Wed, Aug 31st 2022, 12:43 PM
Up and down, up and down goes the Covid-19 roller coaster, and we all have no choice but to stay on the ride. It doesn’t matter if you get (motion) sickness, or simply just want off, we all have learned to just keep moving forward, or in fact, hurtling forward in an effort to catch up to the time we think we’ve lost. In the last survey done by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), just over 40 percent of Bahamian businesses saw their revenues drop by 60 percent or more due to COVID-19. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have not been immune to this auto-generated urgency to recapture lost dollars and time. So how do we return to full “normalcy”, or closer to it?
Competition is good
There is space in the market for all budding and veteran business owners, but there’s only so much room at the top. There aren’t many things more galvanizing than having to fight your way to the top in your arena. To be seen, to be heard, and to be regarded as the best. There are tens, if not a couple hundred businesses that have either arisen and/or flourished in The Bahamas since the start of the pandemic, a large number out of necessity. The best cake bakers, landscapers and food delivery services have survived because they quickly realized that there was no other choice. The result of this augmented database of entrepreneurial wonders is the return of the service industry, with new and improved cogs and gears. Convenience and good service are two of the pillars of a growing business, most importantly in small communities, and nine times out of ten the front runners will have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors. This collective acquired competitive advantage has not only made the consumer’s life easier, but also helped to lessen the sting of pandemic restrictions and give us the feeling of “regularity”. Budding entrepreneurs should not only take note of their favorite business establishments, but truly pay attention to what keeps bringing them back to patronize them.
Attention grabbing marketing is no longer enough
As we all know, marketing is an inescapable necessity for any business. Value propositions, market research, marketing plans, branding, and especially social media plans are essential to reaching and capturing the intended demographic. However, throwing cash into marketing campaigns with bright colors and beautiful people no longer suffices. People with pandemic fatigue want a guarantee that their “problem” is going to be solved. These “problems” are also in some cases still compounded by covid restrictions. For example, if a customer’s problem is hunger and you have reduced seating capacity in your restaurant due to covid restrictions, how will you make up for the wait time for a table? The food was marketed as delicious, but tasty fare coupled with fantastic service will most likely satisfy the customer and solve the “problem”. Giving the customer more than he or she expects is usually the only way to ensure your marketing efforts are successful once your target audience is reached. Your customers and clients after all will become your best marketing agents when they spread the word about your business.
“You don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.” I’ve always liked this modern colloquialism because it succinctly illuminates the importance of preparation and adaptability. No one could have predicted the pandemic and the lasting effects it would have on the economy, most notably SMEs. However, most SME principals have some idea of their company’s ability to resist external shocks (vulnerability), and the ability to recover from such shocks (adaptability). Due to recent global events, every business owner should now have a playbook on how to handle customer or client demand with foot traffic blocks, economic recessions, and should even be paying attention to global economic trends. Being able to roll with the punches not only looks good, but its an invaluable skill to possess when it comes to the survival of your business. This skill will no doubt stregthen your business’ sea legs when things get rough and eliminate any visible dents in your organization. To the everyday customer, you would be reliable. To them, it would be business as usual.
Wed, Aug 31st 2022, 09:10 AM