COVID-19 has indeed driven discussions among businesses — from adjusting services and agility, pricing to partnerships, community building and collaboration. Here at vcita, we asked our customers to share their insights about these turbulent times, and their plans for the future.

Sometimes, when you’re ready to learn, the right teacher appears. That teacher can be a boss, a colleague or even a family member — perhaps even a younger sibling. In some cases, these teachers are our small business clients. They have some valuable lessons to teach while they’ve been locked down, yet active in their digital doings.

After interviewing several of our small business clients, following are five lessons we’ve learned from them:

Lesson #1: Power and pivot online

Many small businesses have had to pivot their services and change their strategy to survive during these times. Instead of shutting down completely, large enterprises can learn the power of pivoting by moving services and payments online.

Digital marketer Nina Thomas Estwick (owner of Socially Nina) moved her local video creators camp to a virtual workshop:

“As a small business owner, I’ve learned the power of the pivot. We have to be ready to pivot with new technology, pivot with the loss of a client, pivot when a new social media platform takes off,” Nina said. “So in times like this, small business owners need to pivot to virtual. Take this time to communicate more with your clients.”

We know that not all businesses can make a fast digital transformation, from one day to the other, or simply pivot like others. In this case – play to your strengths. If you can’t deliver your regular services online, create professional content so that your clients will benefit from using your areas of expertise. You can develop articles, video tutorials, and social media content — to deliver added value to your loyal clients.

Lesson #2: Adjust services quickly

Not all small businesses can offer all their services during this unexpected COVID-19 era, for various reasons.

For example, alternative health therapists are not allowed to give therapies involving physical contact due to violation of social distancing regulations, set in place by many countries or states. Music teachers and physical fitness trainers cannot give face-to-face workshops, communications specialists and financial advisors cannot attend conferences. Many of our small business clients realized that time is money and have adapted their regular services quickly through digital solutions. Rather than waiting for an ‘all clear signal’, they overcame obstacles of traditional, face-to-face services.

For example:

  • Business Reiki Master Sensei Victoria Whitfield used video conferencing software for online workshops and built educational campaigns to remind customers about affiliate programs that can help them generate revenue
  • Business has been challenging since the onset of COVID-19, for dog trainer Maren Bruun in British Columbia, Canada. However, she’s adjusted quickly by offering training sessions online and giving support to the families in her community who need it the most

If you are a large enterprise, can learn how to help their own customers by adding online training and onboarding options and help their clients adjust their online services as well. Tweak your services and restructure your offer if necessary, to make them relevant in our new reality.

Lesson #3: Adapt prices and payments

In life before COVID-19, businesses offered discounts and promotions for different occasions — summer sale, Black Friday, New Years’, to name a few. Offering clients the ability to pay in installments or throwing in a bonus can be achieved all year round. Even so, small businesses have taken the COVID crisis under consideration when charging their customers.

For example, Nina from Socailly Nina offered the third day of her video workshop for free. Adjusting prices, enabling multiple contactless payment methods, and providing flexible payment terms is simple using the right digital software. You can also revoke last-minute cancellation fees and let clients reschedule or replace offline services with online versions.

All businesses, especially large corporations, need to show sensitivity in these times —by helping their customers out and by supporting the small business community however they can. Assistance and acts of kindness regarding prices and payments now will also pay off in the future.

Lesson #4: Unleash creativity

Thinking out of the box is not just about wiping down surfaces to prevent virus spread. It’s about sparking creativity to generate revenue, without breaking the bank.

For example, one of our car detailing customers, My mobile Mechanic Auto Repair And Detail LLC , found a creative solution for reacting to the virus outbreak. Acknowledging the problem by educating automobile service customers has formed an original approach to the situation.

“Although we are not on the front line, we still are at risk of contracting the Corona virus because of cross contaminated surfaces such as steering wheel, gear shift, seat belts”, the company owner explained. “We created a package to help reduce cross-contamination and provide clients a list of surfaces that are commonly touched on a daily basis from your work place all the way to your home.”

If there is something anyone can learn from, it’s the CAN-DO attitude and entrepreneurial mindset of small business owners. Seeking creative solutions and taking things one day-at-a-time prevents hasty decision-making and can contribute to the long-term strategy of an organization.

Lesson #5: Form partnerships

Collaboration is key to successful workflows and business processes. This is true for large corporations and a one-person show. Learning from fellow business owners and supporting each other in these difficult times by brainstorming, sharing knowledge and leveraging complementing services or skills, can lead to great partnerships.

Communications consultant Leah Stock Spokoiny, of Babelcom – Communication That Works did just that:
“I figured that my experience working remotely could be of use to others. I am organizing some professionals in my city who have had their activities completely stopped due to the total confinement we have now in Spain,” Leah relayed. “Today we are meeting to discuss possible solutions for them to offer activities online.”

Our small business owners have taught us just how adaptive they can be. Although you don’t need a pandemic to leverage new opportunities, now is as good a time as ever. You can take this period to focus on key partnerships that not only build loyalty, but also lay the groundwork for the day after. By sharpening your sense of urgency, you can empower your collective business acumen and emerge stronger from this stage, together.

For more information on how you can help your small business clients during COVID-19, schedule a demo with the Partners team.