March 31, 2020 How to Keep Your Business Thriving While the World is in Lockdown
The events happening around the world at the moment are unprecedented…
Things that once appeared to be a far-fetched Hollywood storyline are now the reality of day-to-day living for many individuals.
Our governments have some extremely hard choices to make about societal health and economic prosperity.
For many businesses, the decision to lock down the activity of non-essential services has had a significant and confronting impact.
The knock-on effect in just about every industry is noticeable, and there is still a great deal of unknown about what will happen next.
There’s no questioning that this is a scary and challenging time. But we have a choice.
One option is to lose faith, give up, and watch our livelihood wither away.
This is a path that I know you don’t want to take.
Alternatively, you can pivot, adapt, change, and capitalize on new opportunities as they present themselves. You can grab the bull by the horns and wrestle back an ounce of control and determination.
At a time of great uncertainty, you can still create your own path, not letting the wind blow you in whatever direction it decides.
A quote from Warren Buffet inspired me to write this article. He said, “Be fearful when others are being greedy, and greedy when others are being fearful.”
While greed is not something I wish to promote, it’s the sentiment of this quote that stuck with me. At times of disaster and crisis, opportunities present themselves. Undoubtedly there will be businesses that stutter during this pandemic. But there will also be ones that thrive.
Be fearful when others are being greedy, and greedy when others are being fearful.
Those that thrive will challenge themselves to push the boundaries, adapt their approach, and work together with their communities to overcome the challenges in front of them.
Are you ready to thrive? Here are five tips for keeping your business on track during the inevitable economic stress that awaits.
#1. Get social with your customers
With so many people working from home or isolated from social gatherings, they are craving human connection on social media. Take this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with customers or clients.
Hosting webinars, or streaming live video on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn is a simple yet effective way of humanizing your brand and connecting with customers. The videos don’t need to be complex or over-engineered. In fact, social media videos tend to work better when they come across as authentic and off-the-cuff.
You can answer common customer questions, inform viewers with educational content, or simply use the video platform to share the way your business has adapted and changed during these times. It gives your customers a chance to resonate with the brand.
An example of using a webinar to connect with customers during the lockdown.
Social Media Giveaways
With so many businesses essentially shutting up shop and reducing their marketing activity, now could be the perfect time to be generous with your audience. Consider running a social media giveaway or contest to excite your customers as they search for entertainment during the lockdown.
Get creative with the prize you offer as well. Think about what your customers truly need at this time and reward them with a prize that will soften the blow. Maybe it’s a laptop kit for them to work more comfortably at home, or perhaps it’s a grocery voucher to help lessen the financial burden of the pandemic.
More people at home means more people on social media. It’s an excellent opportunity for your brand to expand your reach and increase engagement on social platforms.
#2. Double down on your surviving revenue streams
The first tip is quite light-hearted in the scheme of things. But the pink elephant in the room is, without a doubt, sustainable revenue streams. How can you maintain cashflow during these uncertain times?
Yes, some businesses rely solely on one revenue stream. But many modern companies are far more diverse than that. For example, even a local cafe, which is traditionally all human-to-human food and beverage transactions, may generate revenue from takeaway orders or mug and coffee bean sales.
Promoting other revenue streams while you’re in lockdown.
If part of your business has been shut down or affected by the lockdown, how can you focus your energy on ramping up the other revenue streams that already exist?
In the cafe example, you could set up a basic online store to sell coffee beans and connect with your loyal customers via email. It’s a simple example, but every business will have opportunities like this.
#3. Look for new opportunities
As well as doubling down on existing ways of generating revenue that have been less affected by these changes, you can also look for new opportunities. Are there any new ways you could interact with your customers to deliver them value during these tough times?
Some businesses, for example, can offer a virtual version of the service they provide. Gyms are a great example. One local gym here in Australia had a small set of equipment sent to all of their members and are providing daily workouts via virtual channels.
Finding new ways to deliver a service.
A physio practice in my local area is now offering virtual ergonomic assessments for people working from home and selling laptop stands, monitors, and keyboards.
Selling new products.
Both of these businesses were traditionally 100% offline, in-person operations that have adapted and identified new opportunities. How could you do the same?
#4. Stay connected with your team
Quite ironically, being separated physically presents a great opportunity to connect on a more personal level with your team. Even with the growth in remote working in recent years, most businesses aren’t used to entire teams working from home and in isolation.
You can use chat tools such as Slack or Twist to bounce ideas around and keep each other sane. Or even jump on a regular video conference with Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to have a laugh and lighten the mood.
Google Hangouts, for example, is currently offering businesses free premium access, given the current state of the working world.
Google Hangouts for free.
There are also new trending social apps, such as Houseparty, where people are gathering in small groups to share their work from home experience and stay connected.
Whatever software you choose, show some leadership, and encourage your team to get social during these times. We all need some interaction. You’d be surprised how such a small daily habit of video chatting can have a significant benefit for mental health and productivity.
#5. Put your ego to the side
The US government alone has put together a stimulus package of $370 billion for small businesses. This is consistent with governments the world over. While it’s unlikely that any rebate from the government will sustain businesses for an extended period, there is no shame in getting your share of the kitty to fuel the growth or sustainability of your operations.
Of course, whatever assistance you do get, use it wisely. Keep your staff as happy as possible and employed. Invest in new opportunities that arise. Keep the business ticking along. Because we will come out on the other side of this. Things will get better, economies will recover, and business will thrive once again.
We’re in this together
We’re all in this together. The local barber, your family chiropractor, and the construction company that built your house.
Now is not the time to take your foot off the pedal. Invest in your business – both financially and psychologically. Connect with your team, get creative, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The economy, your team, your family, and your sanity, need you more than ever.