Ok, it’s a shitty time all round – the media has spun the Coronavirus (Covid-19) into a crazy spin – toilet paper shortages, mass panic buying of rice, pasta, couscous, and non-perishable goods – events cancelled left-right-and centre! Small businesses and entrepreneurs are facing dramatic cancellations with debilitating consequences. You are not alone. This pandemic will, in my opinion, have a brutal effect on small business owners. However, I am hoping that I can give you a productive spin on this downtime that will have you ready to hit the ground running when this passes. (Like everything in life – this too, shall pass!)
So, how do I promote my business during the Coronavirus pandemic?
There is no cookie-cutter solution and every business is different so I will just dive in with the main things that I see multiple times a day since the start of this year.
My main advice for business owners trying to market their business during the Coronavirus pandemic is to do the following:
- Be gentle with yourself and understand that the impact on your business is out of your control.
- Contact the local authorities to see if you can get any help regarding your loss of earnings.
- Use the time wisely – you might find yourself out of work but, as a business owner you probably have a lot, LOT to do! (keep reading)
- Get your finances in order, sounds ironic when you are losing money, but you may have a few too many subscriptions that need cancelling or a plan that needs downgrading – or maybe your bank is ready to defer some payments … look into it!
- Look into your website, your digital presence … could it be better? Could you update some photos and text? Probably yes … use this time to put your best foot forward.
- Talk to your friends and family! This is a moment where you will, automatically, talk more to family and close friends more … remind them about what your business does – all too often this is a network we forget! Try not to complain too much, just remind them of what you do and how you can help! You can even go as far as telling them that they need to share your social media posts or forwarding your newsletters (we forget that people don’t always have this reflex!)
- Make a real marketing plan – I mean a real one, not one that coasts along and you consider when work dries up … one that gives you the road map to where you are going. It’s hard to plan for the short term but that doesn’t mean that you can’t set long term goals nor make plans for the rest of the year (skipping the next few months) – Majority of marketing plans can slide a month or two without any big impact … obviously seasonal promotions are more delicate … as we can’t slide an Easter egg promo into July with much ease! But you get it!
- Reach out to clients, past and present – ask them how they are doing, connect. Ask for testimonials … now is the time to share and ask for feedback. If you’ve done amazing things for a client or customer ask them to tell you how and get permission to share! This will be gold in the future! Don’t forget to do the same for your local businesses and people who’ve helped you!
- Get to know your target market better … this could be a huge opportunity to get priceless feedback that could help in the future!
THIS POST – has actionable tips and exercises that will help you!
- Face to face events cancelled? Go virtual! This could be the time to test out webinars or FB live events! I’ve always done virtual consultations via Skype, even with clients who live nearby – it works!
- Join a networking group – there are many fabulous online networking communities where you can meet with like-minded entrepreneurs and small business owners! And when the time is right, you might even get back to the face-to-face meetings!
This is a Global Pandemic – don’t be insensitive and just carry on business as usual! (Unless your local authority has advised otherwise).
If you are a service-based business that receives the public:
- Remind them, via social media, poster, or newsletter, about the hygiene steps you expect of your clients and reassure them of the measures you already have in place.
- Use this opportunity to communicate regularly with clients and customers if you can’t serve them face to face. If you are a hairdresser, what hair care tips can you share to help your clients maintain their style a week or two longer? If you are in wellness, do you have some wellness tips you could share that will keep them motivated and ready to come back to group classes?
If you are forced to work from home:
- Inform your clients of your availability or the fact that your availability could be, somewhat, intermittent but there …
(Check local authorities regarding assistance)
- Use the time to do the much-needed housekeeping your business might need. Pivot and look into selling online, or building contacts for when this storm passes.
- Try not to kill your kids if you have them! Hahaha! The struggle is real!
If you are a tour guide, have holiday rentals, a wedding planner, a photographer etc …
- I’d recommend keeping in contact with your network, update them on the local situation and try to not lose hope.
As far as I’m aware, holiday rentals are not obliged to refund prepaid rentals as that should fall under their own insurance.
- For others, it’s a case by case basis and I know it’s far from easy.
- Plan for things later in the year if possible, get creative!
- Look for a spin on what you’d offer clients abroad to the local market
I’m happy to keep updating this list of suggestions – please feel free to email me your questions and I’ll add my replies here: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, lean on your people, you are not alone. This too shall pass. Here’s to better days … go wash your hands and maybe clean your phone and keyboard!