So we were flying along with no issues. The stock market was soaring at a record high, unemployment was at a record low, small businesses were prospering locally, and we had disposable income to do almost anything we wanted. Then it happened — the coronavirus (COVID-19).
As a result, we were asked to stay home, avoid people, and some us were asked to close our businesses. From home we watched the stock market tank and unemployment rise. Suddenly our businesses were closed and some of us were without any income, and we saw our savings and investments dwindle away with no relief in sight.
I have learned over the years that one can choose to become a victim or be proactive by doing something about the situation. While we ourselves cannot solve the COVID-19 pandemic, we can and need to work on our businesses now and learn how to pivot our businesses to fight back. There are many things to consider.
WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR BUSINESS
If we think we will continue to do business like we did before, we will be woefully surprised. Now is the time to think about what you are selling, because you are no longer offering only a product or service. What do I mean? Yes, you are selling a product, service and other offerings, but parallel with that, we need to think about how we do that with the customer in mind. You will also be selling trust, safety and confidence.
For example, if your business is a restaurant, social distancing will still be in effect for the foreseeable future. Are your clients coming back if you do not make changes? Some will, but many may not. Now you will be expected to seat patrons at least six feet apart — and probably will need to take reservations. You will need to pivot your business to augment the lost seating revenue and look for ways to create alternative revenue streams such as cooked boxed meals to go and become a grocery store with delivery or pick-up options, among other offerings. Your clients need assurance that they can come patronize your business and not get sick. They also need to see the other services you offer and how you are ensuring their safety.
All changes by any business will need to be very visible to clients so those clients can have confidence in that business and feel comfortable. Hand sanitizers, wipes, partitions that serve as buffers for patrons and more need to be noticeable to show that you are going all-out to keep them safe. Remember: trust, safety and confidence!
Other businesses, such as retail operations that do not have websites, will need to ensure they have a website enabled so clients can purchase products and services. Home delivery and store pick-up will be necessary for customers to avoid physical contact. Other operations will need more than ever to utilize videos to walk clients through products and service offerings posted on your website and social media platforms. Service businesses will need to utilize technology like Zoom or FaceTime video chats for a one-to-one client relationship for consultations, providing quotes, etc. Providing contests and other interactive events also will be essential. You will need to become a writer, or hire this specialty, for blogs, social media postings and videos as well as other print media that will publish your informative articles. Yes, it is a lot, but this is a new normal and it’s necessary.
MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS IS CRITICAL. THINK MICRO-LOCAL MARKETING NOW!
Above all, you have to tell your clients what you are doing and how you are doing it! Marketing is more essential than ever for your business. You have to let your existing clients and prospective new clients know what you are doing and what you have to offer. You will need to incorporate ALL forms of advertising, including web, social media, mailers, newsletters, email blasts, videos and local print advertising to help you. The more micro-local you can be in your advertising approach, the more beneficial it will be for your business growth. Remember, your local business is patronized by local residents. Look for assistance from local advertising professionals. Tying a portion of your profits to a local cause will go a long way with clients and show your local connection with the community. People want to patronize businesses that help make our community a vibrant place to live and that help people and organizations in need within our community. We are all in this together. Remember that it is all about trust, safety, confidence and micro-local marketing now! Let’s get busy.
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