The COVID-19 pandemic has affected thousands of people’s livelihoods. There are many who managed to keep their jobs but have had to get used to working from home. More people still have lost their jobs or experienced a long stretch of “no work, no pay” during the height of the pandemic.
This latter situation has contributed to the rise of a new breed of entrepreneurs. Thanks to technology—particularly the internet, social media, and modern payment solutions—as well as diskarte, many Pinoys have found new ways to earn a decent living.
That said, there are quite a few possible outcomes for these COVID-era businesses once things go back to a relative normal. They could close down (because the business was temporary anyway), they could experience losses, or they could maintain the status quo.
These new businesses could also take the opportunity to capitalize on their current momentum and enjoy continued growth. Here are just a few ways to do it:
One of the biggest pain points of customers with businesses is the lack of payment options. Cash is still largely preferred, but there’s also an increasing segment of the market that now prefer cashless, contactless options.
A simple way to offer this is through the QR code option of e-wallets. Customers can simply scan the QR code or upload it through the e-wallet app, input the amount, and confirm the payment. There are also point-of-sale (POS) devices such as PayMaya ONE Lite, which can be used by various kinds of businesses. These include boutique stores and franchises, small to medium-sized restaurants, mobile sales, and delivery and meetup services.
PayMaya ONE Lite is a handy POS gateway, which accepts a variety of payment solutions. These include credit, debit, and prepaid cards; QR payments; and even NFC. Thanks to its portability, PayMaya ONE Lite can go with you no matter where you take your business.
There are many “boring” yet essential parts of running a business. From monitoring employee attendance (if you have employees) to recording daily transactions, things can get tedious really quickly if you don’t streamline your daily operations.
Luckily, you can find various tools that can help you in this regard. For example, there are post schedulers for your daily social media posts across various platforms. You can also avail marketing automation tools for your digital marketing campaigns. There are also free attendance checker tools, as well as online collaborative to-do lists.
Of course, you don’t have to automate everything. The most important thing is to find solutions that suit your needs. When you can do all of your tasks efficiently, you can boost your productivity and even make the most mundane tasks more enjoyable.
New entrepreneurs usually fail because of mismanaged finances. If you want to truly bring your business to the next level, then you need to have more than a passing idea on how to handle your cash flow. You need to be able to properly track and manage your money or else you’ll be operating at a loss.
Invest in a tool that will help you monitor your earnings and expenses. Pick one that can generate reports for you, and then study those reports to find out how you can cut back and how you can earn more. You should also enroll in business management classes to have a greater understanding of your business’s finances.
In addition, don’t be afraid to take out an SME loan from a bank. Some entrepreneurs find it scary, but loans are designed to help small businesses grow. Coupled with proper money management, a loan can be the key for your humble business to thrive.
In order to grow your business, you need to grow your customer base. At the same time, you also need to retain your existing ones. One way to do these two important things is to create marketing campaigns that are responsive to the changing times. This means adopting digital marketing best practices, and then combining them with offline marketing and advertising techniques.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your activities and campaigns. In fact, experimentation is a great way to see what kinds of materials work best for your goals of acquisition or retention. This way, you can save money by not investing in channels that you already know don’t produce the desired results.
A healthy customer base is one of the biggest assets of any kind of enterprise, but especially small businesses. That’s because your most loyal customers don’t just buy your products. They also advocate your brand voluntarily, bringing you even more customers.
In short, you have to learn how to connect with your customers to better cater to their needs. Focus on building healthy relationships. Social media is a helpful tool for this, especially when it comes to establishing rapport and responding to urgent concerns. Email is also an effective channel for marketing and communications. It’s a great way to introduce new products, exclusive discounts, and special offers.
Don’t forget to provide a phone number that customers can call, too. It’s easier and faster to communicate through messaging apps, definitely. However, there are times when it’s much more effective to address issues through a phone call. There are also customers who prefer speaking with a live agent, instead of typing on a keyboard or smartphone screen.
Building healthy business relationships with your customers serves as a foundation for good customer service. With good customer service, you can ensure customer satisfaction which in turn inspires loyalty. As previously mentioned, happy and loyal customers will give your brand powerful word-of-mouth marketing.
