Dell Technologies
BMS-center-logo
 

Rebuilding Your Business After COVID-19 : Part 2 of 2

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

The current COVID-19 pandemic has been raging all over the world since late 2019 and almost every small business has suffered various types of negative financial effects. Having a keen understanding of exactly how much your business has suffered, as well as having a solid plan in place, will dramatically help your business get back on track during this pandemic and hopefully after the danger has passed.

In Part one of this mini-series we covered some ways you can prepare your business.  This part will continue to provide you a few more things you can do right now to prepare your business for a post-COVID-19 world.  VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association wishes you great success and prosperity.

 

4.) Time to Revise Your Budget:

To place your business back on its feet, you may need to invest a significant amount of money and/or resources to make money.   You may need to launch new ad campaigns as well as invest in new marketing materials and collateral.  You may also need to determine if you need new inventory as well as there might be new and improved   equipment that you need to buy.  You may also to hire or rehire employees with additional skills such as eCommerce expertise.  You must have a clear vision of   how much you need to get your business rolling on a day-to-day basis.   It is a reasonable assumption that your pre-COVID-19 budget is no longer applicable, and you need to tweak it for this “new normal”.

 

5.) Put Together a Re-Build Timeline:  

It will take hard work and energy to get your business back following the pandemic and doing everything all at once is not very realistic. Putting together a timeline that prioritizes your most important actions will help you reach each of your re-opening goals in an easier and quicker manner. For example, you may want to start by securing a loan, then rehiring your employees, then restocking inventory, etc. Also, make sure to track your progress each step of the way.   Having a timeline and plan in place will keep you organized.

 

6.)  BE PREPARED!  Put Together A Plan Now for the Next Crisis:

Though this pandemic seems like a once-in-a-lifetime event, the reality is that an emergency of this nature may well happen again and again.   For example, we are seeing a resurgence in hot spots and COVID 19 cases in areas that may have re-opened too soon and may have to close before they can again reopen. Use what you have learned during this pandemic to put together a comprehensive plan to help you insulate your business from future shocks and downturns.

You may want to:

  • Build up liquid cash savings
  • Pay down or pay off any debts
  • Trim your nonessential spending
  • Find ways to help your staff work more efficiently
  • Cut operating costs

 

The more you can prepare now, the better off you will be once the pandemic has passed. Having at least one plan in place will greatly improve your odds of surviving now during these tough financial times and eventually thriving again more quickly and more efficiently.

 

Rebuilding Your Business After COVID-19 : Part 1 of 2

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Unless you have been living under a rock or in seclusion, you understand the COVID-19 pandemic has ground many businesses to a halt and wreaked financial havoc all over the world. Many businesses are continuing to struggle as the pandemic continues to rage months after it first began. According to a recent study by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), as of March 30, 2020 approximately 92% of small businesses that responded said they were suffering negative financial impacts as a result of the pandemic. Only 5% said they have experienced no effects at all.

A plan can dramatically help your business get back on track once the danger has passed. The short-term outlook for businesses varies widely depending on your industry.   No one knows what the “new normal” will be and we can only make guesses at how the overall economy will look. There are a few things you can do right now to prepare your business for a post-COVID-19 world.  They include the following:

 

1.) Assess the Overall Financial Damage to Your Business:

Before you can start planning how you will recover, you need to know exactly how your business has been impacted.  Now is the time to collect all of the numbers (from places such as profit and loss or cash flow statements) in order to compare them to previous years and determine just how much it has affected you. Next you will need to take a close look at how at what other parts of your business have been impacted including if you had to lay off workers, you were forced to greatly reduce marketing budgets or it became necessary to have workers perform their jobs remotely from in home offices.

 

2.) Will you Need Funding to Recover?

Your business may need a fresh infusion of cash to get back on its feet. The earlier you get the ball rolling on financing, the better off you will be. Take the time to research your options so that you find the right financing for your individual needs.

There are several options that you may consider, such as:

  • Small business loans and microloans
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (which is designed to provide funding to small businesses that are struggling to retain their employees during the pandemic)
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans(short-term pandemic financing for things other than employee retention)
  • Business credit cards
  • Business lines of credit
  • Inventory financing
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Small business term loans from banks, credit unions and online lenders
  • Vendor trade-lines
  • Accounts receivable financing
  • Purchase order financing
  • Equipment financing
  • And more

Each option has its own pros and cons so do your research and always consult a professional if you need guidance.

