It’s a scary time for small businesses during this COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the coronavirus, many businesses have been forced to close, many others have lost a significant percentage of customers, and most have been reduced to skeleton crews and/or a 100% remote workforce.
And if you’re like me, then you’re now forced to work from home while also homeschooling your children. For me, that means my days are spent teaching my daughter 1st-grade math, writing, reading, music, gym, and theater, while also keeping my preschool 5-year old son engaged with activities. Oh, and don’t forget cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, and laundry. That doesn’t leave much time for work…
In other words, it’s a nightmare!
That’s the bad news…
But Let’s Talk About the Good News
The good news is that this is also a unique opportunity that comes maybe once in a lifetime. Think of it as an opportunity to invest in Google or Facebook when nobody had heard of those companies. Obviously, knowing what you know now, it would have been a no-brainer to invest in Google or Facebook. However, when they first launched it was scary because it was uncharted territory.
I would argue we’re in a similar situation now. There is a lot to be gained if we stay focused on the future instead of getting too caught up in the negativity circulating in the media.
For some small businesses, this pandemic could literally be the end. However, if your company is not at immediate risk of going out of business, then I urge you to read on and heed the advice in this article.
Again, this may be an opportunity that you don’t want to pass by. Here are some tips to help you come out on top during this pandemic…
Tip #1: Invest In Your Marketing If You Can
Many of your competitors are taking their foot off of the marketing pedal, which means you may be able to blow right by them! Think of it like the hare taking a break while in the lead only to let the tortoise win the race with consistent effort. Don’t take your foot off the pedal!
Of course, I realize many businesses are simply not able to invest due to lost revenue and if that’s the case then simply skip this tip. However, for everyone else, this is the most important takeaway of this article. Now is the time to invest more, not less in your marketing. That is how you can gain a competitive advantage in the months and years to come.
Tip #2: Reassess & Reallocate Your Marketing Budget
Clearly, trade shows are simply not an option with the COVID-19 pandemic. So if you were planning to invest $X into trade shows or other in-person events, then now is to time to divert that budget into other channels, such as digital marketing.
Also, some of our clients have paused or reduced online advertising with Google Ads, for example, and moved that budget over to search engine optimization (SEO). That way, they can make improvements in their organic rankings that will help them overtake their competitors when the pandemic is over. If you have shut off ads and you can afford to continue to invest in marketing, then I would strongly recommend reallocating that budget to improving your search rankings. This is an investment that could yield a very strong return once the business returns to normal.
Tip #3: Change Your Delivery Method
If you have a brick-and-mortar business where you’re no longer able to see customers/patients in-person, then see if you’re able to generate revenue or generate leads or set appointments through other means.
For example, here are some ways you may be able to change your delivery methods during this pandemic:
- Dentists/orthodontists can offer virtual consultations instead of in-person consultations – and the same goes for financial advisors and other types of professionals.
- Local retailers can offer to deliver goods to customers instead of people coming into their stores.
- Massage spas can promote their products instead of their services since they can’t see people in-person
- Other businesses can offer discounts for payment up-front. For example, restaurants near me are offering “bonds” where customers can pay $75 to get $100 worth of food in the future when the restaurant reopens. Businesses could do something similar with discounted gift certificates.
Tip #4: Focus on Your Existing Customers
This is really Marketing 101.
However, this pandemic is a good reminder that it’s much easier and less costly to market to existing customers versus acquiring new customers.
The key question here is, “What else can you do to help your existing customers?” Can you offer additional products or services? Can you speed up your delivery for an additional fee? Can you sell more with a bulk discount? Can you partner with another business to enhance your product or service?
At Main Street ROI, we have some clients that want to increase their marketing with us by adding additional services during the COVID-19 pandemic! This relates to tip #1 above and it could be true for your business as well.
Lastly, Try to Enjoy the Ride!
As I mentioned earlier, this is a scary time to be a small business. I’ll admit it, I’m scared too, but I’m also cautiously optimistic. I truly believe our business will be stronger and healthier when this is all over.
And each day I try to just enjoy the ride. As Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sang, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” Hopefully, this won’t last much longer, which also means I likely won’t ever get this chance again to home school my daughter, play (nearly) all day long with my son, and see my wife 24/7.
It’s a unique time in history and it’s worth taking a moment to soak it all in. Chances are you and your business will be just fine.
In the meantime, stay safe and stay at home!