Weathering this Storm
Wow! The events of the past few weeks have been unsettling to say the least. Our lives have been upended in many different ways and small business owners have been hit the hardest. Many are now working virtually for the first time or making the adjustment to work from home. Some have changed their business model, some have adapted the products and services they offer and unfortunately, some owners have had to temporarily close their doors. This is a difficult and challenging time for all small businesses and in an effort to offer some assistance I have compiled a short list of tips, ideas and suggestions to help you and your business Weather this Storm.
__ One of the most important things to do is reach out to your customers, both past and current. Let them know if you are open for business and how they can access your products and services. If your business is temporarily closed share how they keep supporting you until you re-open. Offer online gift cards, small discounts for booking future appointments, etc. Ask your clients how they are doing, is there something they need you could help with i.e. running errands, getting groceries, setting up technology so they can connect with family and friends, etc.
__ Consider partnering with another business that compliments yours. I’ve seen some very creative business pairings within my community that is beneficial for both owners. Don’t be shy about sharing resources and recommending other businesses that may be helpful. During times like this we are all looking for help.
__Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, ask for suggestions, be creative. Use the power of social media to promote new products and services. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is all so new to everyone and it’s ok to feel confused, frustrated, afraid and adrift. Seek out others in your industry or other business associates to connect with.
__Get up and show up every day; whether it is to your brick & mortar location or your home office. Do something productive for your business each day. Some ideas: review/revise your business plan (or even create one!), schedule social media posts, update your website, develop a marketing strategy for the current times and the future, create a promotional campaign, make connections with other businesses and prospective customers.
__Stay up to date on information and changes within your industry. Share appropriate information with customers and business associates
__Stay connected with other business owners and networking groups. Set-up network groups online as this can be a powerful source of support. Share ideas, offer to help, but most of all be there for each other.
__Finally stay positive. Although it seems like we are in it for the long haul, this too shall pass. Take the time now to create marketing ideas, develop new products or services and make new business and customer connections in order to ensure your business bounces back stronger than ever.