COVID-19 may have impacted your business’s profitability, but there are many ways to fight back. Here’s how to increase profitability during COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the global economy. As a result, thousands of businesses’ profitability has suffered too. Many companies have had to close their doors for good since early 2020. Others are still facing financial hardships as the public health crisis continues to change the world.
If the pandemic has negatively impacted the financial stability of your business, you might be on the lookout for new sources of income and new strategies to remain profitable. The good news is that there are ways to preserve the profitability of your business during the pandemic and beyond.
Here are 10 little-known ways to reconfigure your sales strategy and increase profitability during COVID-19, ensuring its operational success amid an unpredictable economic environment.
Capitalize on Current Needs and Demands
When the pandemic first struck in 2020, many savvy business owners were quick to adapt. They pivoted or restructured their businesses to meet the new needs and demands of customers as they arose. Some breweries began selling hand sanitizer rather than alcoholic drinks, while clothing and textile manufacturers were quick to produce masks and PPE.
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Not all of these business ventures are still viable today. Customer demands have changed rapidly and consistently over the past year and will continue to do so as the pandemic progresses. Still, there are plenty of in-demand products and services that you could offer alongside your original wares. Some of the most in-demand goods and services amid COVID-19 include:
- eLearning services. Schools, colleges and universities have all moved online during the pandemic, and MOOCs and webinars are more popular than ever.
- Cleaning supplies and services. Cleaning and sanitation supplies are still in high demand, especially now that businesses and public facilities are reopening.
- Home-based entertainment. Immersive, home-based leisure products like video game consoles, VR headsets and entertainment apps have exploded in popularity because of social distancing and public place restriction measures. Entertaining apps and home entertainment systems are all in high demand.
- Medical devices and virtual healthcare. The services of medical care and supply businesses are very much needed during the pandemic, and are required in the foreseeable future as well. The virtual healthcare industry alone is set to exceed $150 billion by 2027.
- Contactless technology and devices. The future of industry is contactless. You could sell contactless payment or sanitation systems to ensure your business’s profitability and capitalize on pandemic-related public needs.
- Logistics. Supply chains across the globe were negatively impacted by the outbreak. Businesses and individuals need reliable logistics and courier services to keep their operations running smoothly and ensure the timely delivery of ordered goods.
If you or your team have in-demand skill sets, you could share your knowledge through online portals or webinars to diversify your income streams.
Websites like Skillshare, JustAnswer, and PeoplePerHour will put you in touch with people like bookkeepers, IT trainees, and virtual assistants who are looking for someone with your expertise.
Reduce Recurring Business Expenses
Recurring expenses can put severe financial strain on your business and reduce its profitability considerably. You can preserve your bottom lines by opting out of subscriptions, paid software plans, memberships, and other services that cost you money without offering significant value for your business.
Put Your Customers First
Adopting a customer-centric mindset is crucial to your success both during and after the pandemic. It has never been more important for businesses to cater to the needs and opinions of their existing customers.
Thank your loyal customers for their continued support and consider offering them special rates or discounts to encourage them to continue supporting your business.
Treat Employees Right
Your employees are one of your most valuable assets, and COVID-19 has probably put them under varying degrees of strain. Arrange remote work opportunities for your staff if possible and communicate clearly with them about the steps you’re taking and changes you’re making to increase your profitability.
Listen to them with empathy and be willing to be flexible to meet their needs and enable them to balance their work lives with family responsibilities. Without dedicated and motivated staff on your side, your ability to earn will certainly suffer.
Increase Staff Productivity
There are few better ways to improve your profits than to increase the output of your employees. Set engaging sales targets to keep your team motivated, and implement hiring and training best practices to enhance your staff’s performance, sales, and customer service skills.
Educate your team about suggestive selling, upselling and cross-selling, and encourage them to make a great first impression with customers. The results will make themselves evident in your profit margins.
Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You
Most B2C communications have now moved online. You need to align your business with this movement and ensure that customers can easily and readily contact you through the digital channels they prefer. You could set up online business listings, a dedicated email address, and social media pages to facilitate this.
Consider making use of business chat apps like Facebook Messenger, IG Messenger, and WhatsApp Business, and setting up a phone number for your business as well. If you require customers to book for your services, let them know they can do so using online booking and scheduling tools like Microsoft Bookings.
Improve Your Inventory Visibility
Markdowns can take huge chunks out of your profit margins, so it’s best to avoid marking your stock down if possible. You can do so by improving your inventory management processes.
You should always be aware of how much merchandise you have on hand, and which goods are your fastest and slowest selling items. This will enable you to make informed decisions around purchasing, reordering, and marketing and sales, minimizing the need to mark your stock down.
Many businesses have been able to maximize their profit margins by ensuring 100% visibility of their inventories. This reduces the need for markdowns and preserves profits.
Streamline Your Operations
Streamlining your business’s operations is a great way to reduce operating expenses. Cut overtime and excess staffing where possible, and reduce areas of waste and unnecessary expense, such as excess packaging and overly expensive logistical partners.
Use a trusted, cost-effective point-of-sale system to manage your inventory, marketing and sales. This will ensure that your business and team work more efficiently. You can also cut expenses by automating certain tasks in your business, such as invoicing and inventory management, thereby reducing the time and manpower required to keep your venture profitable.
Ask Your Vendors for Discounts
Approach your vendors and suppliers, especially those who you have partnered with for years, and ask them for discounts, free shipping, or other financial concessions. Most vendors will gladly offer you special deals to retain your business during trying times.
COVID-19 has put varying degrees of pressure on businesses of all sizes, and recovery isn’t always easy. However, there are plenty of ways to ensure your continued profitability during the pandemic and beyond.
Sometimes a few strategic operational changes are all it takes to expand your profit margins and keep your company running smoothly.