If you’re a small business or solopreneur, you’re definitely feeling the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Over 7 million people are now unemployed. Businesses are closing left and right, some that have been staples in their communities for decades. It hurts to see so many businesses closing their doors. The good thing is that consumers and people in the community who are able, are eager to support their local businesses.
What can you do as a small business to keep your head above water during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Unless you’re a large company (or a grocery store chain or in the toilet paper or cleaning products industry), your marketing budget or team was probably the first thing to go. Even many of those industry businesses have felt the heat in those departments. So what can you do?
Shift Your Marketing Strategy
Is your marketing team or budget non-existent? Now is a time to get creative with what you do have. Social media engagement and online content consumption numbers are up! It’s free to use social media (minus advertisements of course) and that’s where the people are. Reach out to your followers and friends from your own personal accounts to let them know how they can still purchase, order or support your business. Reach out to the contacts in your email list with the same message. If you have any budget left for marketing, consider putting that towards social media ads to increase your reach.
One particular Facebook post I saw a few months ago was from a local Italian food restaurant owner’s daughter, expressing her concern over the possibility of having to close and asking for people to order carry out. Within a few days, her post had several thousands of shares, views and comments with pictures of what happy customers had ordered and an overall resounding support for the business. Social media is very powerful and your community is eager to support you! They’re also very hungry and tired of cooking!
Turn Your Services & Products Into DIGITAL Services & Products
Maybe your business offers a service or product that is normally provided in person – but now is the perfect time to take it digital! This is a strategic move that makes sense regardless of the current times. The majority of consumers are using apps, chat bots or automated services more and more each day. Relators are doing virtual / FaceTime home tours, coaches, doctors and consultants are conducting their appointments via Skye, and print advertising has had a HEAVY transition into digital advertising.
If you’re finding your business to be moving sluggish, now’s a great time to consider creating a digital product such as online courses, training videos, e-courses, guides, or software. People are eager to learn and better themselves during their downtime.
Offer Online Shopping
Shift gears into online shopping if you don’t already and are able. Even if you are not solely a product based business, you can generate income with online sales. Get creative with selling your company’s swag and gift cards. If you have physical products, selling online should be something you consider doing anyways regardless of the current times. If you already have an online shop or sell digital products, now is your time to shine! Simple online shopping tools are available with little to no design experience required such as Shopify, Square, and Etsy. Check with your web hosting provider. They may even offer it for free!
Store Pickup & Delivery Options
Maybe online shopping isn’t something in the cards for you, at the very least offer “curbside pickup” or consider delivering to your customer’s door. Be sure to take all the necessary precautions for your team and customer’s health and safety. Many businesses are throwing in a roll of toilet paper, paper towels or other hard to find essentials to help their customers. This extra bit goes a long ways for your customers and is appreciated.
100% closed? If you find yourself unable to operate business because of restrictions, focus on building your relationships and brand awareness. If you are able, pull together a series of blog posts, videos and social media ads that show how your business is handling the pandemic and giving back to your community. Teach something, entertain, or just say hello and offer a kind word. Just because you can’t do business, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your community. This is great for the overall morale and also keeps your business in the minds of your future customers and clients.
Take this time to focus on the aspects of your business that you don’t normally get to!
- Finish painting your lobby or other renovations!
- Re-design your website! (We can help!)
- Re-Think your marketing strategy for the coming year! (We can help with that too!)
- Re-think your brochures with updated information! (Yes we can do that too!)
- Re-Connect with old connections, business leads and partners.
- Take an online course to further your knowledge! (We like Lynda.com but also check to see if your favorite people in the industry are offering any! They’re hurting too.)
Lastly, remember that we are all in this together. If you find yourself unable to work at all, furloughed or unemployed – take this time to care for yourself. Do the things that nurture your health, mind and soul. Take the time to call your loved ones and video chat. Spend time doing the hobbies you love or have always wanted to learn. Relax and slow down. Read wonderful books and listen to podcasts. Now is also the perfect time to adopt a pet! If anything, this time has given us the opportunity/forced us to slow down from our busy worlds. Embrace your time with loved ones and pets. Hopefully your home is your safe place.
Small Business Loans & Assistance: SBA.gov
Domestic Abuse: If you are quarantined at home with an abusive partner or individual you have options! Visit: https://www.thehotline.org/resources/
Local Food Assistance: https://www.feedingamerica.org/need-help-find-food
Pet Adoptions: https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/adoptable-dogs-your-local-shelter