 

3.) Revise Your Business Plan:

Your business plan may have been working perfectly for your business pre-COVID-19, but now it may need some fine-tuning or outright re-writing. Specifically, you need to consider how your business will be able to adjust to the new normal once to survive during COVID or hopefully after it is gone. Take a good look at what was working for your business before the pandemic that may not work as well now and see where you can adjust or improve to remain competitive in your industry.

If you previously had a traditional brick and mortar shop before COVID-19, you may want to now expand into eCommerce or digital offerings since more people are turning to online shopping for all of their needs. If your employees are now working from home, you may consider keeping that arrangement.  In other words, you need to fine tune your business.

You should also take a good look at the current trends and what your competitors are doing in your industry. You may find a gap that your business could easily fulfill which could be critical to reclaiming and expanding your customer base going forward.

 

The second part of this series will offer you more recommendations including going over your budget, your budget, your re-build timeline and why you should have a plan in place for the next crisis. Stay tuned.

Ways to Improve Your Social Media Image : Part 2 of 2

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

 

In Part 1 of this article, we went over properly naming your profiles, adding consistent logos or images, utilizing reviews to build trust in your brand and proper image sizes for the most popular platforms. Below you will find more tips to help make your social platforms more professional and engaging for your followers.

 

6.) Untag yourself from inappropriate posts

Tags are an excellent way to connect with more fans, but only if they are used in a correct manner.  When tagged in an inappropriate photo or post, you can actually harm your company or brand’s overall image and this can also result in you losing followers, which is the last thing you want.

Almost all social networks allow you to:

  • See where you’ve been tagged
  • See who can see your tagged photos and posts
  • Approve photos you’ve been tagged in before they appear
  • Remove tags from unwanted photos and posts
  • Restrict who can tag you in photos

Make sure to keep a close eye on any photo you are tagged in and remove any that do not align with your brand or image. Never leave yourself tagged in inappropriate or spam posts.

 

7.) Cross promote your social media accounts

Almost every social media platform allows you to add one or more websites to your profile. The first one is usually your company’s main website. but don’t forget to add links to your other social media pages here as well. LinkedIn, YouTUBE, Facebook, and Pinterest all allow you to add multiple links to your profile.

 

8.) Use the right keywords so that you are discoverable in a search

Adding the right keywords to your profile allows you to be discovered much easier for your business, industry, or niche. Keyword tools such as SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner can help you identify the right words and terms to use. Don’t simply stuff the keywords into your profile in places they do not belong. Make sure that you are using the keywords naturally in the text of your profile and posts.

 

9.) Make sure to fill out your profiles

Make sure that every field, for every profile, is fully filled in with engaging content. This makes your page appear more professional. You need to clearly and succinctly explain what you do, what your followers can expect from you and a clear call-to-action for what your followers should do next.

 

10.) Test all of your links

When you post a link to your profile or page, it is important that you make sure that the link works as intended. There is nothing more frustrating for a follower than to click on a broken link. Typos do happen but make sure they are not interfering with your customer’s experience with you.

 

Social media is part of almost everyone’s daily life. Make sure that your profiles are as professional and recognizable as possible. Utilizing all these quick tips will help you craft the clean, professional, and optimized social media profiles that you need to succeed.  VAMBOA hopes that this information is helpful to your small veteran or military owned business.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

VAMBOA wants to provide our veteran and military business owners some ideas and suggestions to help increase your social media standing.  This will enable your veteran or military owned business to gain new followers and showcase your expertise.

 

1.) Pin your best content to the top of your profile

A pinned post stays at the top of your profile and is the very first things that people see when they click on you or search for you. You can pin posts to the top of your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. This is an excellent place to add and showcase your very best work. Add items including a video, a special offer, a new landing page, a new product or an important message.

 

2.) Use a consistent page or handle name across all platforms

Using the same handle makes it easy for your followers, fans and customers to find you across all of the social networks that you utilize. You need to make it as easy as possible to find, follow, and mention you. Make your handle as short and simple as possible and as close to your company or brand name as you can.

 

3.) Use a consistent profile image across all platforms

Your company or brand logo should be consistent across all of your social media accounts. Using different photos or logos for each platform dilutes your visual identity and recognition.

 

4.) Build trust through reviews

Ask for reviews, endorsements, and recommendations from friends, family as well as past and current clients. People trust peer recommendations more than paid ads. The more reviews you can obtain, the better.  Keep in mind that some platform reviews carry more weight than others. For example, a recommendation on LinkedIn will go much further for you than a Yelp review.

