Okay, we’re in quarantine and so many business owners feel like giving up.
It’s a hard time for brick and mortar businesses as well as online businesses, but it’s just not the time to throw in the rag.
Think of this sudden interruption on business as usual as a time to housekeep and get your sh*t together.
Now is the time to clean house, rewrite, rethink and plan for the next step in your businesses post-quarantine.
Since COVID-19 struck the world and seriously harmed your business, have you thought about ways you could pull yourself out of the trenches?
I have and now I have 10 ways you can improve your business during quarantine.
1. Update your business plan to include online sources of work
For some businesses, online work has always been a part of the business model but for others, it’s a new frontier that needs to be explored.
Take this time in quarantine to think about which parts of your business could be put online.
Do you offer coaching or motivational services?
Could you pull some of those online? How about products? What can you sell exclusively online and not necessarily in your shop or in-person?
Many of my friends are in the yoga, health and wellness businesses. Their traditional yoga and wellness spaces have had a serious rehaul and now most of my friends are hosting online and live classes. This isn’t the most ideal situation but it is certainly an adjustment to their current business model.
Begin to think: what aspects of my business can I put online exclusively? How can I outsource some of my production and services?
The goal is to start to imagine how you can make your business bulletproof for the future so if another economic crisis hits, you’ve got a strategy and backup plan in place.
2. Find new ways to be useful to your customers during COVID-19
I’ve seen dozens of big organizations and small businesses start to adjust the way they engage with their clients by forming new ways to be useful during this health epidemic.
Grocery stores are now marketing delivery services more than ever. Seamstresses are offering online tutorials so folks can learn to sew their own face masks.
Skillshare and other online education platforms are beefing up their offerings so people can master a new skill online.
Stay relevant. Ask yourself,"what do I offer that can be unique and helpful during this time?”
If you follow the demand of the people and adjust your offering to be useful during the quarantine, you’ll find that customers will come back to you.
Some people have seriously lost their jobs and many cannot afford luxuries and non-essential services right now. But many others are still working from home making their same salary.
So adjust your offer and make something particularly useful during quarantine.
3. Study other businesses like yours and see what they’re doing during quarantine
Go on Instagram and look up hashtags with folks in your industry or join a Facebook group with other business owners and ask people what they’re doing to adapt their businesses.
You may find that some folks are broken down and desperately looking for guidance as well but others are already onto the next frontier of their business and have something important to share with you.
If you’re a small business, be sure to check what other businesses are doing to stay afloat.
If you’re a teacher, you may have noticed many teachers have taken their work online. See how they’ve adjusted their strategy and apply their strategy to your business.
If you’re a massage therapist, go online and host live videos on how to self-massage or do body work at home. Be sure to attach your Paypal, Cashapp, or Venmo link.
If you’re a photographer, sell some of your work on stock photos sites like Pexel or Adobe Stock and see if you can get some money coming in for your work. You can even book your photography clients ahead of time and secure some bookings in the summer and beyond.
How did I know these strategies? Because these are ones that I’ve seen other businesses doing. So look around, observe folks in your industry and see what you can learn.
4. Do your accounting and income forecasting
For many business owners, this is a cringe-worthy endeavor at this time.
Even I’m scared to look at my books and see where my businesses have lost money since quarantine but I have to face the music.
It’s hard times but it’s never a bad idea to plan ahead.
Pull out your books, talk to your accountant over the phone or Zoom and start to strategize how you want July 2020 to look moving forward. Plan some hard financial goals that you can work towards during this time.
See where your income has lagged and how you can pull it back up by the time July comes.
There are a ton of financial planning resources on the internet that you can search for to begin the process of planning your next financial move.
5. Build partnerships
Now is the time to build a partnership or find a new professional connection.
Once all of this quarantine madness is over, you can start building new opportunities and connections for yourself with folks you met on Facebook.
I am a part of several business, financial and entrepreneurship groups that are super encouraging places to meet and connect with other business owners.
Now is the time to exchange your contact information, follow each other on Instagram and support each other’s work.
When quarantine’s over and you’re looking for someone to help you with XYZ part of your business, you’re going to be really happy you connected with so and so in April.
