It seems that the world has been turned upside down by the spread of the Coronavirus. Most of my morning news, nearly all social media posts I scroll through, and more than half of the conversations I have in-person all seem to have some reference to the Coronavirus. We can’t escape the one thing everyone is talking about.
Here’s the thing. It’s probably not the end of the world (feel free to disagree). It can certainly feel that way based on the media and the steps large organizations are taking. And absolutely, there should be steps that you take to protect yourself, your staff, and your customers from getting sick. That’s just being a responsible business and caring for your people.
Yet, there are many businesses who don’t know what to do in order to keep themselves going.
So, what is a business in this world to do? Here are three opportunities you have in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to prepare your business and get through it stronger than before.
#1. You get to build your online presence.
You may be thinking, “how will my business survive if no one is visiting the store or office?”
If that’s true, you may have a real problem on your hands. Especially if you don’t do anything about it.
The great news? This isn’t a tough one to solve. Not only are we in an age where everything is accessible online, but we’re also more connected than ever before. Because of the growing public concern, more people are online — giving you that many more opportunities to be seen.
We are social beings, and we crave connection. Now is the time to build connections stronger than ever with your online audience. Post more than ever, ask for content input from your audience, and care for them. Technology gives us an opportunity to meet people where they are — while giving them that recommended 6-feet of distance.
The bottom line is this: Build a social strategy. Make yourself known. Clean up your website. Make it easy for people to find you online.
I work with a small church that has been considering the impacts on its members. They are concerned about keeping up the interaction and connection with small groups, how to run events, and not to mention just how to run a Sunday morning service in the midst of all of this.
On top of adjusting how they serve communion, we also wrote up a survey for our audience to gauge their level of concern and sent that out to their email list. We created a video statement for their members to give them some updates on what to expect for our Sunday morning and posted that to social media and their website. And above all, they continued sending out their streaming link so that people could still participate in Sunday morning from home if they chose to do so.
Whether that means streaming your service for people at home or holding small groups via Facebook video chats/Zoom calls, or utilizing Facebook groups to encourage interaction and closeness while we’re apart, there are plenty of opportunities for us to engage with our audiences. We just need to find what that looks like for our different brands.
Additionally, your genuine interaction with your audience on social media is incredibly important to make them feel seen and heard, especially if they’re not visiting you as often. Be active online and develop your social media habits so that this interaction continues long after we stop concerning ourselves with the Coronavirus.
If you don’t have a strategy for your online presence, know that it just can’t wait any longer. Now is the time to get online and engage in ways you never thought of before.
#2: You get to offer things you never thought.
If you’re a restaurant, start looking into delivery. If you’re an esthetician, start thinking about in-home services for people who are social distancing.
These are things that have so much potential in today’s world.
Within the last week, a local consignment store started posting items for sale on their Instagram, where people could purchase through Instagram Direct Messages. I’ll tell you what, it’s insanely easy for you to type “I want this” and have purchased it.
You know what else? It can be even easier to sell that way.
How about nonprofits that have never tried crowdfunding with their audience? Is there a mission your organization can get behind and leverage your current audience to talk about it on socials? Can your organization create a campaign all about the good news that’s happening in your area to lighten the news cycle and bring your audience some joy? Maybe create a hashtag around it and ask your audience to join in! This is your chance to try something new with your audience and see what works.
Many business owners don’t give themselves permission to think outside the box about what they offer, because they’re constantly stuck in the day-to-day. Give yourself time to be open-minded and strategic so that you can review all of your possibilities. You may just be on the cusp of something even greater than you ever imagined; all because you were forced to think outside the box.
#3. You get to think through your current processes.
There are things that we know we need to do, or is on our mind constantly. We think we should organize the office, deep clean our desks, streamline our meetings so that they are more effective, but we don’t see it as necessary at the moment so it gets put on the back burner.
Then, something like the Coronavirus hits and all of a sudden you’re reacting out of stress and fear because you didn’t put certain processes in place beforehand.
Guess what? Now’s the time. It may feel like a pain to have to put things in place but think about the ways you could be more effective in the long run.
I’m talking about simple things like cleaning and disinfecting your spaces. How to do keep your workspaces clean and organized so that you make it easy to disinfect each day. I’m not just saying for the Coronavirus alone, but cold & flu season as well.
What tools can you implement that would help you cut down the amount of in-person meetings you have? Tools like Trello and ClickUp are great project management tools that are free or very low-cost. These tools encourage collaboration and keep each other accountable to tasks so that we stay productive even if we’re not working in the same vicinity.
If you implement new processes now, be sure that they are feasible for you to keep around. Invest in your processes so that you are better prepared going forward.
Tell me, what are you changing? What are you implementing? What are you interested in exploring to improve your business for the long haul?
I can’t wait to hear about the ways your business is improving out of these circumstances we’re faced with. Good luck!