So this is insane, right? Do you feel like the whole world is upside down and you’ve gone off the edge of the map where it’s nothing but clouds and sea monsters? So do we.
We’ve never been through anything like the COVID-19 pandemic, and down to the very last person, it’s affecting how we live our lives. While we’re sure that you’ve had to do some unusual things to navigate your way through this contagion, small businesses all across the country are taking a serious hit.
Helping small businesses is our reason for being, so the uncertainty that we’re all experiencing is especially acute as we’re working with our clients to not only survive, but thrive in this totally unfamiliar world.
As recently as a few months ago, we all operated in a fairly conservative business environment. Even as much people talk about “shifting paradigms,” the average workday in most industries adhered to a pretty consistent status quo – you knew what to expect from day to day, and year to year (more or less).
Embracing dynamic shifts in how we operate and making bold, innovative changes were simply the purview of mold-breaking moguls in exceptional, industry-redefining fashion, like Tesla or Amazon. For most of us, we understood that outside of a few new software upgrades and the occasional disruptive app, our job wasn’t going to change very much in the near future.
In a few short weeks, however, our business culture in this country is pushed to embrace a can-do attitude where taking chances is not only accepted, it’s an essential part of keeping your business alive. Thinking outside of the box is no longer a thing, because there may not be a box left to think outside of.
So what can you do to keep going? We’ve compiled a few simple concepts that we think can help you weather the storm until we all reach something that resembles normalcy.
Communication is Key
Make sure that you’re keeping an open line to your customers, whether it is through social media, email newsletters, or even old-fashioned snail mail. Let them that you’re still out there, and you’ve got some ideas to keep your work moving through these weird times. As a rule, new projects require publicity, and right now, your new project is staying alive. Let people know that you’re still here and still fighting.
Gift Cards or Delayed Services
Sell a bit of yourself for the days when all this is past. If you can offer gift cards or a discount for pre-paid goods or services, you can get an injection of cash to carry you through these lean times. This one is pretty obvious, but the idea of gift cards or pre-payment might be a new addition to the business model of some businesses. Find a way to create engagement while adding some financial cushion to your operation.
To-Go & Delivery
This is another obvious one, but it deserves the emphasis. Is there any way that your operation can be shifted to a to-go or pickup model? There’s a record store in Oklahoma City that’s offering curbside delivery. Their customers pay for their vinyl records over the phone, then they call when they’re in the parking lot and the staff delivers them to their cars.
How can you flex your business model to reach your customers but still observe the rules of social distancing? Maybe you’ll be the first to start a Door Dash version of your particular industry! If there was ever a business environment that embraced crazy new ideas, it’s this one, so don’t be shy about trying something out of the ordinary.
Embrace the Tools at Your Disposal
We are well past the point of waving off ideas by saying, “That just really isn’t something that we do in OUR industry.” If you have a tool that can help you, there’s no shame in putting it to work, even if it’s unconventional. There are martial arts schools using web conferencing apps like Go To Meeting to hold “group” karate lessons where all the students are punching and kicking alone in their living rooms while the instructors observe their technique.
What can you do to reach your audience? Could you Skype with your customers? Collaborate online? The old rules and stigmas are gone, so if there’s an app or a piece of hardware that you can employ, put it to work and get yourself back in the game.
Find New Ways to Serve
Service is central tenet here at Core Group. We’re here to lift people up, and in our case, we do it through supporting our clients’ business functions. You might be in a unique position to serve the needs your customers in a way that varies a bit from your 2019 business model.
Restaurants (and even a few bars) all over the country are adding things like fresh groceries and toilet paper to their Grub Hub delivery options. Prairie Wolf Distillery in Guthrie, Oklahoma has shifted from making craft vodka to producing a line of hand sanitizer.
Find your unique way to make this nightmare tolerable. Everyone is hurting right now, and truly serving your customers can be an important lifeline for them and for you as well. To help yourself, start by helping someone else.
Social distancing demands that we separate ourselves, and social media is designed to connect people who aren’t in the immediate vicinity. If you’re not operating a social media or web presence by now, this is officially your final call to get engaged. You need to connect with your customer base, and there’s no easier way to make it happen.
f you’ve established social media accounts or a web site but there’s not much content, you can simply start by documenting your Coronavirus experience and reaching out to the customers or other operators in your industry. Online interaction isn’t optional anymore.
Don’t Panic and Don’t Wait
If you’re quiet, everyone will think that you’re just fine until they discover that you’ve gone out of business. The landscape is changing, and it’s hitting us all. Try new things. Connect with people you’ve not connected with before. Be vocal and ask for advice. Remind your customers of your relationship.
Embracing this situation and all its craziness and new rules, for both businesses and consumers, is essential. It will help you survive, and you’ll be ready for whatever the business world looks like when the dust settles and we get our feet back under us.
We get things are scary now, and we’re here for you. If you think that Core Group can help you solidify your processes and weather this storm, use the button below to get the process started. Let’s talk about what we can do together.
Hang in there, and we’ll see you on the other side.