The coronavirus has dramatically plunged the world economy into a crisis unlike any other, forcing many businesses to transform into cloud-based operations or risk closing permanently. Specifically, it has taken a monumental toll on small businesses. One in five businesses are expecting to wait a year before making a full recovery and the estimated cost of coronavirus sits at more than $64,000 per company. Small businesses also bore the brunt of job loss, with a decline of more than 17%.
With small to mid-market businesses especially vulnerable during this time, these companies must be agile and nimble to adjust to ever-changing times. And with cases on the rise across the county,
Below are a few ways small-to-mid-market businesses can succeed during a pandemic
Leverage a Customer-Relationship-Management Solution
Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) have been disproportionately affected by the global pandemic and adapting to stay top of mind without direct access to customers. As a result, many SMBs have implemented customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.
CRM technology has long been regarded as an essential tool for all businesses. And with new operational challenges due to health and safety restrictions, leveraging this solution has become essential to stay afloat.
This technology drives revenue and gives SMBs a competitive advantage by targeting the most qualified leads, ramping up retention efforts, increasing sales productivity, and providing highly- personalized messaging to existing customers. CRM solutions also simplify client management by centralizing customer data and giving users improved access to it.
And as we all know, maintaining customer relationships is the lifeline to any company, no matter the industry. Utilizing a CRM is good for business and could be the deciding factor between those that thrive and those who struggle to survive.
Businesses of all sizes have more reservations about increasing staff size too soon, especially as we enter this new resurgence phase of COVID-19. In fact, a recent survey reported that 45% of hiring managers are expecting freezes on new staff.
As a result, we’re seeing more small-to-medium businesses close the gap by outsourcing to freelancers rather than hiring new employees, especially for more marketing, CRM, and project management projects. According to a recent study, 73% of hiring managers are maintaining or increasing their hiring of freelancers as a result of COVID-19.
Freelancers offer more specialized skill sets to address specific needs, are increasingly more affordable, and more flexible in addressing businesses’ needs without any long-term commitments. Beyond that, leveraging freelancers makes it possible to attract world-class talent that would be unavailable to most organizations on a full-time basis.
However, since only 46% of businesses are able to find the right on-demand talent they need, it’s important for businesses to find talent through an exclusive marketplace, like Torchlite – which only accepts the top 4% of applicants into its marketplace. This makes it easier to connect with high-quality talent without any long-term commitments, minimums, or contracts.
Salesforce and Torchlite also understand the strain the pandemic has put on small businesses and launched the new Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials, allowing small businesses to access certified Salesforce freelancers on-demand. The marketplace is designed to help the millions of small businesses who are feeling the financial crunch of COVID.
Even when the danger of COVID passes, this increased use of freelancers won’t be a short-term solution. The rise of independent talent and a flexible workforce will enable businesses to stay competitive, which will completely change the workforce for the future. This means an exciting and attractive future for the freelancer market.
Being Flexible and Adaptable
Adapting during this unknown moment is crucial for small businesses. Adaptation can look different to every business. Whether you’re adapting to work from home, new marketing techniques, or selling products, being nimble can help a small business stay afloat.
- Invest in work-from-home technology: It’s never too late for businesses to set up remote workforces to ensure staff feels safe during this difficult period. Allowing employees to work from home gives them autonomy of their safety and communicates the business cares about their well-being. While most people likely have a phone, a computer, and an internet connection, the work they do from home may look different than the work they do in the office. Invest in technology like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Drive to keep communication consistent and simple.
- Find new ways to sell products or services: Switching up sale tactics and techniques can be overwhelming during this time, but ultimately can save a small business. A few ways to enhance your marketing strategy and promote unique offerings might look like shopping virtually or hosting engaging virtual classes, meetings, webinars, and even conferences.
- Get creative new market trends: Having a unique way to market products or services helps you stand out from your competition and can maintain a steady flow of customers and revenue. Per Forbes, with the internet, hits surging between 50-70% due to COVID, upping your time online may be a start. Give your business’s online presence a boost by:
- Optimizing your business website for mobile
- Creating valuable content
- Experimenting with some SEO research
- Incorporating keywords on your website pages
- Engaging in online communities and forums
- Improving user experience
The unique nature of the pandemic poses new challenges for small businesses as they climb toward recovery. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time for companies to rethink their marketing, talent, and technology.
About Susan Marshall
Susan Marshall is a 25+ year technology professional, having worked at Adobe, Apple, and Salesforce. As the visionary behind Torchlite, Susan brought the first Torchlite Marketplace online in 2015 to create a roadmap for marketers to successfully navigate the digital learning curve ahead, while giving highly skilled, professional freelancers the opportunity to expand their own businesses.
Now a Certified Salesforce Partner, Torchlite’s primary focus is to serve businesses working with cross-cloud Salesforce products. Susan loves technology, digital marketing, and building teams of super-smart people.