COVID-19 (Corona) is threatening America and our friends across the world. It's starting to wreak havoc on supply chains, travel and food stores.... and this can be scary. But let's look for the opportunities in the chaos, and business growth in the trials.
You may be feeling a little unsure and uneasy as to how to navigate all of this. Rightfully so. Maybe you're questioning how to grow at a time like this, if growth is even possible, or how to simply continue with your current momentum.
And as a business owner, you may be forced to operate a bit differently, but all of this has the potential to lead to a bigger bottom line.
You could actually be forced to tap into some big-time scaling opportunities, even if you have been reluctant to previously or simply hadn't planned to under these certain circumstances.
So how exactly do you continue with business as usual if you own a local business that primarily serves clients face to face? Understandably, this question may cause some anxiety. Maybe you are a realtor, massage therapist, or a boutique owner, and you are used to having people interact with you locally.
Here are some suggestions to continue to serve clients during this time in order to keep your business running smoothly and without missing a beat:
1. Start by creating a calendar that enables clients to book with you online. This allows established clients a way to meet with you virtually. This in and of itself isn’t new, but it may be new to you.
Encourage clients to book those online appointments with you to continue to receive your services, your advice, and your expertise. As soon as you start meeting virtually, you will love it.
2. Think about creating a short term, online group to conduct weekly class meetings. You can create a pop-up Facebook community for as long or as short term as you want.
3. In addition to Facebook, Disciple is an amazing online platform that allows you to actually create a community app for your customers. Also, LinkedIn does a good job with groups these days, and if that’s where the majority of your customers are hanging out, then definitely utilize that platform to provide your virtual services.
4. Go back to old school phone calls. Somewhere along the way we have lost the importance of getting on the phone with someone. It’s a powerful way to connect with your clients, to hear their struggles, and to continue to support them.
5. Go live. If you have products to sell and your primary business is to have people walk through your door, now is the time to showcase your products through live streams. It’s like a virtual show-and-tell. Think QVC. This is an amazing way to feature the products you know your customers need.
Provide a virtual tour of your store, and as you do this, highlight new products or deliveries and then encourage customers to pick up the phone and call to purchase with you. Ring them up through your point-of-sale and drop their items in the mail.
Going live can be intimidating for some, but realize that this is a creative and fun way to be in your customers’ lives when they can’t come directly to you. It’s definitely the trending method to increase social media attention and to grow your following, all while continuing to sell.
6. Pour into your team...virtually. There are a number of different platforms to put in place in order to do this. Some that I highly recommend for communication and project management are Slack, Streak, Facebook Workplace, Asana, and Trello.
These are simple, powerful tools that you’ve quite possibly heard about, but you’ve just never taken the time or effort to utilize. Not only are these tools that will help sustain your team in the moment, but also when you get to come back together. Time spent learning and implementing these systems will benefit your business in the long run.
Let’s switch gears to those of you who work from home and already have a laptop lifestyle.
It’s time to hyperfocus on your personal, business brand. Really zone in and press into your growth. Maybe you’ve had this in your sights, but your plans have gotten sidetracked. Use this time to refocus.
Maybe you have a book inside of you. This disruption could be the perfect opportunity to sit down and write. It’s so easy to get caught up with the busy work of serving clients and put off the work it takes to complete personal projects.
Look at your weeks and the changes in your daily hustle and bustle that are allowing for extra time….because this situation is actually giving us the gift of time...time to be at home, time to think about what's important, time to be with those that we love, time to focus on our health, and time to focus on our businesses.
If you have been too busy to focus on YOUR BUSINESS, challenge yourself to outline new packages, create new services, and launch new programs.
Set up virtual coffee chats with business colleagues. Reach out to 5 business owners that you resonate with, set up some dates to talk shop, and create some amazing business relationships
Don’t avoid going live any longer. Now is the time to connect, and share, and even take your clients with you behind the scenes. It’s a connection that your fans are craving.
Get your name out there. Start pitching to those podcasts; work on your media package; spice up your signature talk.
Whatever it is that you have been putting off, take full advantage of this situation and take action that will absolutely move the needle of your business.
There is an overabundance of sad and disturbing headlines surrounding this virus, but as business owners and entrepreneurs, it's imperative to stay positive and resourceful.
If you're a therapist, psychologist, counselor or life coach, use this time to help your clients find peace and grow internally. Consider hosting a group coaching session so people can share concerns and get support. Of course this is all contingent on certain industry regulations, but definitely a possible opportunity to bring people together to find strength from one another.
If you are in marketing, how can you help your clients WORK WITH the situation at hand? Quite possibly maybe they need to ignore it. For example, the cruise industry would definitely do well to avoid discussion of Covid-19 within their marketing techniques.
If you have a physical product, think about how to package differently based on what people want right now. How can you alter what you already have in order to continue serving customers?
For those of you in real estate, maybe thinking outside of the box looks like offering virtual tours. Facetime with clients and commentate a walkthrough of a property while allowing them to ask questions.
Travel bloggers: what adventures can you highlight or showcase within your local area?
Hopefully, these specific suggestions will help you to continue to serve, to increase your sales, and to bring your brand to the next level.
There is a silver lining here. COVID-19 is not good, but there are a ton of growth opportunities for our businesses and our lives personally if we just stop and look for them.
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