Could coronavirus change your business for the better?


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DMU's Business Support Officer Jackie Cooper looks at the opportunities the pandemic offers to small businesses and start-ups


Disney, FedEx, Microsoft, WhatsApp, and Airbnb. What do they have in common? They are all hugely successful, and they all launched during a recession.

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The coronavirus pandemic has left Britain and the rest of the world facing an economic downturn of the kind not seen since the Great Depression. But – and I know this sounds counter-intuitive – the pandemic also offers opportunities.

Whether that is the chance to pause and reflect on the way you do business, or the chance to get to know your customers better this is a great time to work on your business.

If you would like to chat through any ideas, or explore any options then do remember that DMU’s business services is here to help. You can email me here if you would like to get in touch.

DEVELOP YOUR ONLINE OFFER

With nearly everyone working from home, businesses have never needed to have an online offer more. Is yours up to scratch? Do you have an ecommerce store on your website? If you are a larger business, what has the pandemic shown about your supply chain or your fulfilment system?

How DMU can help: DMU students are being matched with small businesses in Leicester that need digital expertise. From websites, market analysis, email marketing, and more – get in touch to have a student work on your business, for free, for 12 weeks

NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

People buy from people and I am convinced that after this pandemic is finally over, they will remember those companies that went above and beyond, the people who kept in touch and those who would check in on them. You need to make it your businesses to ensure your customers feel nurtured, that you keep those relationships going.
Yes you can send an email or write newsletters – or simply pick up the phone and have a chat. This builds the connection, and gives you the chance to talk to someone other than the people in your household which is always welcome right now!
Make sure that you make an appointment for a time that is good for both of you and that you set time aside. Don’t be salesy, just be curious. How is life for them now, how are they coping, what do they need help with?

For many people networking was a big part of their business week. Search Eventbrite and discover that many Leicester networks are still taking place. Join in, help spread the word, and take part. Sharing experiences together will help strengthen your business networks.

CAN I PIVOT? 

There’s an opportunity to think deeply about how you can offer a new product or service in these times and enhance your business offer. For example, we have two pubs in my village. One is now doing lunches for elderly people, and delivering them. It’s adding a new service, strengthening its position as part of the community and who knows? Some of the people who didn’t use the pub before may become new customers once this is over.

So think about questions such as: what problems are people facing right now? What do they need that isn’t being offered? How does it differ from what your competitors do?

If you would like to explore expanding your current offer or just want someone to bounce ideas off, you can get in touch. I’m at Jackie.cooper@dmu.ac.uk

Look forward to hearing from you!
Posted on Thursday 28th May 2020

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