business owner sitting outside doing paperwork
From surveying your existing customers to expanding into an entirely new market, there are several ways to pivot your business's approach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. — Getty Images/andresr

The coronavirus pandemic has caused global panic, and many business owners have lost customers and revenue. Here are five ways you can rework your business plan and find new opportunities for your small business.

Survey your customers

It’s important to listen to your customers and figure out what they’re thinking. Understanding where they’re at will put your business in a better position to step in and help.

SurveyMonkey allows you to create surveys and polls and automatically analyzes your results. You can gather feedback through a variety of channels, including email, social media or mobile chat.

Typeform is another great survey option because it focuses on user interaction. The company provides hundreds of templates for quizzes, polls and surveys.

One of the most affordable survey tools is Google Forms. It’s easy to use, and customer responses are automatically saved in a Google spreadsheet.

Assess your current business model

Once you’ve spent some time listening to your customers, you need to evaluate your current business model. What areas of your business have been affected the most heavily?

With LivePlan, you can browse through hundreds of sample business plans across a variety of different industries. From there, you can organize your ideas and come up with a revised one-page plan.

Or you can use Bizplan and take advantage of their free templates and comprehensive training videos. They’ll show you how to find funding and give you free access to Fundable.com.

PlanGuru is one of the best strategic planning tools for small businesses. The software allows you to forecast different scenarios and see how various decisions could affect your business. This will enable you to make informed decisions about your pivot.

[Read more: How to Pivot Your Business to Survive the New Normal]

The shift to digital solutions was already happening, but the pandemic has accelerated this trend. So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to begin creating more video and audio content.

Launch a new product for your current customers

One way to pivot is by launching a new product or service for your current customers. Your existing customers already know and trust your business, so it’s just a matter of finding a unique solution to meet their needs.

With ProductPlan, you can visualize your product strategy. You can create visual road maps and develop different road maps for different audiences. Plus, you can share and update these maps with other team members.

Hubspot Marketing can help you plan a marketing launch for your next product. You can use the software to create new content, collaborate with other team members and monitor your social media engagement.

Customer feedback is an essential part of launching any new product. Qualaroo helps you gain insight into what your customers think about your product and identify areas where you can improve. And you can use the software to run surveys and figure out why some leads aren’t converting.

Consider expanding to a new market

Another option is to identify a need in the marketplace and expand your business into an entirely new market. If you decide to do this, an embedded analytics platform like Tableau can help.

The software integrates with your website, product and other platforms and provides custom reports. The data you receive using Tableau can help you identify potential new revenue streams.

Creating custom landing pages is a must for any business looking to expand their services. With Leadpages, you can create custom landing pages, pop-ups and alert bars.

Finally, Toptal can help you leverage qualified freelance contractors for your next project. Toptal is an exclusive network for freelance designers, project managers and software developers, among many others. You can find your next hire in less than 48 hours.

Increase your shift to digital tools

The shift to digital solutions was already happening, but the pandemic has accelerated this trend. So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to begin creating more video and audio content.

Screenflow allows you to create, edit and consistently produce high-quality videos. And you can even add in high-quality stock photos and animations.

If you’re interested in getting into podcasting, give Buzzsprout a try. You can use the software to create new episodes, upload the audio file and publish your podcast in the top directories.

GoToWebinar is one of the best tools for hosting live webinars for your audience. You can manage the event settings, promote the event and create surveys and polls to keep your audience engaged.

[Read more: How to Pivot to Virtual Events]

For more resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published August 26, 2020