Owning a business can be an overwhelming task on a normal day but trying to do what’s right and not fear the unknown amid increased shutdowns, regulations and ever-changing safety and health recommendations is challenging to even the most flexible business owners.
As a digital marketing agency, we have good fortune to be able to work wherever we are and are able to continue business as usual-ish. We are meeting over phone and Zoom and more gets done via email, but overall, we continue doing what we do. With that said, we know there are so many businesses affected by Coronavirus closures and we’re hoping to share some hope-filled things you could do if you find yourself in the group of people who have suddenly had their livelihood thrown into turmoil.
- Get creative with your business model! We’ve already seen this happening, particularly with restaurants who can no longer allow dining in as an option to their guests; they’ve decided to become businesses who deliver and offer carry out and curbside pickup. Even the fine dining establishments who rarely do takeout business normally. The exciting part is that this new way of doing business for some can translate to even more industries. Of course pizza shops can offer a pie at your car window, but we’re seeing bakeries, greenhouses and even paint-your-own-pottery places (we’re looking at you, Create-A-Palooza!) who are creating opportunities for their customers to get items to go or to learn online so that they can do it all at home. It not only keeps the lights on, it brings happiness to those stuck at home. It’s a win-win in a tough time. Take some time to brainstorm how you can take your store out the door and truly serve a need in your community!
- Use this slower business time to regroup and analyze. We talk about analyzing your marketing often, but so many business owners and managers can just never find the time to do it. Well, now is your chance. Could your website use a refresh? Go through it from the customer’s perspective. Maybe you have a list of blog topics on sticky notes that you’ll finally have time to write. Look through your customer database and make a list of “Hey, whatever happened to so-and-so…” You might not want to call them right now and try to sell them on anything, but you’ll be ready as soon as everyone is healthy again. And maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your digital presence. Those who have a strong digital reputation, or who already sell online, are feeling a different impact during the current state of affairs than businesses who rely solely on foot traffic. The doors to your business will be able to open again, so get ready!
- Practice using video to connect with your audience. We preach consistently that having a video presence is crucial for marketing your business but hear objections like “I don’t have time to get good at it.” You don’t have to be amazing at video, just real. Have you seen the video safari tours from zoos across the country? Or story time with sharks? Almost 8000 people were tuned in at one point for Shark Story Hour from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. It’s a wonderful service they are offering that organically promotes the organization. Vacations will happen again someday, and now so many more people know about these destinations than did before. Maybe your business could offer something like this. Do you have some life-hacks using a product you sell? Put them on video! Can you entertain the masses in some way? Especially now, it will get views. People are desperate for community. And we promise, practice makes perfect. Your first video is typically rocky, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Remember, don’t sell; just share!
- Use this time to volunteer. There are people in need and using your extra time to help others is always good. It takes your mind off your worries and if you’re able to donate time, money or services, it will be greatly appreciated by your community. We’ve seen businesses like salons and spas donate their face masks and gloves to local hospitals. Those employees will forever remember that business, for sure! And you never know where those new connections will take you. You can still practice social distancing while helping your neighbor; dropping needed food and supplies on a neighbor’s porch is a great place to start.
We understand that these are unprecedented times. But don’t throw in the towel yet! Times like these often bring us closer and help to make us more resilient. As businesses, we can do this! And a friendly reminder, get those closure and business changes on your website and social media. EVERYONE is online right now!
Here is a list of helpful links for all aspects of life right now:
- Create a Free Zoom account for video conferencing
- Stay connected to your Team
- Use a Virtual Workspace
- Take a class from Yale
- Use this task organization app that can be shared with a group of people
- Workout from home
- Start an Online Blog or Journal to mentally map out each day, removing a little anxiety, keeping thoughts and tasks organized, and also having it for later
- Keep Track of your Own Health
- Healthy White Noise while working
- Get better with ingredients now that you have to eat at home
- Donate food and goods to your local Salvation Army