Aside from a robust communication network, good customer service means welcoming and acting on customer feedback. You should also be able to consistently and quickly address complaints. Accountability is also a must—if you’re wrong, admit it and assure your customers that you will do better. Round out your customer service efforts by developing a robust retention campaign.
If you want to grow your business and achieve success, then you better get used to collecting, analyzing, and acting upon data. Make sure to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, and to gather them from all relevant sources.
For qualitative data, some of the most important ones include product feedback or customer reviews, brand perception, awareness, and shopping habits. You can acquire these details through social media, email, and website statistics. You can also conduct customer surveys, but make sure to keep them short and straight to the point. Your marketing and advertising campaigns are also great sources of qualitative data.
Meanwhile, for quantitative data, you need to take a look at sales figures, profit margins, marketing click-through rates, and revenues per sale among many others. These can be acquired from your point-of-sale system, your e-commerce website, and email marketing reports. Social media also gives you a lot of statistical data, along with qualitative information.
The key to using data successfully is to know how to correlate qualitative and quantitative data. With in-depth analysis, you can develop more targeted marketing materials and make smarter business decisions.
As your business grows, so does the amount of responsibility. You can’t expect yourself to handle everything alone; you’ll not only get stressed out, but you’ll also likely miss out on critical details. As such, it’s important to hire the right people for your business.
Before hiring employees, however, you need to make sure that they share the same vision and believe in your mission. It’s not all about the skills (though they are important). You also have to hire for attitude and potential. You should also find people who are either good fits to the company culture or can complement the personalities of the other employees.
There are various platforms where you can find reliable employees, including social media (LinkedIn is the most reliable site for this purpose). There are also online boards and portals where you can post job openings.
Mentoring is an important component of career growth, whether you’re an employee or a business owner. Ideally, you should find two mentors: one in your industry and one in a different field. This will expand your horizons and give you a new perspective when you’re dealing with problems.
In addition, you may also want to establish an advisory board, so to speak, who can work with you in making decisions and continuously driving progress. It’s best to have more experienced employees in your advisory board, but what’s more important is that it’s a diverse group so you’re not talking in an echo chamber. As a small business, you might not have a lot of employees yet. Once you do, however, hand-pick capable members of your team to become part of the board.
You may also want to work with consultants to help you optimize processes, develop solutions, and reach your business goals.
If you want your business to grow, then you must grow with it. Continue on investing in yourself. Enroll in different courses that can help you improve your existing skills or learn new ones. Technology has made it possible for you to learn even outside of school, so allocate time (and some money) to find opportunities to improve yourself.
Don’t forget to invest in your people, too. It can’t be just you who’s improving and learning; your employees should grow along with you, as well. Ask them what kinds of things they’d like to learn, or perhaps (if you have the money) go as a team to a conference or trade show.
The bottomline is to continue learning and growing in a variety of ways, and don’t forget to bring your people along with you.
Networking is a big part of growing a business. It often gets sidelined by customer acquisition, but networking can, in fact, help you gain more customers. How? Networking allows you to find mentors, business partners, and fellow business owners who can become your suppliers. These new contacts can then help you provide new services and develop new products needed to attract more customers.
You can attend networking events or even host one if you have the means. Industry events, trade shows, conferences, and similar gatherings of industry professionals can also provide you with excellent networking opportunities.
Do your research and be strategic with regards to the events you attend and the people you contact. Pretty soon, you’ll have a considerably wide network that can help you and your business thrive.
Good time management is important in growing your business, particularly because you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the increasing amount of responsibilities. Make sure to allocate time for planning and strategizing, and not just accomplishing your day-to-day tasks. This can help prevent mental fatigue, not to mention help you find ways to further improve your business.
Learning how to manage your time also means knowing when to take a break. If all you do is work, pretty soon you’ll grow stressed and get sick. You might even find that you’re growing less interested in your business, where before it made you motivated.
Give yourself and your team time to relax. You don’t need a lavish vacation in order to unwind. Even a trip to a spa to get a massage or even doing your hobbies can give you a much-needed break from running your business. When you work with a refreshed mind and body, you’ll be happier and much more productive.
Running a business takes a lot of work and money. Taking it to the next level will be even more challenging. Still, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. With a thriving business, you’ll not only be able to make a living but also help others make theirs.
Hopefully, this list has given you ideas on how you can reach new heights.
Good luck and more power to your business!