Mom and pop stores and restaurants have always had to rely on their scrappy sides to survive. It’s in their blood from the start, but recently the Coronavirus epidemic has backed many into an inescapable corner. They aren’t just trying to figure out how to sell off their recently acquired inventory, they are strategizing on how to stay open, and keep their employees and their sanity. Below are ways a small business owner can take control back, with goals and projects they can work on during COVID-19. As a creative agency born and raised in Walnut Creek, California, we have worked with many small businesses over the years. We decided to pull from our vast experience to hone in on the key areas and tips local businesses can utilize.
Vendors & Partners
First and foremost, we know operating expenses will likely be top of mind at all times as you try to figure out which levers to pull and adjust daily. One of the keys to success with this is keeping communication wide open with all vendors and partners. Make sure everyone comes from a place of complete transparency and honesty, with a constant dialog. Try to lead with your heart and see if there is a way you can help one another, perhaps a trade, a renegotiation of contracts? Get creative and see if there is a way you can make it work. We are all in this together.
If you haven’t already made sure you have a virtual payment option, incorporate it into your business model. Nowadays, online payment is effortless. You can even create and send payment links to your clients in an email or text message, or even add a payment button to your site with a web-based payment portal.
Get your online inventory up and running. We know it can be an undertaking but if you have been considering it at any point, now is the time to get your ecommerce store up. There are many platforms to choose from. Shopify is just one example. Take this time to utilize captivating pictures and videos, and be sure to pair with simple and fun product descriptions.
One refreshing trend that has developed amongst this chaos is that people are eager to help — even more so if they aren’t on the front lines but absorbing news 24/7 feeling helpless with pent-up energy. Gift cards offer a safe option for people to contribute to their community. They don’t need to go out to get them and can use them at a later date. They can do their part and support their favorite local restaurant or store in one of the most rewarding ways, the gift of giving.
Managing & Internal Meetings Online
You can virtually communicate, manage, and share easier than ever now. Having team meetings and brainstorming sessions doesn’t have to stop. If you are taking on a new online project for your business, you can easily delegate and work on the task list with your employees, or strategize for inventory and marketing campaigns and tactics post COVID-19. The great part is, there are some readily available tools and resources available.
Consider a project management tool to help streamline tasks, for online documents and team collaboration. Basecamp and Monday.com are some great options to check out. Google Suite also has online documents you can share and work on simultaneously, with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. Box.com is doing 90 days free for small to medium businesses.
Keep the communication and collaboration going with GChat, Google Hangouts and Zoom. Video conferencing has never been easier. Zoom is a remote conferencing app that has an easy-to-use interface with an effective platform.
CRM & Email Marketing
Get all your customer data online in a CRM tool such as Hubspot. CRM platforms can help you pinpoint your #1 type of customer and give you a way of regularly engaging with them in email marketing.
If you can swing it, consider providing discounts or special offers to your customers, or test out a referral rewards program. Can you offer anything online? Perhaps virtual consultations, how to cook a meal, design your room, etc.? Don’t forget about digital marketing: the options are endless and people are online now more than ever. Paid and organic social media, search engine optimization, paid search, website redesign: there is no end! Google just recently announced it was giving $340 million in free advertising for small businesses. It is important to stay active online with ads, newsletters, webinars, videos and more.
Need financial assistance? There are several options to choose from. The US small business administration is providing financial assistance for those impacted by COVID-19 Does the task seem overwhelming? Do you need assistance with filing paperwork and getting the collateral in line? Consider an accounting firm. Midwest Accounting has vast expertise in this area and can help you today.
Reach Out To Us
The bottom line is, just do something. Take action. Go on the offensive. Don’t wait for the virus to suck the life from your business. There are plenty of opportunities to be had…you just need to know where to look. Not sure where to start? Reach out to Single Origin today!