Small Business Spotlight: What pandemic-proof businesses are doing to survive and thrive

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Every company has become a tech company.

AlleyWatch Founder and CEO Reza Chowdhury says brand news businesses are currently in better shape than the ones that existed pre-pandemic because they've entered the market at lower costs with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

"The businesses that have survived have really, in an interesting exercise of elasticity of demand, in many cases have raised their prices because they have less demand and this is a real paradox when it comes to economics," Chowdhury said on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

These businesses are trying to cover their losses by raising prices on fewer customers.

"When things open up, new entrants will be able to enter because the demand will rise," the tech founder explained, adding, "They'll be able to come in with some sort of advantage."

Those advantages include lower rents that will allow new businesses to undercut their competitors on price.

Chowdhury told WCBS 880's Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso these new businesses should remain lean and keep their costs low until the future becomes more clear.

AlleyWatch currently has six employees - an amazingly small team for such an influential trade publication that features a daily startup funding report that shows what types of companies and industries are wooing investors. It offers other advertising and content services, too.

While some traditional retailers and professional services firms had resisted building their online presence, they've been catching up in the last year.
Chowdhury believes they do have transferrable skills that will help them sell online.

"There's a bit of storytelling involved to get people interested in these products on a digital level," he said, noting brick-and-mortar stores double as in-person advertising.

The tech guru told WCBS 880 business owners should just try everything in the realm of digital content at first. Businesses should tell their story and share their brand identity to attract target customers. Then, Chowdhury said, utilize a number of research tools available to track engagement and monitor how many people are visiting the point-of-sale website from social media posts.

"You're going to get, really, an instant feedback mechanism and feedback loop from these tools," he said, continuing, "The beauty of digital is you can attribute this to where the lead came from."

From there, Chowdhury says, invest the remaining advertising budget in content that has performed well and can be attributed to sales.

Watch the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above for tips on implementing a digital strategy and the new trends in business investment.