Change has officially arrived, in more ways than one.
Gathered around the television, you may notice a shift in the way larger businesses are now marketing their services.
With companies competing for attention from the general public, which is increasingly distracted, commercials no longer have the same tone or feel.
From warm ads with soft, comforting music and text on the screen, to ads that attempt to humorize the situations we’re finding ourselves in—like Progressive’s ad that hits on our frustrations with video calls.
But what does this mean for small businesses?
Unfortunately, some of our favorite small businesses will never open their doors again.
B2B businesses can still come out on top with the same tactics that got us to where we are today: staying nimble, pivoting, and using our resources wisely.
Let’s touch on some of the disparities that the coronavirus outbreak has led to today and how small businesses are curbing the effects with unmatched resilience.
And, most importantly, let’s figure out how we can come together to support the small businesses in our local communities.
How COVID-19 Impacts Small Business Budgets
Businesses owned by women, Black folks and other people of color are the most vulnerable right now.
Why is that, exactly?
While large companies are set to receive bailouts from the government, small businesses are scrambling to stay afloat.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 38 percent of small businesses that actually applied for loans will receive one. Minority-owned small businesses struggle even more, with only 12 percent getting the loans they need.
Let’s pause for a moment.
We’re all facing a lot of hard truths, and the truths being faced by marginalized business owners are even harder.
How are Women-Owned Businesses Affected?
With women-owned businesses accounting for 40 percent of all business in the United States, it’s safe to say women play a major role boosting the U.S. economy.
Yet experts say that 90 percent of minority and women-owned businesses will be denied Paycheck Protection Program loans during the national shutdown.
There are two reasons behind this massive financial gap:
- Many small businesses may not have significant capital to begin with, or
- the banks they’re requesting the loans through have lending caps that require minimum asking amounts.
But it doesn’t stop with gender: the average white family makes 10 times the amount of a Black family.
Right out the gate, Black-owned businesses are already in last place. The Small Business Administration has found that many banks are giving priority to people who already have loans with them, while some banks won’t even look at your business if you ask for anything less than $30,000.
Don’t forget to take into payroll, applying for government funding, and watching small children into account since daycares and schools are shut down for an indeterminate amount of time.
Disparity is rampant. Minorities in every sense of the word are not being dealt a fair hand here. With money being shucked in different directions, they are having to pick and choose what is most important for their business right now.
And one of the first things to go in most businesses is marketing—which could aid small businesses in generating new leads.
Minority-Owned Businesses that are Making Marketing Work—on a Budget
Some companies are pulling or tweaking their ads to be sensitive to the current climate. These businesses are thinking of ways to adjust pricing and marketing in order to make a profit.
Shontay Lundy, Owner of Black Girl Sunscreen, is a small business owner who is not allowing the economic downfall of COVID-19 to affect her business. Shontay is well aware that businesses run by women of color rarely receive funding, so she decided to revamp her strategy to make sure her company thrives now and in the long term.
Shontay and her team decided to focus their efforts on their business’s social media presence, and since has seen a huge bump in online sales. By focusing their marketing efforts on a platform that has given them results in the past, and through collaboration, they were able to come together with a plan that got them results.
Other small, women and minority-owned businesses can use this same tactic. Try taking a step back to brainstorm on past tactics that have generated results.
Reworking Strategies to Improve Results
You know your clients the best, so you know what their main worries are right now. And you also know what’s worked to attract prospective clients in the past.
One way to rework your marketing strategy is to revisit the way you’re speaking to your existing and prospective clients.
Instead of spending on Facebook ads, hop on to Instagram Live to answer questions you’ve been receiving from clients.
Another way to rework your strategy is to make sure your business accounts, website pages, and landing pages are up-to-date, optimized, and are still addressing your target audience’s problems.
Adding incentives for referrals, like free consultations, can also make your clients feel valued and nurtured, too.
Women Business Owners Prove Resilient
Despite the odds stacked against us, we’re still showing up to the table. Many types of businesses have found themselves looking into e-Commerce all of a sudden.
Brown Beauty Co-op is a woman- and Black-owned business that thrives off the in-store client experience. The boutique is lavish and feminine in all aspects. They literally call themselves a “playground for black beauty.” With states putting stay-at-home orders in place, Brown Beauty Co-op quickly pivoted.
Keeping the lush, ladylike feel, Brown Beauty Co-op updated their website’s layout to mirror a standard e-commerce website, with high-quality designs, easily scannable content, and a simple navigation bar.
How You Can Support Other Women and BIPOC Owned Businesses
Now it’s time for local communities to support small businesses as we continue to work from home. Here are a few things you can do to express gratitude and support.
Step 1. Buy From Them!
Instead of ordering from a large corporation, order from the small Samoan-owned deli down the street. Put your dollars back into your community by buying Black, Latinx, and women-owned.
Black and Latinx buying power is set to increase to the trillions between 2020-2023, which will help set up communities and support those who have lost their jobs search for employment opportunities.
In a nutshell, it’s essential for consumers to support BIPOC, especially when they need it most.
Step 2. Using Social Media When It Matters
Social media is a beacon for sharing and finding information on small businesses in our communities. Build a Facebook page filled with your favorite Black-owned food spots or share a female-owned apparel store on your IG story.
Step 3. Support #ThankYouSmallBusiness
Keep an eye out for local organizations, clothing stores, and restaurants that put money back into the small business community.
For example, BodyGuardz is a screen protector company that is giving ten percent of proceeds to the Relief Haven Foundation (an organization that supports small businesses and hospitals).
You have control over where your dollars are spent, so make sure your money makes an impact when you purchase.
We Do Better Together
At times it seems like the odds are stacked up against small businesses. Especially now. Yet small businesses are made of people who have a vision, set goals, and don’t give up.
Our team at Wayward Kind believes in making a way even when the way doesn’t seem clear. We specialize in bringing your business’s vision to life in a creative, human way.
Let’s go forward together.