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Tips For Small Businesses To Protect Themselves During COVID-19 This is the perfect time to go online and start investing in brand-building, good content, SEO and more.

By Sampad Swain

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Small businesses operating across sectors around the world have perhaps been hit the hardest. Some entrepreneurs have put all their life savings in their business, or worse, taken loans they're struggling to pay off.

While the Indian government has been introducing relief measures for the MSME sector, there are a few things that a business can do during this time to ensure they don't shut down after the lockdown.

This is the perfect time to go online and start investing in brand-building, good content, SEO and more. As the world is stuck on their devices at home, it's imperative for a business to grab eyeballs online so they can feel the effect of it offline. We are not saying it, the businesses are.

Roll out offer vouchers for customers which they can redeem later

Several small cafes in the country have programmes wherein they sell redeemable coupons online to customers. These coupons can be redeemed against coffee or any other cafe services/food offered by the business. This coupon scenario can be duplicated for any business that requires the customer to be physically present to make a purchase.

Offer/take online sessions

A host of businesses have started doing events online. For example, stand-up comedians are offering online comedy sessions on Zoom or video podcasts while collecting online payments for these events. Similarly, bakers and restaurants are offering online cooking classes; swimming coaches and diving instructors are offering online technical coaching, yoga instructors are helping people with mindfulness for a small fee.

These businesses are also enrolling in online courses such as funnel marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing courses. There are a host of online webinars that are offering knowledge for free and it's a great time to invest in upskilling and learning new things that can help you build your brand online.

Assess your cash in hand and plan your next 12 months accordingly

This one is an in-house tip. It's always great to plan ahead when it comes to finances. If you haven't already done it, this might be a great time to look into your cash reserves and check how far you can go without a single penny coming into your account. It would be best to make a positive, negative, and worst-case scenario calculation and work backwards to about 12 months.

Focus on existing customers rather than acquiring new ones

Your existing customers could become your business saviors. This would be the right time to keep in touch, check-in with them, and communicate with them. Send regular emails, offer free content, waive a percentage of fees—just keep reminding them that you're in it for the long haul and you can offer a kind of value no other in the market can.

Upsell and cross-promote fellow businesses

Because we are all in this together, partner with businesses and upsell each other's products; promote each other's services and focus on building a partnership that can evolve into a strong foothold in the market. This doesn't just make customers of the partner brand take notice of you but also fosters trust in the industry.

Don't be afraid of how bad the condition is; it is possible to grow your business organically—without spending money.

Sampad Swain

CEO & Co-founder, Instamojo

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