Tips for Surviving 2022 as a Small Online Business

Keeping a small business afloat in the current economic climate can be challenging. However, it’s doable.

While the global economy is still reeling from Covid-19’s unpredictable nature, we’ve seen several silver linings. For example, the US registered a record 5.4 million new businesses in 2020, according to the Census Bureau. In addition, online sales and purchases have soared over the last two years.

Even though these numbers don’t erase the struggles of business owners, they remain good signs. They show that small business owners can take advantage of the booming market and boost their downlines.

Entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to throw their hats into the global business ring. But they must adopt innovative and creative tactics to win customers. They also have to build on the skills they acquired during the worst phases of the lockdown to survive.

But how do you thrive in 2022, given the uncertainties plaguing the global economy and the populated online business space? In this article, we’ll share tips on keeping your small online business going for the rest of the year.

Boost Employee Engagement

Every brand’s employees are its life force. You need a reliable workforce to engage customers, convert leads, fill your sales funnel, and efficiently create deliverables. Hence, your downlines won’t see much improvement if you don’t have engaged and motivated workers.

Improving employee engagement is one of the most effective hacks for enhancing workforce productivity and efficiency. According to Gallup, organizations with highly engaged employees enjoy 23% more profits than their counterparts.

Conversely, employee disengagement comes with a hefty cost. Estimates released by Gallup show that the US economy loses up to $500 billion due to disengaged workers. But that’s not all. Disengagement also leads to lower employee turnover and lower productivity. These problems translate to financial and operational challenges that your small business may not recover from.

So, how do you increase employee engagement to boost your bottom line in 2022? Listen to your employees and include them in decision-making processes. Give workers autonomy and avoid micromanagement. Make sure you use an accurate payroll system to avoid delayed and inaccurate paychecks. And appreciate hardworking employees.

You can also boost engagement by providing training, supplying the right tools, preventing overwork, and using employee feedback to shape company policies.

Use Smart Digital Marketing Strategies

From SEO campaigns to social media engagement, you need innovative online marketing strategies to increase brand awareness and attract leads. As you know, no company survives with an empty sales funnel.

Since the digital business space is vast and filled with competition, you must play things smart to succeed. Without the right strategies, online marketing can be a wormhole that sucks your budget dry without results. That’s because you’re competing with medium and large-scale brands for customers. So how do you beat them? These tips can help:

  • Social media engagement: Engage with existing customers and use hashtags and trends to attract new leads via social media channels.
  • Targeted marketing: Use targeted ads, posts, and messaging to make your content visible and relatable to the right audience. For example, is your ideal audience on TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram? Why do they need your products? And how can you offer value?
  • Fine-tune your SEO: Search Engine Optimization exposes your brand to web searchers with the intent to buy. These are valuable leads that are more likely to turn into customers. So, build an SEO-friendly website that improves your rankings on search engines like Google and Bing.
  • Be regular and consistent: Pushing out regular and helpful content on your blog and across your social media channels shows your customers and leads that you’re active. This way, you’re boosting their confidence to buy from you.
  • Use your brand voice: Using a distinct brand voice makes your organization identifiable and relatable. As a result, prospects know what to expect from you and will be more compelled to respond to your call to action.
  • Focus on local marketing: You can focus on attracting local customers before you go global. It’s one of the best ways to win big brands.

Track Employee Productivity

Monitoring each employee’s capability allows you to efficiently distribute resources, manage workload, and execute projects. Every team member has different skills and abilities, and knowing the right way to use them will save you time and resources and boost your output.

This way, you’ll effectively meet client objectives, handle little to no errors, and finish tasks in less time.

You can track your employees’ productivity using a suite of tools, from a time tracking spreadsheet to a project management tool. These solutions can help you identify each worker’s strengths and weaknesses and show you how they use time.

With these metrics, you can scale your business and produce more with the same core staff throughout the rest of the year. The secret is knowing how to delegate duties and balance shifts accurately. So, you’ll be spending less on your workforce and delivering more projects.

Improve Customer Relationship

Bringing in new customers won’t make a difference if they leave after one or two transactions. Your brand needs loyal clients to survive. In addition, customer satisfaction is another marketing strategy as few campaigns are as effective as word of mouth.

So, while developing the best marketing strategies to keep your sales funnel alive, remember to work on customer experience.

Start by making the onboarding process smooth and straightforward. Remove and merge some stages in your sales workflow if they’re too many. For example, you can eliminate form fields and long sign-up processes by allowing new customers to use their social media accounts. This way, the purchase process will be stress-free.

Next, ensure your sales team is available at every point to help interested customers. Don’t bug them with emails urging them to purchase, but let them know you’re standing by to help.

Display clear and precise pricing plans and avoid making them jump through extra hurdles to check prices. You should also ensure they don’t have to sweat to make payments. So, provide and integrate as many payment options as possible.

The most significant part of improving customer relationships is maintaining a high standard of customer care. Ensure you’re always available to respond to clients and take the proper steps to resolve their issues. Train your team on client relations and always use the right tone and language when engaging with them.

You should also provide multiple support channels where they can reach you and ensure those channels are adequately manned.

Know Your Competition

Knowing your competition allows you to create strategies that make you stand out. Analyze businesses that pursue the same clients and audience. Check out their sales workflow, content strategy, and brand messaging.

Once you’ve gathered enough data, fashion ways to do things better and invent creative, unique processes.

You should also target the channels your competitors are using and build your presence there.

Avoid pulling more than your weight by going toe-to-toe with large corporations. For example, don’t go after big influencers as they’re already likely working with the big brands. Instead, you can use local celebrities and community-led influencers to push your brand message.

Build Professional Relationships

You can’t seclude yourself while building a small business. You need professional connections and insights. That means relating with other entrepreneurs and business professionals.

Building these relationships will help you discover new opportunities, understand your market better, and learn new trade secrets. You can also build collaborations to set up marketing campaigns and customer support.

So, attend conferences, events, and ceremonies. You should also put yourself out there on social media and allow other entrepreneurs to approach you. Let them know you’re open to collaboration opportunities and new business ideas.

You can also host meetings and attend community gatherings to increase brand exposure. However, ensure you offer valuable partnership opportunities yourself.

Play the Long Game

According to Mastercard’s 2021 Recovery Insights, 30% of retail that moved to digital will likely stay that way. While that represents an opportunity for growth, the number of businesses swarming into the digital space means you have more competition. Fortunately, you can build advantage by planning ahead.

Planning ahead involves the following:

  • Understanding staff needs and providing the correct training
  • Engaging in long-term link-building to improve website SEO rankings
  • Long-term content strategy, including social media events
  • Activating outsourcing strategies
  • Automating business process
  • Building professional networks

So, After Making it Through 2022, What Next?

While your immediate objective is to see out the rest of the year successfully, you must plan for what comes after. So you must strategize and plan for growth by developing well-thought-out plans tailored to your business.

For example, how many employees do you need to handle a specific number of customers? Which new regions should you expand to? What strategies should you employ to scale? And how do you beat your competition?