Businesses: Fight Covid-19 Economic Crisis with Smart Online Presence
Jun 01, 2020 02:00PM
By Pamela Johnson
Not since the Great Depression has the economy been in such a perilous state of decay. Citizens wait for food in lines that stretch for miles, unemployment levels are now counted in the tens of millions, and multi-generational businesses are all but disappearing. Make no mistake about it—our small businesses are in more trouble than they’ve ever been in before. There is nowhere else in the world where the small business is held in higher regard. And besides the physical harm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no greater pain than watching our local small businesses close shop, often for good.
However, this generation’s economic fight has one thing going for them that our forebears in the 1930s did not—the internet. Perhaps the most important technological invention since the advent of the wheel, the internet has changed nearly every aspect of modern life. It has altered what it is to be human. From dating to investing, the internet has changed it all. In a world where we have been confined to our homes for what seems like the better part of 2020, we have turned to the internet to entertain us and sustain the few parts of the economy that continue to operate. “Zoom meetings” are part of our lexicon now. Tragically, we have even had to learn how to say goodbye to loved ones through video communications.
We are buying more goods and services on the internet than ever before. It’s the silver lining for any business that has been able to capitalize on the trend. And for our small businesses, it may be the one thing that can sustain them through the duration of the crisis. Small-business owners have many different options to increase their online presence. Social media can be a zero cost option. Many micro businesses use this option to create a basic business page. It’s a strategy that makes sense, since you are on the same platform where your customers are. A Facebook Business Page, for example, allows a business to provide a description of the services they offer along with an easy way to showcase their wares or services by sharing pictures and video. But Facebook is a big ocean filled with a lot of very smart fish. If you don’t know what you’re doing, or are unable to hire someone who does, it can be frustratingly difficult for a business to compete.
A company website could be the difference maker in this historic market. Websites have long been part of the small-business marketing toolbox. They can display some information about your company, show off some products and services, maybe even sell a few items with an e-commerce store. Even the smallest businesses have taken advantage of having a company website. The technologies available from innovative companies like Wix or Square Space have fed the temptation for small-business owners to build their own websites, a cost-saving endeavor, but with several fundamental risks. Years ago you might have been able to get away with putting your website together on a Sunday afternoon. The problem now is that every other company worth its salt is doing the same thing, but better. Professionally built websites, a more educated consumer, and increased competition on the internet can make a basic website look old and feel out of touch--not exactly what you’d call a great first impression for a potential customer.
If a website is well planned, a business can secure its reputation for quality, reliability, and pride, virtues a business needs in order to stand out from the competition. A great website developer can also implement features like search engine optimization (SEO) that will help their website to appear higher in Google search results—a method that allows a business to potentially skip paying for expensive advertising. Additionally, a website that is streamlined for speed will keep a customer scrolling through that site instead of a competitor’s. Top that off with some custom-made graphics, and owners have a great chance to see a multi-fold return on their investment. Simply put, a professionally developed website has no substitute. Times like these require small businesses to adapt or perish. For a consumer, a website is a glimpse into the inner-workings of a business. Pride of ownership usually means quality goods and exceptional services. Reward these small businesses for their efforts, and let’s keep the economic backbone of our communities ready for the brighter days ahead of us all.
This article was submitted by Jason Ladieu, Minuteman Digital Consulting, LLC (www.minutemandc.com). Jason can be reached at [email protected] or 508-488-9294.