6. Plan a launch in 2020
Now is also the time for you to build your best offer before quarantine is over.
Start by looking at your current offer and seeing where it can be improved.
How can this offer serve you and your client better? Are you even reaching the right client? Are you happy with what you charge?
Start to analyze how you can turn your product or service into a mega package that your client can't resist.
Dive deep into what your client's new pain points will be post-quarantine or what their existing problems are and start building an offer that’s going to really help them out.
Start backwards and plan your launch.
Set a date in Summer or Fall and start planning how you can pull off this brand new offer. How much money will it cost you? Build a budget for it.
Who do you need to partner with? Starting connecting with folks online.
How can you improve your website or marketing to get the result you want? Talk to a professional marketer like myself and get a website and marketing audit.
Take the days, weeks or months to plan that launch then let folks know a month or two before and start building the momentum for the big day.
You may find that even though business is slow right now, the launch later in the year may be more lucrative and successful to your business than the first three months of the year.
So, go for it. Begin planning and manifesting your next launch!
7. Do a giveaway
Now this sounds counterintuitive given the situation of scarcity that we’re in right now.
Perhaps your business isn’t doing well and the last thing you want to do is giveaway a product or service that you could sell.
But hear me out. Hosting a giveaway will allow you to re-engage with your client and continue to build trust with them while we’re in quarantine.
Doing a giveaway will actually stimulate your business in 3 ways:
It will offer your client a sweet treat right when they need it
It will put you back on the radar for your client who may have forgotten about you during quarantine
It may lead to more sales for that item in the near future
Offering a giveaway (especially if it’s something your client could really use at this moment) will allow your client to come back to you, rekindle a potentially lost relationship and perhaps inspire them and others to buy from you in the near future.
As a business, it’s important to stay relevant during these quarantine times and whatever you can do to offer a sweet and small offer to a client can really help you in the long run.
8. Slim down your expenses
In connection with the income and accounting suggestion, you can also begin to see where you’ve been overspending this whole time.
Where in your business have you wasted money?
Did you have a subscription or a service provider that did not do what they promised?
Did you waste money on buying a certain material for your product that you didn’t really need? How can you cut costs without causing the collapse of your business empire?
Where can you DIY or find lower cost ways to achieving a similar outcome?
Conversely, where did you underspend? Did putting money in your marketing budget help you or hurt you?
Begin to do the self-analysis on where the money in your business went and how you could have cut down or reallocated funds in different areas.
When quarantine ends, you will have done the hard work on your finances and may be ready to reinvest in all the right ways.
9. Go harder and show up stronger on social media
Now that we’re stuck inside, you may have notice how Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok have taken over your life. Now is the time to go harder on social media.
We can no longer depend on our customer or client to meet us in person, so we have to meet them on social media.
Start investing in a new social media campaign. Start looking at the way your business shows up on online. Is it coherent? Helpful? Is your ideal client drawn to your social media page or confused by it?
Begin to ask yourself, “how can I show up better on social media?” If you’re not sure how to recreate your social media strategy or need help building your business' social presence, send me an email and we can talk about how we can work together.
Check out my portfolio to see some of the social media and marketing work I’ve done and decide if we could be a good fit.
It’s the time to start being more intentional about your social media presence. More and more sales are happening online during quarantine.
If you are able to communicate your offer in an attractive and coherent manner online, you’re more likely to pull yourself and your business out of the gutter and start making money again.
10. Express gratitude for your business and how far it’s taken you
There’s a lot of practical ways we can upgrade our businesses during this time but one very important tip is to just appreciate where your business has taken you.
Spend some time to look at your business from the beginning.
From where you started to now. Analyze how much you’ve grown, struggled, failed and succeeded. Boy, have you learned a lot. And you’re not done yet.
You’ve done so much to build this business and you’re not going to let one quarantine take you down.
Start with gratitude for yourself and your business. Do it today. Do it right now.
See how this business has helped you, your family and your community.
And don't forget: keep your head up.
This is one bump in the road for your business but there will always be bumps in the road.
If you express gratitude and do at least one of the tips mentioned above to improve your business during quarantine, everything will be fine.
Hang in there.
If you have other ideas on what businesses can do during quarantine, leave a comment below.