The COVID-19 scare has changed pretty much everything in the nation. And it has people scrambling to adjust to the new business normal. If you are one of the millions of small businesses forced either to shut your doors for a while or to downsize due to the downtime, try to think of it as a positive!
If you put your downtime to good use, when life as we know it returns to the way we used to know it, you will be positioned to fully experience the boom that is likely to follow. Now is not the time to sit back and wait, it is time to push forward, stay on course, and make your business even more amazing thanks to a host of new opportunities that you might just miss if you aren’t vigilant.
1. Evaluate New Opportunities – You’re an Entrepreneur, Do What You Do Best!
The reason you became a small business owner, to begin with, is because of your entrepreneurial spirit. So it is time to conjure it up again! Look around at the new normal and find the ways that you can offer your services in a different way. Evaluate what it is that people need and how you can provide it by pivoting from the “norm”.
If you think outside of the box to find a way to provide what your competitors can’t, you will not only survive the current crisis; you might just find a new way to thrive long after COVID-19 is behind us. The virus is just a temporary thing; the way that you respond to it by adapting how you service your employees can be long-term and profitable!
2. Shoot Video or Get Professional Photography Taken
Now that you probably have a little more time on your hands, it is time to forge ahead and update! If it has been a while since you have freshened your website with quality images, do it now. If you can provide the consumer with a video that is engaging and informative, it will do wonders not just for your brand, but also for your customer’s impression.
One thing that COVID-19 has done, which is predictable, is increase the number of people who are turning to the internet both day and night. So make good use of the increase in audience by engaging potential consumers through the use of eye-catching and professional content on both your website and your social media pages. Spending a little now will do wonders for your long-term branding and marketing!
3. Now’s a Great Time to ask for Client Reviews and Work on Showcasing Your Work
Guess what… if you have downtime, quite likely so does everyone else you have worked with. People are reluctant to provide reviews when life is hectic and busy, but things have changed. The clients that have not responded might be more willing to lend a hand right now. Or, if you haven’t reached out to previous jobs, now is an excellent time to ask for a quick favor!
People are looking for something to do, so give them a review to complete and increase your local presence by posting those reviews to things like Google my Business and Google Maps. If you have previous work that you haven’t showcased, do it now!
People can’t leave their homes to shop or go out to find what they need, so now is the time to bring it to them. Toot your own horn as much as you can, because even if people aren’t making moves right now, they will be in the future. And the more exposure you can get during this time, the better positioned you will be to build brand awareness and familiarity when things start to boom again.
4. Restaurant Owners – Remodel and Spruce Up the Joint!
If you are a restaurant owner, you have likely been hit hard! But instead of sitting back, surge ahead by tweaking your menu design, evaluating food costs and margins, and renovating your restaurant. That way, when you open your doors again, you will have an exciting new look and a fined tuned menu. It will go a long way in making a good impression on your customers.
Also, evaluate the cost of your menu items and think about things like menu psychology when creating your new design. When times were good, it was easy to rest on the same old, same old. With the lull, it is time to go all out and renovate your menu, your menu design, your restaurant and the amount of understanding you have about what drives your customers to choose you.
5. Content is King! Get to Creating!
If I had a dollar for every time a small business owner told me they could write their own blog… My answer to them is, “Sure you can, but do you?” The reality is that most business owners are the perfect authors for their blogs, but because they have too much on their plate, it is hard to keep up. Well, you are in luck! With the newfound time you have on your hands, you can start writing your blogs.
Not only will it help you rank higher in an organic search, now is a perfect time to connect with your audience. Things like “how-to” articles, quick tips and tricks, and everyday hacks are much appreciated. And they will have people returning to your website again. The more repeat looks you get, the more your ranking will increase. As a rule of thumb, the sky's the limit when it comes to adding fresh content to your website. Make this interim time your time to shine with some creative, engaging, and valuable website content.
6. Take Stock
COVID-19 has made the world take stock, not just of their many blessings, but also to how much we take for granted daily. Although you had to shut your doors, they are still open to you. Take the time to go through your inventory and analyze what you have, what you need, and what you don’t.
Don’t let things sit around expiring, get rid of them now so that when you are ready to open again, you have cleared out what is no longer good. That way, you have room to restock and be ready for when you can put the open for business sign back up! It is also a safe way to get some fresh air from your home confinement and maybe a little alone time!
7. Clean Out the Clutter, Organize and Renovate
Do you know who has not stopped working? Contractors. If you have been wanting to renovate or clean out, now is a perfect time without having to worry about losing money due to downtime. And it might also be a fantastic time because you might not have as much competition. And with less competition, comes less cost.
If you don’t have the resources to hire someone for renovations, do what you did when you first opened your business, put your own sweat into cleaning things up. When you are allowed to reopen, it will be like a grand reopening! Surely there are a ton of improvements you can make that cost nothing but your hard work and motivation. So stay motivated and get on it!
8. How Efficiently is Your Business Running?
When times are good, we get too caught up in the day to day operations that we don’t stop to evaluate if there are better and more efficient ways to do things. Look over the way that your business operates to find either easier or less expensive ways to conduct business. Things are going to have to be lean for a bit, so find out where you can cut costs that won’t affect quality.
9. Start a Vlog for Your Business
Most small business owners can appreciate the importance of a blog, but few have a vlog on their website. A Vlog is a marriage between a blog and a video feed that you update with the same regularity that you do your blog content. Video blogs are a great way to document things in full color and vividly. They are also an excellent way to engage with the consumer on a whole new level.
What is more valuable to existing or potential customers than tips on how-to, video step-by-step clips, or even just relating to people in an innovative new way? The more that you put yourself out there, the more your customer will become familiar with you and establish a relationship. And with a relationship, comes loyalty, so you will be bridging the impersonal nature of an internet site and giving your brand an entirely new brand, “You."
10. Freshen up Your Website
Not only do you want to add new and exciting images and video content to your social media pages and your website; now is a great time to overhaul your site to impress. Most businesses design their sites once and then do very little to update because they lose focus and are caught up doing other things. Not only do you want to beef up your blog, think about new ways to freshen up your static pages with content that is upbeat, creative, and, above all, innovative!
If you have been neglecting your website, it is probably time to make it more appealing. Also, evaluate your website to ensure that people are able to contact you easily. And if you can offer online services that you don’t have now, add them! Your website might be a portal to a whole new business endeavor if you take advantage of all the ways that you can use it to further your business – that’s where Fu Dog Media can help!
Times are tense, I am not going to sugar coat it.
But when times get tough, the tough get going! Use this interim shut-down time to enhance your business from A to Z. After all, your entrepreneurial spirit has led you here, it is time to break it out and let it go full speed ahead! Contact Fu Dog Media to help attack your marketing and web presence today.