Ever heard the term “strategy”? And what probably comes to mind is a detailed, 100-page winning document formulated by the smartest people who are trying to win a war, seize political power, invent an ingenious technology, or probably rack up billions in profit through a properly executed business idea. Well, guess what? Not quite.
We would never forget the heroics of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King Junior in their respective nations; how could we ever get over the genius invention of the Gutenberg press by Johannes Gutenberg or a computer by Charles Babbage. Respect.
While you might have no business worrying about the right kind of engine for flying the world’s first plane like the Wright brothers would have undoubtedly mused about; you do need a strategy for moving forward your logistics enterprise, restaurant, furniture making, printing, electronics sales, phones, and accessories, etc, after a very unusual 1st and 2nd quarters of the year 2020.
You may have seen this viral video of a one-year-old toddler faced with the task of getting off a high adult mattress.
Seeing that he had no help and needing to avoid the possibility of going down hard on the bare floor, he tactically utilized the many pillows available on the bed to navigate his way to the floor while achieving a soft landing. Genius stuff, right?
Now, I would relate that incident turned masterstroke to small and medium businesses grappling with the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An SME is a toddler in this scenario, business, as usual, is getting carried off the bed. However, the pandemic has left you stranded, now you are experiencing something completely different; reduction in demand, lesser access to customers and clients, fewer leads generated, losses, increase in the cost of production, harsh national and global economic conditions amongst many other negative changes.
This awkward situation you find your business in is undoubtedly unnerving. You might have started wailing as most toddlers faced with that challenge would naturally do or you might even be considering quitting entirely.
A change in direction, a fresh perspective might be all your business requires to hit the ground running
In the course of this article, I would open your eyes to five handy pillows (okay, strategies) that might be lying around and could be maximized to achieve a soft landing in these present hard business grounds.
They are as follows;
- Create a functional business website
- Embrace Social Media Marketing (with all your heart and might)
- Networking/Niche Creation
- Email Marketing
1. Create a Functional Business Website
Every legitimate business craves awareness, improved awareness increases your chances of more clients and patronage. Why would you then intentionally hide your value proposition behind the rocks while other industry players are hanging theirs up in the full glare of the digital sunlight?
Your target audience is constantly roaming the streets of the internet, and your business needs to be optimized enough that it gets their attention. A website creates authenticity, usually providing a map and directions to your business location.
For example, a well-optimized website for a laundry service located in Yaba, Lagos pops up on google if Kwame, a visitor staying in Yaba, Lagos inputs on his google search query, laundry services near me.
The e-commerce foundation suggests that 88% of consumers research product information to influence their purchase decisions. In an uncertain business atmosphere following the pandemic, you need to give your business a chance to get seen.
A website creates authenticity, usually providing a map and directions to your business location.
Need help creating and managing a website for your business? We got you covered.
Click on here to get started.
2. Embrace Social Media Marketing (with all your heart and might)
In the past you would have been advised not to mix business with pleasure, Social media has proved that to be null and void.
Content creators and brand influencers harness their creative abilities to produce engaging content that educates, informs, and entertains while subtly selling a business proposition.
Social media marketing is a core part of digital marketing, beyond selling your brand offering to a wide range of public; it helps you monitor trends, keep in touch with your business community, engage your community, and analyze data to make changes where required or stick to a working formula.
It is understandable that you channel all of your energy towards your demanding business operations, consider hiring a Social Media expert from here.
Our well-trained personnel who would deal with the social end of things as well as focusing on the right platforms for effective reach. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are some of the core social platforms you do not want to be found wanting.
3. Networking/Niche Definition
Truly, sometimes more is less.
While the natural temptation is to try and be everywhere at once to increase chances of visibility, you might be missing the party where your real target audience is.
Identifying your target audience, researching their behavioural patterns (Where might they be at this time and what are they doing?), and meeting them at their most convenient spots is the way to go.
Take, for example, Obinna runs a small veterinary in Lagos, he offers home services, pick-up, and delivery of pets. While it is great to market his services on Instagram, he might be better served, turning up on LinkedIn where busy professionals and business owners that have pets at home would require his services.
While it is true that Obinna is a vet doctor, his real value proposition might be that he does pick-ups and delivery, thereby helping the ever-busy professionals save time.
Networking is also a no-brainer for businesses who want to stay afloat and stand out. Hanging around your supposed competition might expose you to your target audience.
Yomi Casual is one of Lagos’ popular label outfit for men’s cut-to-fit African designs, typically he has an impressive community built around his products and services on Instagram and Twitter, people that make up this community tend to include fashion enthusiasts, co-designers amongst many others.
Constantly contributing to conversations around his posts would ultimately have members of his community checking out your profile.
Other platforms for joining active communities include Facebook, Reddit & Quora.
4. Email Marketing
While email marketing might be an old broom, it still sweeps the nooks and crannies. Even as a small business, you might have a huge contacts database which makes it nearly impossible to check on everyone individually, newsletters, therefore, comes in handy. Constantly check on your customers, clients, and leads and send them encouraging messages.
Also, inform them that your business is up and running once more after the enforced break; assure them of the unchanged and improved quality of goods and services that they have come to associate your business with.
Check out easy to use email marketing services such as; Mailchimp, Hubspot, SendinBlue, Aweber. Not sure of the kind of messages you want to craft and send, we will be happy to handle all of that stuff for you at Black Ink Media.
Now more than ever, businesses need to huddle together to stay afloat. A restaurant that was hitherto used to just customer walk-ins, needs to consider partnering with a logistics company. On-site educational institutes need to prioritize in Video conferencing services going forward. Fashion retail outfits if they have not in the past, need to invest in photography to keep showcasing their latest arrivals.
Consider offering long-term partnership proposals that would help you save more as opposed to one-off services. Collaborations with sister brands (e.g photography & fashion designing) would help minimize expenditure in these difficult times of income.
In conclusion, some of these highlighted pillows when effectively utilized would help you achieve softer landing. Not because you had never heard about them in your long life, you just need to start making judicious use of them already as a small business in Nigeria looking to bounce back after this past trying months.
Can you think of other helpful strategies? Please share with us in the comment section. We would like to hear thoughts.
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