It’s a scary time right now for many business owners, especially those that have had to close or modify their business to comply with social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Whether your small business is your full-time income or your growing side hustle, many of us have to figure out how to keep the lights on for the next several weeks or months as this pandemic runs its course.
The good news is that there’s never been a better or easier time to pivot your business to continue to serve your customers in new ways. Here are seven ideas you can implement to come out the other side of this crisis with your business intact.
Switch to Online Service Offerings
If there is any part of your business that you can do online, now is the time to do it! Take your yoga classes to Instagram Live, turn your in-person coaching sessions into virtual sessions.
People still want to fill their days ahead with learning, exercise, eating, and working, so finding a way to meet that need is now in more demand than ever.
You might have to get a bit creative with how you deliver your service virtually, but the technology for most businesses exists – it’s just a matter of Googling it!
Gain Exposure If You Can’t Gain Clients
There are some businesses that will have a harder time switching to an online model, or perhaps you’re in an industry or area that has been hit hard financially. If you’re having a tough time getting new paying clients, use this time to gain exposure instead.
- How can you increase your reach right now to new future customers?
- If you’re a restaurant that has had to close – can your head Chef do a daily live stream cooking one of his favourite dishes from the menu?
- Can you offer your services for free temporarily, in exchange for testimonials and more experience?
- If your store is closed, can you go behind-the-scenes to show the making of your product?
- Can you interview other experts virtually in your field and share that content?
Position yourself as an expert in your niche and when the market rebounds, hopefully you’ll have more paying customers than before!
Look to Partner with Other Businesses
Almost all business are looking to get creative right now with how they can remain viable. Is there a product or service that is compatible or congruent with what you offer that would make sense to offer a partnership with?
Business owners who may have been too busy before to consider joining forces would probably be glad to have a helping hand in getting their message out. Look to your contacts in your outer circle and see what unique offerings you could put together.
Tick Off That One Project That’s Been Nagging You
Many of us are stuck at home with extra idle time on our hands. (Except for those of us without childcare perhaps!)
If your business has closed, or is operating in a reduced capacity, now is the time to start working on, or finishing off, that dream project.
Always wanted to do a brand refresh? Do it now. Want to learn how to create more video content, or take an online course? Sign up. Many online learning tools are offering free or discounted access to make the decision even easier. Use this time as a gift to create what you’ve always wanted to create.
Continue to Communicate
The pandemic crisis is changing almost daily with new updates and restrictions in place depending on where you go. If your business has changing hours, staffing updates, or other social distancing measures that have been put into place, continue to update your customers and fans on how they can reach you or purchase your product.
If you expect major delays or staffing impacts, be honest and share updates as you can across your platforms, social media especially.
Offer new payment plans or deferment options
Find ways to keep your paying customers paying you. Can you offer a monthly payment plan option? Can you offer deferred payments? Can you offer a buy-it-now and pay later option?
It’s easier to keep your current customers on board paying whatever they can, than to have to start from scratch again later. Be kind and generous where possible.
Evaluate Your Tools
Depending on how long you’ve been in business you might have dozens of different subscriptions, tools, and resources that you pay for on a monthly or annual basis.
When your business is running at full steam, these costs may not have a large impact on the bottom line. However, now that things have potentially slowed down, it’s a good time to review your own subscriptions and see if there are any products or services you don’t need anymore, or any ones that you can scale back on.
It’s a tough road ahead for many of us. Businesses that continue to add value in any way they can for their clients will continue to grow and thrive in the long-term.
Stay safe, and stay healthy!