After years of offering private lessons to aspiring guitarists, Stephen Boden used his passion for music and helping others to launch an online business. Now the CEO of guitarsumo.com, Boden saw an opportunity to share his knowledge of guitars with the world.
In one of several email interviews with business owners around the world, Boden expressed enthusiasm for his business but admitted it was coupled with concern about growth in such uncertain times. The pandemic has been nothing short of life-changing for individuals and businesses. For small businesses especially, success merely means surviving during a time when people are spending less money and spending more time at home.
A recent survey, conducted on behalf of GoDaddy, was created to find out how small business owners are handling the pandemic and how consumers are reacting to their struggles. The survey revealed that two-thirds of business owners were confident their small businesses would continue operations throughout the worldwide pandemic. The survey also found that twenty-three percent of small business owners recognized a need to use eCommerce to strengthen their online presence so that they are able to survive both during and after the pandemic.
Hayley Gleeson, CEO at birdeemag.com, revealed that surviving the pandemic as a business meant adapting to meet the needs of your customers. “We quickly realized that if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we would be doing our customers a disservice,” she explained.
Krishnakumar Karancherry, Editor-in-Chief at CodeCondo, shared the same sentiments. “Our main audience is made up of people who are looking to create high-quality websites to grow their business,” Karancherry explained. “But this pandemic has forced people to prioritize their spending and be more careful about where they put their time and money. People are genuinely scared to start or even expand their businesses right now.”
Adjusting Business Strategies During the Pandemic
Like Gleeson, Karancherry began focusing on how he could maintain his business during a time when people’s priorities were vastly different. For Karancherry, that meant stepping up for this current customers. “I tried to focus less on finding new clients and paid more attention to keeping the ones I already have. But even that involved a lot more than I initially thought it would.”
What Karancherry quickly realized was that he had to add a much more personal touch to his interactions with his customers. “I didn’t want to pressure them into spending more money. I just wanted to show them how much it means to me to have their business and that I was willing to work with them in whatever capacity they needed most.”
That strategy is one that many small business owners have adopted in recent months; Empathizing with customers and creating a more personalized, rather than strictly business, environment. “I was genuinely surprised by how effective [my strategy] was,” Karancherry admitted. “I made a conscious effort to show each of my customers that I was not only available, but flexible. From the conversations I had with each of my customers, I developed a better understanding of their needs. In most cases, the only financial impact it had on my business was that I didn’t lose them as a customer. But a couple of conversations ended up being more beneficial than I expected and I don’t think that would have been the case if I hadn’t reached out to them in the first place.”
Surprising Business Opportunities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
However, in some industries, the pandemic has created opportunities that weren’t there before. Erik King, Owner and Editor at Zamsino.com and Kiwislots, admitted that he isn’t as panicked as he was when the pandemic first swept the globe. “As the operator of a business that is entirely online, I found that I could turn the inconveniences many people are facing into opportunities to pick up a new hobby,” King shared.
King further explained that because his two businesses are part of the online gambling industry, he experienced an influx of customers, rather than the dreaded loss of them. People around the world have been spending more time at home, which created a need for virtual, remote entertainment. Fortunately for King, online casinos have become a popular choice.
Regardless of whether a business is booming or business owners are barely scraping by, one thing is clear: the pandemic has been life-changing for everyone involved. Per Hayley Gleeson, “Owning my own business has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Sure, times are tough right now, but there are few people more resilient than small business owners. I know things will probably never be the way they were before. In my personal life or my professional life. But that’s not a bad thing. If nothing else, the pandemic has made me a stronger and better business owner.”