Global and local businesses have never experienced a global economic impact of the COVID-19 magnitude for over a couple of decades. 2020 is the year in which every business was faced with great socio-economic impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of companies, both big and small, registered a significant decrease in profits, leading to loss and or closure of business during the first two quarters of the year 2020. News headlines can review. Introduction of lockdown restrictions by many nations to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus was the major reason for the great global impact. Travel and gathering restrictions have left many businesses with little options than to close completely. COVID-19 pandemic is yet to become history, as many cases are still being reported on the rise.

Traditional means of doing business required much physical interaction between the customer and the service provider, but now, especially under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, it’s the prime time every business shift to modern means of doing business, adopting the new world order.

How to nurture your business under the COVID-19 pandemic environment

1. Offer exceptional customer and supplier services online

The most important component of every business is the customer. It is when a significant number of customers pay for your services that your business may register profit. A good supply chain is also sacrosanct. You, therefore, need to plan on how your customers and suppliers can still be engaged in business with you, without breaching the COVID-19 safety regulations. E-commerce is a good option for a business to business, business to consumer, and consumer to business transactions over the Internet. Using E-commerce, physical exposure will be minimized without affecting business transactions. The inexpensive delivery system for the delivery of goods to online shoppers’ desired delivery destination is an additional requirement for E-commerce to yield fruitful results.

Besides, you need to nurture your customers and suppliers by keeping in touch with them regularly, alerting them about any new services or products they can access from your business online. Always ensure the timely delivery of useful information that solves your customer and suppliers’ current and long-term problems. If you owe any supplier or customer, be transparent in every way and help them understand your position well in time, if there are any delays on the verge of being experienced. You also need to respect the customer or suppliers preferred communication channel, say, for instance, if the preference is via social media, then you have to put more staff to respond to questions via social media. Design and outline clear communication protocols for staff to cater for crisis management.

You can also host virtual events such as webinars, in which you invite your regular customers and ask them to invite their families and friends. This will go a long way in maintaining relations with your existing customers and bringing new customers to your business.

2. Exercise extreme health and safety measures for both your staff and customers

With this global health emergency crisis underway, health and safety should be everyone’s key priority. If your services can still be run using traditional methods, then the extreme practice of health and safety regulations will be required to prevent the transmission of the novel virus. Strictly observe and enforce social distance and the wearing of safety material such as masks, face shields, and gloves. Hygiene practices such as the washing of hands, disinfection of floors, and door handles/sanitization should remain mandatory to bring an attractive sense of safety to your staff and customers.

If there are services, you can assign people to work from home, then you have to let certain people work remotely to keep the workplace uncongested and minimize operation expenditure. If there are multiple services, a few people can run, then you have to prioritize multi-tasking your employees to reduce the active workforce. You also need to avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket, thus, you need to keep rare skills with contingence, to avoid running short of the certain skilled workforce when there is a health emergency, which requires certain people to be in isolation.

3. Grow your customer base using digital marketing/ social media

Social or digital networks are now one of the most powerful tools for business promotion to potential customers. You can take advantage of idle minds on social networks by advertising all your products and services through social media platforms. You can also implement online chat tools for customers or suppliers to ask and get feedback seamlessly. Through social listening, you can gain valuable insight into what people are saying about your business, their social behaviour, keywords, and trends that relate to your target market. Through social listening, you can also get to know about products or services which other businesses are failing to provide and venture on new business services. This can help you remodel your business to improve customer experience. RCIEEN is one of the business networks you need to build your profile and attract new customers. You get listed for free digital marketing to your target customers through our social media farm.

3. Join virtual business networking events

Hosting virtual business events is one thing, and taking part in other business events is another thing. Business networks help you get linked to other businesses. In business, it’s not all about what you know but also what other people (such as your competitors) know and who you know, so you need to sacrifice time to build your business network to learn and benefit from others. Try to understand how succeeding businesses are operating and implement working strategies they are doing differently, especially if the model best fits your business. If you are using a different model, then try to customize to suit your business requirements. RCIEEN is one of your perfect partners to help you link up with suppliers of cheaper but quality raw materials, service providers, and customers. Our business network is brand new, it will start with you and swiftly include all the others.

4. Give generously to your workforce and the community in need

To be a successful person in life, you need not think all about yourself benefiting, but develop a social heart and understand the needs of others. I have seen many headlines with businesses ending employment contracts of workers or sending them on unpaid leave to reduce salary expenditure, which is an inhuman practice. Your workforce is part of your extended family. The best practice is to cut down on the number of paid hours, to keep your workers from starting a new living all over in this pandemic crisis. Your workers invested all their effort and time in your business and leaving them without due warning is irrational.

Necessity is the mother of invention, you both have to think outside the box and implement novel ways to improve business capacity. This will enable you to pay all your workers at least something for survival. You can also try to donate courtesy food items to them. All this will help to develop employee loyalty, trust, and a sense of belonging, which boost morale leading to higher staff productivity. It is when you give wholeheartedly that you also receive from God, Luke 6:38. If funds permit, you need to be an active sponsor, especially to the less privileged and take part in community projects. This has great potential in building brand awareness and profile for your business.

5. Review all your business and marketing strategies regularly

You should always monitor your environment, analyzing trends, and measuring the effectiveness of your business and marketing strategies, the goal being to operate as efficiently as possible. High-profit margin and quality of service should remain your key focus; keep expenses and workforce at the lowest threshold while maintaining sales high; quality of products or services should remain constant or improve if they are room to do so. Refine your approach by putting extra effort into what you find to be working well for your business; that which is giving you a competitive advantage or a greater market share.

In conclusion, every business, big or small, has a set of innovations that simply require to be explored, refined, and put into full operation for business continuity under Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. If you are an Entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer, Director, or Manager, be positive, think outside the box and embrace the business opportunities created by the pandemic.

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