at the palm of your hands. Use them well and revamp your online enterprise.
INNOVATE AND SERVE
Identify your target market’s needs before them
Products and services can easily lose relevance. As new online businesses pop up daily, ideas will start appearing similar. Making your business stand out should be the goal months after its establishment.
Focus on market engagement and use it to evolve. Learn to identify your target market’s problems with your particular niche. Knowing their issues with the industry can help you offer new solutions. Find out what your consumers dislike about your product. By adjusting your product according to their feedback, you’d be giving them a sense of belongingness. And buyers who feel like they are being heard tend to stay loyal.
SAVE AND INVEST
Do not mix business with pleasure
One of the most common problems business owners encounter is poor financial management. As the popular business expression goes, “don’t get high on your supply”. Start by opening a bank account for your business. Checking the cash flow regularly is also a must. Prioritize handling invoices and bookkeeping. And most importantly, avoid spending your business funds for personal reasons.
Invest in your future by saving
Save enough capital for upscaling and emergencies. Create a system where you can clearly define which amount goes to what goal. By doing this, your finances aren’t only secured but also optimized for improvement.
Hire professional help
Handling business accounting and taxes can be quite overwhelming for most people. It is common and there’s nothing wrong with that. Getting good financial or fiduciary advice from business accountants and financial advisors can help your business’s sustainability and growth.
DELEGATE AND LEAD
Understand the value of your time
With a few months under your belt, you have already proven that you can handle the business. But that doesn’t mean you have to handle it alone. Assess the parts of your business that are costing you too much time and build a small team to handle them. Hire people who can work remotely and also be on call.
Keep in mind that as much as skills matter, trust should be the foundation you’d build this team on. By focusing on their personal history and personalities you can effectively choose people you know you can trust and count on.
Be a leader
Experts are not born. Training people to do the job is part of your responsibilities as the owner. Start by giving them simple tasks like quality checks and customer interaction. Assess their performances and help them grow. Avoid micromanaging and give them a balance of freedom and guidance. The goal is to have your operations running smoothly even without you.
Conduct employee satisfaction surveys and talk about their answers and feedback one-on-one. Make them feel relevant by listening to what they have to say. Conduct training sessions where they can discuss business and employee-related problems and let them think of solutions amongst themselves. This gives them a chance to reflect and improve. And by doing this, you’re also giving yourself a chance to assess your employees’ leadership skills.
There will always be risks in having your own business. There will always be mistakes along the way. But to be successful, you must understand the risk, learn from your mistakes, and continue persevering. Because you’ll never really lose until you give up.