How U.S. small business can recover from the pandemic

Moving Forward Together.

During the pandemic of the last 13 months, small businesses in the United States have been decimated, injured, and in many cases, had to shut down permanently. The hospitality and restaurant businesses have seen 15-20% of the industry close their doors. In many states that number is much higher. It is estimated that 100,000 restaurants alone have shut their doors. That equates to over 3 million lost jobs, 225 billion dollars in lost wages, and 75 billion dollars in lost revenue.
        According to a JP Morgan report, small businesses saw a 52% average decline in revenue. Over 3 million small businesses have shuttered and quit.    
        The future of small business remains in “ICU”.  Customer demand, the availability of online sales, unemployment benefits, health concerns, and State and Federal enforced policies all contribute to the problem.

        A recent report from the National Center for Biomedical Technology Information, estimated that from February to April 2020, over 3.3 million businesses were inactive, or 22 percent of small business. The precipitous drop was largest ever recorded in the U.S. Every industry was affected. Even against those odds small business is still around and there is a small light at the end of the tunnel.

        Another recent study noted that only 10% of the small business sector has seen a return to profitability. Cost cutting in labor, benefits, and in some cases downsizing the required space to operate, are the major areas small businesses have been addressing to return to profitability. Another way is the introduction of a new product to small business product line.

         Communicate,   Communicate,  Communicate.

        Nothing is as important for a small business recovery than communication to its customers, vendors, and employees. Communication equals transparency. When any of the three areas mentioned above are good or bad, there is no better way to business health than letting them know. The very survival is dependent on effective and honest communication. 

        Small businesses that historically used face-face sales calls need to be more creative in touching the customer. Facebook, Twitter, emails, and other social channels is the order of the day. 

        PSI communicates constantly with our Hewlett Packard Distribution Centers to ensure we have the availability of Designjet Wide format ink, printheads, and printers to meet our customer's needs

        PSI communicates with our customers via social media and phone, checking on their supplies and notifying them of any possible issues. PSI’s service department receives many calls per day helping wide format customers with Designjet printing, ink, printhead, media and printer error codes. We pride ourselves on being able to solve over 80% of service issues over the phone. That saves the customer the cost of an onsite repair call.  

        Think out of the Box. 

        Small businesses are at a huge disadvantage when compared to Big Box Stores such as Walmart, Target and Amazon (the Big Three). In order to get a “piece of the pie”. Small businesses need to add value to their product offerings. 

        The big three offer price and usually quick delivery 1-2 days. Many of their products are priced equal or a little less than small business. However, when there is a problem, you can’t call and discuss it. You have to go through their return system which can take 5-7 days to resolve.

        Small businesses can offer a huge advantage. A customer that has a problem or a product that was ordered wrong by mistake, can pick up the phone and talk to a human for resolution. That reduces the customer “down time” creating a sense of comfort and trust that make for customer loyalty.

        Look for niche products to enhance your product lines. Niche products not only add value but it provides an opportunity to create a new type of customer.

        PSI utilizes our service and product knowledge to provide our customers with the knowledge that we are a one stop shop for ink, printheads, media, and Hewlett Packard Designjet printers. Our logistics have evolved where we can now deliver products and printers in 1-3 days anywhere in the U.S

        Using Technology to drive business. 

        The pandemic is not going away without a fight. Small business will continue to be attacked economically, socially, and indirectly by the big three. Yet here we are, some businesses are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Others are still in despair, wondering how they will survive.

        You must absolutely communicate using social media. If you have a website, make sure it is up to date. Get people to review you on social media. That is a great way to increase your presence. Look for free space to advertise your company products and people. Look for new products even if they are out of your current line of offerings. Add value for your customers to continue their support.   

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