The pandemic has required many business owners and managers to make difficult decisions about how things work. In some cases, it forced us to do things differently, whether it be facilitating online sales or meeting with our co-workers via Zoom. The fallout from these efforts has yet to be realized, but it is almost certain that our workplace and home life will never be the same.
While we keep our proverbial fingers crossed that this plague known as the Covid-19 pandemic is finally coming to an end, there are a few new considerations for business owners and budding entrepreneurs who are on the verge of starting their own business.
Consider the recent past
Yes, it would be just great to forget that the pandemic ever happened, but if you are a current business owner or even just considering starting a new business, you would be wise to think about the stress Covid-19 placed on healthcare, education, restaurant, and service delivery. If you are an existing business owner and your business helps to alleviate pressure, create convenience, or improve service in any of these sectors, you may be well on your way to continued success and growth.
Location, location, mmm… maybe not
While it has been ingrained in our mind that location is a primary factor in determining the success of a business, in today’s world, your web address could be just as important as your street address. Yes, it may seem idyllic to have a storefront with plenty of parking alongside the busiest road in town, but given the growing demand for online shopping and services, your business should be just as easy to find online. While most businesses offer a minimal online presence in the form of a website or Facebook page, this effort should be so much more than simply listing what you have to sell. With a host of online resources at your fingertips, you can listen to your customers, ask them questions, and answer their needs without ever meeting them in person. On the other hand, the lack of a robust online presence will tell any potential customer that your business is behind the times, no matter the actuality.
Building good customer relations is critical and different
Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with your customers and community is as important as it ever has in the prosperity of your business. To make the most significant impact, your business must leverage both an online presence and in-person engagement with the public to establish meaningful relationships. Ask yourself whether or not the operational changes implemented during the pandemic, like curbside pick-up or working remotely, might be advantageous to continue in the long term. Your approach to maintaining the very best customer service will be an essential factor in determining your success.
While many small rural businesses ask themselves if all of this technology and operational change is necessary and long for the days when local customers were loyal and plentiful, the world has changed. The number of challenges for businesses and options for customers has seen unparalleled growth. The viability of your business depends upon your ability to face these challenges through innovation, technology, and meeting the changing needs and demographics of your customers. If you do it right, not only will your business do well, as a business owner, you will be much better prepared for the next unexpected crisis that comes our way.