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Post Covid-19: Marketing strategies for small business survival



IFC Disburses $50m Loan To Nigerian SMEs Affected By Pandemic

By David Alonge

At least, more than 90% of small and medium businesses have been adversely affected by the insurgent of COVID19 pandemic in Nigeria, FATE foundation reported in its recent survey on the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian MSMEs. The survey also shows that areas such as cash flow (72%), sales (68%) and revenue (59%) of a typical small business were particularly affected from this pandemic in the first quarter of this year.

As a result, there has been a pocket of job losses, shut down of small businesses and budget cuts by some organizations to fit into the unforeseen situation brought by the pandemic. While we keep lamenting these negative impacts in virtually every sector of the economy, there’s a need to accept the reality as soon as possible and begin to lay down plans for the post Covid19 business environment when things are gradually coming back to normalcy.

Normalcy in this case will not be the way things were prior to the advent of the pandemic. In reality, things are beginning to change and will continue. The fashion world, health sector, workplace, business process, socio-cultural system and marketing practices, among others, are drastically conforming to the effect of the Covid19.

Small businesses are much more vulnerable to the effect of this pandemic as some businesses would come out of lockdown to lock their offices or workshops due to sip up of both running capital and profit during the trying time. Backed by the reports from FATE foundation, about 30% of small businesses were not sure of surviving the pandemic.

Others will come out struggling to fight their ways in the market space again for survival. Though, the Federal Government of Nigeria has introduced some palliatives and support grants to cushion the effect of Covid19 on small businesses, there is need to put in place internal along with external strategy to enable small businesses to survive in their marketing efforts.

New approaches as the way out for small business

First and foremost, small businesses should reinvent their marketing goal in line with the current situation. As reality begins to manifest from the situation, people are shifting from the traditional marketing to online marketing. Industry report from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows an increase of 15.24 million, equivalent to 12.09% in the number of internet users in the country in just five months from 126.08 million in December 2019 to 141.16 million as at May, 2020.

As many continue to glue with their mobile screen surfing online, small business owners should re-evaluate their marketing goals to meet the needs of the users online. Going back to the drawing board to shift more focus on digital marketing as well as carving out a niche-based marketing to target your precise audience will not only stand your business out among competitors but also increase your return on investment (RoI).

Furthermore, there is no better time to review your products or services value offers than now for you as a small business owner. The pandemic has brought many unexpected changes in the daily living of the human race, especially in finance.

People are now becoming penny pincher – very conscious of how they spend their hard-earned money these days; spending judiciously on their most valuable needs rather than unimportant ones. As a small business owner, you need to assess your products or services value for improvement or renewal. In doing so, you’re creating more values for your customers to consider your products or services in their prudent budgeting.

It’s not only sufficient to conduct internal evaluation without considering the external which is also one of the determining factors of surviving in the market after this turbulence. One thing small business owners and entrepreneurs should consider doing is to reevaluate the competitive market and customers’ preferences. This is the best time to understand how to win more customers in the competitive market by offering extra values than your rivals. A more appropriate way to do this is to study your customer preferences and use data gathered to position your product or service value to meet their needs.

Similarly, small businesses should welcome creativity and innovations at this period to remain relevant and productive in this trying period. Adoption of technological tools to better your product or service offer will not only improve your customers experience but also position it as well as project your brand image positively.

Encourage your team to be more creative, introduce innovative ideas and support systems to improve your service or product delivery. Training and retraining of your team to cultivate the culture of welcoming new ideas and innovations will go a long way to improve your business. As a small business, you direly need this.

Finally, flexibility is key in this digital era. The ability to be flexible to changes will help you to stand firm in the marketplace for a long period of time. Typical examples of brands your business must not follow paths with are RIM (makers of Blackberry) and Nokia. Probably your business finds out your product or service may not be relevant to your customers’ needs, welcome diversification. Diversify into new offerings to contest smarter and bigger.

marketinf strategies for small business

David Alonge is a digital marketing expert and CEO, Harlong Digitech



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