These are challenging times. Lots of business owners have closed their doors, sent employees home and are now wondering how they can keep business afloat while we wait for our lives to return to some semblance of normal.
Universal worries include health, finances and a desire to help take care of family, friends, employees and clients. It is a time to take stock, but it’s also a time to seize opportunities. The recovery will come. You want to be ready when it does.
How do you position your business for success? These ideas work whether your ideal customer is a business or a consumer.
1. Stay in touch with your audience:
a. Virtual Storytime: Send your clients a video of you telling a story, sharing your expertise, or something that will engage them. If you can clear a small space in your home, you can set up a makeshift studio. Your phone or ipad can be used to record your video. Keep it short, under 15 minutes, and upload it to YouTube.com. You can then share the video link with clients and via social media.
b. Write an Article/Start a Blog: Educate your audience in an easily shareable format. If you are a dentist, tell your patients what steps to take in a dental emergency. If you’re a plumber, share tips on home maintenance, like how to keep your pipes healthy. This may be a big opportunity for home improvement companies, since people are spending more time in their homes and are identifying things they would like to change. No matter what your business, you can stay in front of your audience by sharing your expertise.
c. Virtual entertainment: My insurance agent recently posted a video of him playing the banjo. It made me smile, and strengthened our relationship. If you are an entertainer, this makes perfect sense, but if you have a talent you don’t normally share with your audience, this is a great way to engage them on another level.
2. Start offering recorded classes/lessons/education: Music stores and teachers, art lessons, restaurants that can offer cooking lessons, gyms and trainers, tutors – anything that can be shared over Zoom is an opportunity. Think about what services you can still provide from a distance.
3. Offer Gift Certificates: If you can’t sell or provide your service now, take advantage of the movement to support local businesses. Put together a gift certificate program and encourage your customers (and others) to purchase gift certificates to keep your cash flow up. Personal services and retail can benefit from this strategy, as can restaurants.
4. Reach out to your email list: If you have an email list, no matter how small, use it. Let your subscribers know how you are handling the crisis. Include items of interest (feel free to link to our content), and share on social media. Constant Contact and Mailchimp offer free accounts to get started. You can use social media to build your list. Contests and giveaways are a great way to collect names and emails. We can get you started with these options, if you need assistance.
5. Experiment with new ideas: Take a look at what new products or services you may want to offer. Look at your processes and see if there is a better way to do business.
6. Look for new audiences: Who aren’t you serving that could benefit from your product or services? How can you reach them? There’s no time like the present to think about how you can expand your audience.
7. Really get to know your employees: By knowing your employees’ unique circumstances, you can determine how best to help them. Anything we can do to help our staff at this time will yield dividends in staff loyalty and productivity.
8. Clean up parts of your business you haven’t had time for: Are your books a mess? Have you failed to look at your marketing plan? Have you had an idea for growth that you have tabled because you were too busy? If this situation has resulted in some extra time, use it to clean up your business.
9. Plan now for post-crisis operations: We have all embraced technology a little harder these last few weeks. Does this new comfort level change how you will operate in the future? Have your clients’ needs changed? Will there be a rush when the stay-at-home order is lifted? Will you need to focus on one part of your business more than other parts? How will you navigate the post-crisis future?
10. Stay Positive: We will get through this. As much as possible, take advantage of this time to grow and become stronger!
EVOLVE and Parent Magazine Florida are published by TouchPoint Innovative Solutions, a marketing innovation company. Our staff is ready to help you if you have any questions on lead generation, audience development, messaging or content creation. Please reach out to us for help. Our office number is 386-283-5906 and our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.