When you do ask for recommendations or reviews, try to make it as easy as possible for the person to write the review. Send them a quick, personalized, message with a few questions that are relevant to your industry that you would like the person to include in your recommendation. Questions such as:

  • What successes did we experience together?
  • What’s one thing you get with me that you can’t get anywhere else?
  • What talents, abilities and characteristics describe me?
  • What am I’m good at?
  • Are there any other distinguishing features you think I possess?
  • What can be counted on?
  • What was my impact on you?
  • What was my impact on the company?
  • How did I change what you do?
  • What are five words that describe me?

A great way to gain reviews and recommendations is by giving them first!  Most people are happy to reciprocate a positive review.

 

5.) Use proper image sizes for each platform

Optimizing your profile images based on the platform you are using makes your brand look more professional.

Below are some of the most common you may need:

Facebook

  • Facebook profile picture: 170 X 170 pixels
  • Facebook cover photo: 828 X 465 pixels

Twitter

  • Twitter profile photo: 400 X 400 pixels
  • Twitter header image: 1,500 X 500 pixels

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn profile photo: 400 X 400 pixels
  • LinkedIn custom background: 1584 X 396 pixels
  • LinkedIn cover photo: 974 X 330 pixels
  • LinkedIn banner image: 646 X 220 pixels

Instagram

  • Instagram profile picture: 110 X 110 pixels

Pinterest

  • Pinterest profile picture: 150 X 150 pixels

YouTUBE

  • YouTUBE profile picture: 800 X 800 pixels
  • YouTUBE cover photo: 2,560 X 1,440 pixels

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article. It will cover topic including tagging, cross promoting, keywords, and more.

How to Use Hashtags on Popular Social Networks

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Our last two articles went over what a hashtag is, why you need to use them when posting on social media, as well as how to find the best hashtags to use for your posts. In this article, we will go over tips on how to use those hashtags on each of the popular social platforms.

 

TWITTER

We will begin with Twitter because this platform was the first to utilize hashtags. Hashtags on Twitter are best sprinkled into the post itself to emphasize or highlight important parts of your Tweet.

 

Keep in mind:

  • Utilize relevant hashtags
  • Twitter recommends no more than 2 hashtags per post
  • More is not better, too many hashtags looks spammy

 

INSTAGRAM

You want to put hashtags after your photo caption, in your stories, in your profile as well as in the comments section when you are engaging your followers.

 

Keep in mind:

  • Instagram recommends no more than 10 hashtags per post (the largest number of all the social media platforms)
  • Instead of posting your hashtags with your images caption, consider adding them as the first comment on the post so that your followers can focus on your caption without being distracted or put off

 

PINTEREST

You want to add hashtags when writing a pin description or a description for a pin you are re-pinning.

 

Keep in mind:

  • Pinterest recommends no more than 5 hashtags per post
  • Pinterest is more like a search engine than a social platform so make sure that your hashtags are searchable, specific, and contain relevant keywords

 

FACEBOOK

You can include hashtags in any part of your written post or in the comments.

 

Keep in mind:

  • Facebook recommends no more than 2 hashtags per post
  • You can search for a hashtag using Facebook’s search bar
  • You can click on any hashtag to see the posts using that same hashtag

 

YOUTUBE

You want to add relevant hashtags to your video title or video description.

 

Keep in mind:

  • YOUTUBE recommends no more than 3 hashtags per post
  • Adding too many hashtags to your video can get your content flagged as spam
  • Hashtags are made into clickable links in titles and descriptions on YOUTUBE so followers can find other content with the same hashtags
  • If you don’t include hashtags in the title of your video, the first three hashtags in the description will show above your videos title

 

LinkedIn

You want to add hashtags in your LinkedIn updates and any articles you post to the platform.

 

Keep in mind:

  • LinkedIn recommends no more than 2 hashtags per post
  • LinkedIn is more of a professional platform than other popular social media sites You need to be sure that you keep your use of hashtags professional too
  • You can follow hashtags on LinkedIn to see recent posts that include hashtags
  • Hashtags can be searched using the platform’s search bar
  • Trending hashtags will show in the “news and views” section on your home page

 

Regardless of which social platforms you use, make sure that the hashtags you add to your posts are timely, relevant, specific to your business, and make sure you don’t use too many of them.

 

We hope these articles on Hashtags have been helpful to our VAMBOA members.

ibmpos_blurgb