One of the top ten reasons that small businesses fail is due to cash flow — and the pressure is being heightened by the necessary measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to help women-owned small and medium businesses in Canada stay afloat — and stay positive — during this difficult time. Here are four things you can be doing to help your business.
1) Focus on e-commerce, telesales, and virtual offerings
If you have the capacity to complete online orders, let your customers know that they can still get their favourite items from the comfort of their home. If you don’t have e-commerce in place, can you take orders over the phone? Either way, make sure your website and social channels clearly and simply direct customers on what’s available and how to make a purchase.
And now might be a good time to consider expanding digitally, from adding e-commerce to getting creative with your offerings. What products or services can you deliver virtually?
If your business truly doesn’t lend itself to a virtual offering, use this time to review your strategy and your next steps. How can you come back with a bang when we’re through the worst of the restrictions (as the saying goes, This too shall pass)? Can you consider new opportunities? Can you look into novel ways to grow and promote your business?
2) Make gift cards available
Gift cards are a great way to keep cash flow positive through the next 1-2 months. Make it easy with a digital purchasing option, that customers can use themselves or gift to their friends and family. It can help your business now and in the future, when it’s finally time to gather collectively again.
While we’re normally used to seeing this for restaurants, spas, and other consumer services, don’t limit yourself to what’s normal. Anything you can offer in future — photography, in-person coaching, stylist sessions — can be made into a gift certificate or voucher. You may want to consider a discount as an incentive for buying these services in advance.
3) Focus on your community engagement
Have you wanted to improve your social media presence or start writing a newsletter, but always felt like you didn’t have enough time? Well, now is your chance. You can use these channels to engage with your customers, keep them up to date, or spark some joy. Don’t be afraid to throw out the script and get vulnerable with them, share in their frustrations, and try to bring light to their days.
There is a lot of noise right now, so we think the best approach is authentic and supportive. Ask yourself, how can I help? At WOI, we’re doing just that: we have launched an Instagram highlights series dedicated to supporting small businesses. Send us a DM or email with your Instagram handle and we will feature you.
4) Learn from other entrepreneurs.
Not sure how to handle this new normal? Connect with other entrepreneurs in your network, or reach out to make new connections in your industry or area of business. Someone may have a bright idea that you can also apply to your own company.
If you don’t have these connections (and even if you do), check out our new hub for entrepreneurs adapting to a new normal. Through virtual events and articles, we’re asking leading entrepreneurs from across the country the same question: What now? You’ll get candid and actionable advice on finances, connectivity, brand messaging, pivoting, and more.