Navigating a Pandemic [4 Tips for Small Business Owners Impacted by COVID-19]
The coronavirus is causing financial difficulties for businesses across the U.S. And while everyone’s first priority during this pandemic should be to stay safe and healthy, maintaining your business’s health is equally as important.
We know that many small businesses (ourselves included) are facing more challenges than ever during the current COVID-19 pandemic. With customers shying away and team members working remotely, it’s time to think outside of the box.
So, how can small businesses survive the turbulent times ahead in 2020? There’s no easy answer; however, there are things you can do today to help navigate these challenging times.
The W.A.R.D Method
Work Remotely (when possible)
Your team may already be working remotely or you may be preparing for that possibility in the future. For some businesses, this may only mean a slight adjustment but, for others, this can drastically change your daily operations.
As more businesses have moved towards remote work, they are taking advantage of the growing number of digital tools popping up to help teams stay connected and productive. Consider the following recommendations for keeping your team connected during COVID-19:
- Collaborate with your team using a shared document, a video meeting, or a team chat room. Note: If possible, avoid group texts as this can be overwhelming outside of business hours.
- Ensure your team has access to important documents from anywhere by uploading them to a cloud-based service through a product like Google Drive or Dropbox.
In cases where remote work is not an option, take care to ensure you’re adhering to best practices to keep your team safe and sane during these uncertain times.
Adjust to New Customer Behavior
With new regulations emerging daily, customer behavior is changing faster than ever before. As a result, you may want to consider shifting your operations temporarily to fit your customers’ new behavior.
Start by considering what you have to offer your customers. Are there ways for you to offer those products or services in a different format? Take a look at just a few of the samples below.
|If you’re in:
|and typically offer:
|virtual sessions for clients.
|In-person meetings or estimates
|Virtual estimates through photos, video chat, or facetime.
Offer takeout or delivery.
Offer frozen meals that people can stuff in their freezer.
Offer recipes that clients can make at home.
|(Non Essential) Health Services
Go mobile and go to individuals homes.
Offer virtual consults over Facetime.
|Make sure people know what’s in stock, delivery times, and if it’s made in the USA promote that!
Rework Your Offerings (Temporarily)
If you can’t sell what you normally do, how can you use your resources to create a new, more relevant offer?
During this chaotic time, you may find yourself in a situation where simply adjusting your existing offerings won’t work. In that case, you just might be able to shift your entire lineup to something more relevant (and useful) to your target demo.
For example – many local distilleries, and even a Kentucky-based CBD company, have shifted their focus to producing hand sanitizer temporarily. This not only makes great use of otherwise wasted byproducts but also helps a ton of people!
The key then becomes acknowledging this change and broadcasting it to those who need to know.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, COVID-19 will inevitably shift some facet of your business. This could mean a change in hours, a temporary closure, or, again, a change in the types of products or services you offer.
As a small business owner, the best thing you can do is distribute the information about these changes across as many platforms as possible. This includes updating your website and business listings on platforms like Google and Bing, as well as posting to all of your social media channels.
If you’re unsure where to even begin with your planning, consider taking advantage of the complimentary strategy sessions being offered by many agencies. This can be a great way to conserve resources while still being strategic about your business operations.