2020 was a tough year. Since the start of the pandemic, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) faced major challenges like managing cash flow, building a strong supply chain, getting their business online, and keeping employees safe. Despite the rocky year, SMBS have remained resilient and pivoted to overcome these challenges.
Now that these key challenges for SMBS have been identified, we want to help you start off the new year on the right foot. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 21 tips for 2021. You’ll find guidance on everything from navigating the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage to identifying serious buyers to building your brand using social media. Here’s to a new year of getting digital, going global, and growing in 2021.
Tip #1: how to create high-quality content
Allison DeFord of FELT Marketing shares why content is the most important part of any marketing strategy, and how you can create high-quality content that targets your audience.
Tip #2: using social media to build trust
Find out how you can use social media to engage with your customers, build trust, and grow your brand from Allison DeFord of FELT Marketing.
Tip #3: ensure smooth shipping with our importing checklist
International trade can seem complicated. But it doesn't need to be. Ensure smooth shipping with this importing checklist, covering everything from selecting your shipping method to agreeing on the correct incoterms.
Tip #4: the ultimate guide on how to start exporting
Exporting can open up a lot of new opportunities for SMBs. It allows you to diversify your risk and reach new buyers around the world. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to start an export business.
Tip #5: fresh perspectives on cash flow for SMBs
Even during blue-sky times, access to cash is a struggle for SMBs. During a pandemic, these businesses are particularly vulnerable to cash flow gaps. Find out creative solutions to remain cash flow positive from Hello Alice.
Tip #6: the benefits of using a B2B ecommerce marketplace
More and more B2B SMBs are pivoting to digital to remain competitive. Find out why it’s not just about getting online, but about getting onto a B2B ecommerce marketplace.
Tip #7: creating a digital storefront that converts
Wondering how to build a digital storefront that stands out and drives new business? Hear from geekspeak Commerce on the ways you can represent your brand and boost buyer confidence by creating an easy-to-navigate digital storefront.
Tip #8: changes in consumer behavior to consider in 2021
Staying on top of the latest consumer trends is one way to ensure your business remains competitive in 2021. Hear the latest research from ThoughtWorks on the long-lasting shifts in consumer behaviors.
Tip #9: keeping up with the latest products
Struggling to find what product to sell next? Alibaba.com helps you stay up to date on the latest products. Check out our What to Sell mobile report for in-depth product research on what’s trending now.
Tip #10: understanding incoterms
Incoterms are notoriously confusing to buyers. But these acronyms significantly impact the entire shipping process. Hear from the Alibaba.com experts on the different incoterms you may encounter while importing goods.
Tip #11: a checklist for going global
Expanding into global markets can become not only a new revenue stream for your company; it can become a true competitive advantage as well. Ray Ziganto of Linara International offers a checklist for businesses to consider as they think about international expansion.
Tip #12: how to identify serious buyers
It's important to know how to identify serious buyers so you know where to invest your time. Josh Curcio, COO and Partner of protocol80, Inc., explains how you can quickly recognize the difference between qualified and unqualified buyers.
Tip #13: the advantages of getting payment terms
Invoice payment terms have become common in the US, but they’re still not as widely used in cross-border B2B trade. Learn why you want deferred payments and how to negotiate for them.
Tip #14: managing supply chain in the time of COVID-19
COVID-19 severely disrupted global supply chains. Rather than looking for short-term solutions, SMBs should focus on building a resilient supply chain for the long term. Find out 5 tips you can use right now to mitigate any future risks.
Tip #15: building your brand
What is branding and why is it important? Hear from Founder of Bond and Seek Tishay Alston as she shares her knowledge on branding and the specific steps on how to build a successful brand strategy.
Tip #16: keeping employees safe in 2021
Keeping employees healthy and safely reopening operations is a top concern going into 2021. This is exacerbated by the continuing PPE shortage. See how companies large and small worked together and pivoted — with the help of Alibaba.com Select — to help address this critical shortage, and find out tips to keep your employees safe when returning to work.
Tip #17: optimizing your product listings
Your product listings are meant to drive traffic and sales. That’s why it’s important to make sure they’re as engaging as possible. Hear from Megan Kimmerer, Client Success and Communications Manager at geekspeak Commerce, on how to best optimize your product listings using copy and SEO.
Tip #18: choosing the right keywords for your target audience
Store shoppers use aisles to navigate stores, but online shoppers use keywords to navigate ecommerce. Chad Michael, Director of International Ecommerce at Growve, shares why keywords are paramount to the success of your business, and gives tips on picking the right keywords for your products.
Tip #19: why now is the time to take your small business global
Cross-border trade is complex. That might be why just one-third of US SMBs export. But there’s never been a better time to go global. See why the businesses who start exporting now will be set up for success in the future.
Tip #20: diversifying your traffic sources
SEO is a great way to generate traffic to your site, but it’s important to diversify and not solely rely on this one method. Ira Bowman, Owner of Bowman Digital Media, shares the different ways you can explore and optimize other top traffic sources to drive sales.
Tip #21: how to successfully sell products on Alibaba.com
Rashee Gupta made the leap from blogger to ecommerce entrepreneur in 2017. Hear about her journey and how she built a thriving business by selling her products to a global audience on Alibaba.com.
This week's #B2BTuesday Tip:
Reflect and identify past challenges. This will help you build a strong plan to overcome and adapt when faced with similar challenges in the future.