There’s no question that COVID-19 has taken a toll on both small and large businesses. But as we begin to reopen and rebuild our economy on the seacoast of NH, we have put together a 5 step guide for small businesses to bounce back from a pandemic.
Step 1 — Plan of Action
Having a plan is always the first place to start. But before you can begin to plan, there are two questions you need to answer:
- What does your customer base need?
- What is possible for your business to do?
By identifying the current needs of your customer, you will be able to plan how to satisfy their needs effectively. You may find that you are able to continue providing the same products or services to your customers, while simply adjusting the delivery methods or ways of marketing them.
But what if you don’t feel that your business isn’t directly suited to cater to the current needs of your customers? This is where you can get creative to adjust your service offerings. For example, if you are a car detailer offering both the interior and exterior cleaning of vehicles, you could add services to focus on the interior. Targeted cleaning and sanitizing could provide customers with the comfort of knowing COVID-19 exposure risks would be taken care of.
Step 2 — Virtual/Alternate Sales Channels
Now that you have a plan, it is time to put it into action.
It is always helpful and important to consider many alternative ways to render your services or deliver your products.
Here are a few different ideas:
- eCommerce — whether you provide a full eCommerce offering with all of your products and services, or pick a few items as a proof of concept
- Virtual Tour — give the experience of visiting your business without having customers on location
- Virtual Consultations — video meetings or phone calls are a great way to converse and simulate an in-person meeting
- No touch or low touch options — if in-person contact with your customers is essential to your business, offer ways to keep it minimal
- Curbside Pickup — a quick and contactless option for people who order your products via your online store
By opening up multiple different sales channels, it allows you to provide for your customers no matter their level of comfort with exposure to the community.
Step 3 — Communicate to your Customers
This is the most important of all 5 steps. If you put in the work of planning and making adjustments without communicating the changes to your customers, they will be unaware of what your business is doing.
Maintaining open communication through a variety of ways will let your clients know what you are doing to keep them safe as well as what your business will continue to provide.
These are your main communication channels:
- Social media — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
Step 4 — Update your Business Information
Have your hours, products, or services changed?
Here is where it is necessary to make sure your business information is up to date.
A helpful message about any operating restrictions, policy, or hour changes should be clearly displayed on your site for users to see (usually in the header, homepage, or in the footer).
Google My Business
Confirm that you have claimed your Google My Business listing. From there, you will want to update all of your business information.
Be sure to update any bios, business descriptions, hours, or any other important changes your business will be making.
Step 5 — Future Planning
This unprecedented circumstance has been eye-opening for many businesses and has possibly changed the way we work in and with our communities from here on out.
You now have the tools to put a plan in place to prepare for future crises. By offering different ways to generate income, whether that be with in-person sales, no touch/low touch services, online sales (eCommerce), virtual tours, and/or educational content, you will be able to stay open for business through difficult times.
We are stronger together. If there is anything that we can do to help, please let us know.