The things we are experiencing right now, in these very moments, are going to forever shape or personal and professional lives. As small business owners, we’ve been forced to adapt, or risk failure, a position many can relate to. But rather than focus on the negatives of the present, we want to offer ways that you can analyze, adjust and hopefully flourish during and after these unprecedented times. Here are our top seven things you can do now to help your business thrive:
- Identify and Evaluate the Challenges. Aside from the obvious difficulties created by #socialdistancing recommendations and the #shelterinplace orders, what challenges exist that are preventing you from doing business as you once did? Has your website not been updated and is preventing you from doing digital business, or allowing clients to place orders or get the information they need by not having to leave their homes? Making a list of the specific challenges you’re facing will help you focus your attention to the things you can control.
- Brainstorm Realistic Solutions to Benefit Your Clients. There is fear in our world now, and rightfully so. Businesses have been forced to get incredibly creative with how they are offering their services. Custom drop-off points, touchless options in placing and picking up orders, accessibility to products online; there are many examples of solutions businesses have put in place to remain functional. Get creative and brainstorm ways you can still provide a benefit to your clients. Other examples include: Cafés allowing online orders, books placed in outdoor accessible libraries, fitness classes streamed online, etc. We’re even seeing companies switch gears and design and create essential service products to help our local area businesses and communities. For example, manufacturing businesses who once made parts for the energy industries are now making face masks, making hand sanitizers, cleaners, gowns, etc. Consider if your business can fill a need now.
- Keep the Lines of Communication Open. If you simply cannot do business without people walking through your doors, consider how you can at least keep them engaged until they can. It’s important to keep those lines of communication open and functioning. Jump on the phone, stay on top of emails, schedule those video conference calls… whatever it takes to stay connected. Offer virtual quotes for things you used to have to provide in person. Push gift cards and credits.
- Adjust Your Messaging Accordingly. How can you improve your brand, so you still resonate with people? How can your audiences still find value in your services? What can you offer them and others NOW, so they’ll still remember you when this calms? Are there untapped audiences you could assist that your product or service wasn’t initially “intended” for? If so, create messaging that is relevant and resonates with them. In addition, now is the time to ensure your pre-COVID19 messaging is appropriate for today’s world. For example, if your current taglines and overall push is encouraging groups of people to congregate together – you may want to rethink that. Lastly, share your story! People are eager to connect with one another given all the isolation. We’re hearing some incredible stories of challenges and resilience. It’s time to connect and share meaningful messages of hope.
- Ensure Services You Offer Will be Valid and Beneficial for Post-COVID19. Our team at LŪM Studio has been working remotely since we first launched. Yes, the isolation is new to us, but we function very well working in our own home offices. However, we too wonder how the world will shift because of the adjustments we’ve all had to make. Will companies continue remote work? Will there still be a significant demand for delivery and digital services? These are important things to consider when you’re revamping your business operations and offerings. Try to think about the future and how your audiences will want to interact with you and ultimately do businesses together. Who knows, perhaps an adjustment you’ve made during this crisis or a benefit you’ve offered your customers will create a new edge for your business.
- Implement New Digital Strategies. Get your website and social media platforms up to speed and update them, often! Now is the time to ensure you can be found. Now is the time that you have accurate information out there that is accessible. Working remotely, combined with stay at home orders have forced consumers into utilizing the internet to fill their needs. Don’t get left behind due to a lack of digital presence. You’ll come out ahead if you spend time on your digital marketing needs now.
- Know What Resources Are Available to YOU and Your CLIENTS. Most communities already had a plethora of resources available to support businesses, especially small businesses. From coaching to grants and loans, there are likely a number of options available to you. Be sure to do your research and connect with your funding institutions and business organizations like the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers, libraries, local nonprofits and even local and state governments. It’s time to reach out and be proactive vs. reactive. You should never be too proud to ask for help, especially when it comes to your business’s survival.
While it might not seem important right now, challenging times do not mean you should stop all your marketing, communication, outreach and business offerings. It’s important to adapt and stay relevant so you still exist when the dust eventually settles. Don’t back down. Survival is about adapting, and we hope these 7 tips will help you not just adjust your business but thrive.