5 Ways To Keep My Business Growing During The COVID-19 Shut Down
If you are a small business owner anywhere in the world right now, particularly in the B2C sector, you are likely faced with either a mandated complete shut down or limited scope of operations for an indefinite time-frame.
While sales of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and canned legumes might be having higher than usual returns, the CDC recommendations for social distancing and stay-at-home orders are having huge economic impact on small business everywhere. The current conditions leave us all wondering how will my business survive the COVID-19?
If you are like me, you need a strategy to empower your success and put your productive energies to good use. Are you ready to start?
1. Stay focused on your customers and stay connected.
Tap into your customer email lists and connections through social properties. You have been curating these connections since you first started your business, now is the time to craft a communication and value plan to remain in connection with them. Remember, they are home bound too and looking for connection. Those businesses that diligently communicate their decisions and action plans with their customers reinforce the reason to remain loyal to you and the value they already place in your business.
Use the technology you already have to keep customers informed and engaged. Perhaps this is an opportunity to engage your customers in a survey to evaluate ways to test out innovations or improvement opportunities. Using a tool like Survey Monkey, Constant Contact, or the quick poll feature on Instagram to ask for engagement action or, try out new offerings that you can eventually monetize once business is back to normal.
Use social media every day, do not interrupt your posting schedule. Thread in some new content-how we are surviving the quarantine videos come to mind. Keep engagement high and create a more personal bond with your customers by sharing your personal experience with them. Keep it positive, genuine and branded.
2. What expertise or service can you provide and deliver remotely?
Leverage your technology to offer relevant services online to your customers. This could be a series of how to videos on smoothie making if you are a juice shop, or or offering 15 minutes of video health coaching for your fitness customers to help them stay motivated and moving during the self- isolation. With our face to face social interactions being limited, customers will be craving those interactions and seeking ways to avoid their own boredom and struggles with confinement. Be vulnerable and transparent. It is human nature to live with purpose, what can your business provide to help deliver mind empowering boosts to our home bound lives.
3. Idea share with other businesses in your industry or community
Now is the time to reach out and build connections with those other small businesses that you have been wanting to collaborate with. Create an ideation forum with your community businesses, set up a weekly Zoom, or private Facebook page to share ideas, positive customer interactions, or tactics that have yielded positive outcomes. There is strength in numbers and the small business/entrepreneur community is no exception.
4. Tackle that Business To Do list that you have been putting off
Have you been thinking about remodeling your physical space, or updating your service software? It may seem counter intuitive, but you may have been gifted the perfect opportunity to tackle these projects without the pressure of day to day tasks and or customer immediate needs getting in the way. Working on such projects serve 2 purposes; They will keep you busy and focused on your business and create a new updated launch pad for when the crisis is over.
5. Have confidence in your ability to weather the storm
Do not lose faith or focus. Know that your community and customers want you to succeed and will be chomping at the bit to support your business again. Take steps to protect yourself financially. This could include applying for the SBA loans (get in line early if you are considering this option). Pay close attention to any federal or state relief aid and follow all process on your end to ensure you receive the deserved aid.
While there are many uncertainties in the months ahead, history informs us that those businesses that use this time to double down focus on customer experience and innovate to deliver on their brand promise will emerge poised and ready to define the new waves of a positive economy in the future.
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