If you have a small business that you run and or own and you have questions about what to do now, let’s focus on what is important, and what best practices we should follow.
Best Practice: Honesty, Be honest with your employees and ask for their ideas.
Things are already uncertain enough. Your employees are concerned about their livelihoods and health. It’s more important than ever to be open with communication.
Be honest with your employees. Let them know what you know. Put yourself in their shoes and ask what they would suggest. Come together with their employees and work through this together.
Best Practice: Attitude – Lead with compassion.
Giant deals may have fallen through overnight. Large revenue-generating events have been canceled. People are staying home and are no longer coming in. Though this can be devastating for your revenue, try to take a compassionate approach. Stay connected to your customers and maintain those relationships, even if they can’t commit to buying right now.
Realize they are just as stressed and freaked out as you are, and if they aren’t, they probably will be shortly. Connect to them at that level. Everyone is searching for answers. Deal with that prospect as humanly and nicely as possible.
Best Practice: Competition – Come together with your competitors.
If your industry is hit particularly hard by the impact of Coronavirus or any other crisis, this is not the time to double down crushing your competition. It’s time to come together with your competitors and brainstorm ways everyone can get creative during this unprecedented time. People who may not have been as open in the past will be far more likely to explore options and partnerships that now make sense post-corona, post any crisis. 5Keypartners has always preached the concept that the right competitor relationship is critical to the growth of your own company. This is no time to change your thinking or action.
Best Practice: Engage Customers – Tell customers how they can spend money with you.
Step one: You may be able to adapt your business and still bring in revenue. This could be offering virtual events, shifting from in-store sales to online only, or local delivery of your goods.
Step two: Make sure everyone knows about it. Start with your biggest customers first and reach out to them directly. You can also leverage social media and email newsletters to communicate. Make sure people know how they can support your business.
If shifting your business to online sales isn’t possible, begin publicizing specials and promotions for when things stabilize later. Focus on your future customers now. This is an opportunity for you to get the word out that you will have a post-corona special price, or you will be open for business whenever your customers need you.
Lastly, use this time to tick those nagging items on your to-do list. Everyone has things they wish they could re-do. Now is the time to make those changes
Sources: Mark Cuban discussions on LinkedIn; Malcolm Gladwell any book will do but Outliers and Blink do speak more to this. Terry O’Reilly, This I know, my go to for marketing.