India is a land of opportunities, and small business owners can do wonders with the help of a few business tips and advice. As the country reels under the second wave, these useful business growth tips will help these businesses grow and contribute to the GDP of the country. According to a survey conducted by a data firm, nearly 82% of small businesses in India have been affected by the pandemic. The same survey also listed small businesses facing challenges related to their growth.
The business owners have seen a fall in business because of poor customer response to their non-essential items. Many of the business owners themselves were unable to pay their employees, further fuelling the downturn in the economy. If this cyclic process has to be stopped, a small business needs to acquire management tips to find cheap and relevant technology related solutions to their problem.
Hence some useful small business management and growth tips during the pandemic will help them face challenges.
Evolving Business environmental trends that need to be evaluated by small business owners
There is an opportunity in every adverse situation. If the pandemic has challenged our lives and routines completely, it has also given new avenues for small business to explore. It is time to do a quick business environmental analysis to match some strengths with the opportunities presented. Some interesting consumer trends created by the pandemic that can be used by small businesses to grow are described below:
1. People are finding more time to pursue long-sought-after hobbies related to arts, music, and sports because of the WFH option. Small businesses operating in this field need to reach out to more home-bound, upper-middle-class customers.
2. Technology that enables communication and two-way interactions are in huge demand. Students want to give their online exams seamlessly. Your cyber cafe can double up to meet this demand.
3. There is a huge demand for health and immunity-boosting items, from fresh fruits and vegetables to energy boosters. If your small business can expand in this segment, it will be fruitful.
4. Young kids in the family need to be engaged in meaningful, non-screen-time activities. You can develop ideas that meet this developmental aspect.
5. Family entertainment is a major demand. Movies released over OTTs that can be watched by the entire family are good winners. Many vendors cater to movie makers. These small business owners can benefit from
6. Online consultation for other ailments is on the rise. Health experts and alternative medicine experts are also small business owners who can offer their services online to reach out to a large group of patients.
7. Investment related to health insurance is on the rise. Investment experts having a small business can promote themselves as experts in the field by having webinars and promoting through social media.
8. Skill-enhancing courses are in demand. Small business management tips related to online tutorials offering such courses will target new segments like mid-level employees. These people did not have time for such courses in the pre-covid days.
Having seen the evolving consumer needs, small business owners can analyse and review their existing business to adapt to new requirements. This can be summarised based on the sector.
Some Operational Tips for Small Business in Pandemic Times
1. Sweet shops
Shops should concentrate more on the sales of farsan/dry Fruits and snack items rather than sweets as they last for a longer period and can be safely consumed over some time. People tend to stock up on tasty stuff for munching during these unprecedented times, which keeps them mentally satisfied.
Bingeing has increased considerably in every household, and hence there is more demand as compared to pre-Covid times. To increase immunity and stay in the best of health, the demand for healthy dry fruits has also gone up, and fresh items like dates, pistachios, prunes, almonds, etc., can be a part of a sweet shop's offerings.
Many small businesses like eateries that were catering to everyday office-goers suffered during the lockdown, but once home delivery was allowed, these outlets, along with other small businesses selling groceries, started home delivery of all essential items. Another useful tip for the small business owner of a restaurant is to collaborate with other small businesses. They collaborate with milk and fruit vendors (other small businesses) by offering to deliver their item along with food to faraway places.
3. Sports sessions
Small businesses involved in sports training are also looking out for useful business tips to grow during the pandemic. Some business owners in the sporting area can compile instruction manuals related to the athlete's diet, training schedule, and distribution. Instagram live sessions with the students can act as a tool to re-emphasise the schedule and keep the students engaged.
4. Starting a home-based business
Various products like homemade recycled face masks, clothing items, jewellery, and organic skincare products have come up in the past year. Services like cooking and tech apps for fitness or a YouTube channel or a Facebook or Instagram page for promotion successfully set up and ran their business during the covid pandemic. Designer masks and fragrant sanitisers have become a trend. So, you can generate good earnings out of these opportunities by making the products at home and selling them.
5. Tours and travel business
Small businesses in this sector can provide service for pick-up and drop-offs of oxygen concentrators, ferrying patients to hospitals as well as medical professionals, and supplying medical essentials.
Management and Growth Tips for Small Business
- Embrace technology: Digital payment options should be made available to your customers. Use Facebook and WhatsApp to promote your small business.
- Diversify in related fields: Advice for small businesses can be sought from online sources, and based on their experience, small businesses can diversify their product offerings. For example, you can process and sell aamras and sell mangoes to offload the extra mangoes you have.
- Provide add-on services: Free and contactless delivery and multiple EMI options are some of the services you can offer to retain your customer base.
- Use multiple options for distribution: If you were exporting mangoes abroad and you are not able to do it now, you can instead reach out to a wider section of metro city customers by asking your relatives and friends in the cities to promote your product through Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.
- Be honest in all your dealings: The quality of product supplied or service provided should never be compromised. In case of any problem from your end, compensate immediately.
- Try to unite your workforce: By having open communication with your workers, making them understand and agree to calculated deferred compensation plans. The business owner should show the way by taking a pay-cut themselves.
Athmanirbhar Bharat or Make in India were not just words that projected the entrepreneurial spirit of India to the world. They were real. Small businesses need today to have a relook at the current consumer psychology and buying patterns. Based on the management tips received they need to realign themselves. This can be summarised as a technological intervention as well as flexible business processes.
1) The impact of Covid-19 on Small Businesses. How bad this has been?
2) How small businesses are coping during Covid-19?
3) Best COVID-19 Lessons For Small Business Sectors of India
4) How To Manage Investment During Covid-19 Pandemic?
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Q. Can I provide a COD option for my customers?
Ans. If you have been operating through established aggregators, you may offer the COD option.
Q. How can I continue to grow during a pandemic?
Ans. Technology allows you to reach out to a wider customer base. Use it to reach more people.
Many entrepreneurs, including mompreneurs operating in the home food business, could expand their business using social media to reach out to a wider market.
Q. What are the areas of concern for the expansion of small businesses using social media?
Ans. The two main areas of concern are the payment options given to the consumers, which have to be reliable and seamless and a robust logistics system to support your business.