Starting a small business is no small feat, especially in a post-pandemic economy with unique challenges and an uneven recovery. Although small businesses took quite an impact from COVID-19, it does not mean all have disappeared. In fact, small businesses are still a driving force of the US economy employing over 50 million people. Small businesses are ripe for opportunity, even if it requires more adaptation and a fighting spirit. Check out these three tips to help start a small business post-pandemic.
Develop a Strong Digital Brand
Now more than ever, it is time for small business owners to put on their marketing caps and develop a robust digital footprint. Start by thinking critically of your target audience(s) and craft messaging that is consistent and speaks to the target across all channels (i.e., website, social media, google business listing, etc.). Speaking of channels, take time to review the most successful channels and use technology for a competitive edge.
A client-centric approach for target audiences can also help set businesses to provide personalized online experiences. Additionally, a well-designed visual brand will help provide a memorable experience. A visual brand identity can be conveyed through the combination of an easy-to-navigate website, distinctive brand colors, and content tailored to an audience. Need help with digital branding? Check out websites like Fiverr to find marketing contractors and creative experts who can support nearly any part of building a digital brand.
Stay on Top of Finances
Running a small business requires navigating cash flow, funding, and growth—all while selling a product or service. What can feel overwhelming, can often be helped with a relationship with a banker who knows the business and industry it operates. The right banking resource will have recommendations and ideas to help keep small businesses agile.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) works with lenders to provide numerous ways to fund your business including investment programs. These investment programs include an SBA guarantee and sometimes have more flexible terms compared to SBA loans.
- Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) – SBICs provide small business owners with access to privately owned and managed investment funds regulated by the SBA. SBICs use private capital plus funds borrowed with an SBA loan to make equity and debt investments in small businesses.
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program –The SBIR program is designed to help small businesses foster a space for federal research and development, with the idea of it having future potential for commercialization.
- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program – like the SBIR program, STTR is designed to support technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds. Over $2 billion has been awarded to small high-tech businesses through the program.
Be COVID-19 Smart
As the US rushes toward the vaccine and trends of infection continue to fall, buying behavior is shifting. Remember to have a plan ready when the world goes back to physical and another plan if it never fully goes back. Think about ways to zig when everyone else zags and find what channel works best for your business. Continue to follow small business guidance and keep yourself updated as states look to fully reopen this summer.
At Bank of Southern California, we are committed to helping small businesses achieve their goals. To learn more, talk to your local banker today.