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Your Coronavirus Essentials Checklist
Just like that we woke up in a different world! The coronavirus epidemic has completely changed our lives and transformed the way we do business.
For many, this can be an incredibly frightening time to be a business owner.
You worry about the health of your employees and the business, the bills that keep coming, your income and family obligations.
But rather than let worries overwhelm them, smart small business owners can use this opportunity to plan and prepare for future growth and success.
That’s why we’ve created a COVID-19 checklist to help you make the most of this uncertain time:
1) Announce changes in business hours.
Are you an essential business that is staying open? You may have shorter business hours to allow more time for cleaning, or senior hours where high-risk and elderly customers can come and safely shop with fewer customers.
Post any new business hours on the front of your physical location and share them on the home page of your website.
Don’t forget to update your hours on your social media profiles too as well as your Google Business listing so everyone can stay up to date.
2) Pivot to meet the current needs of your customers
Find creative ways to do business with customers who are at home on quarantine. Are you offering pick up or delivery? Let customers know what you are doing to accommodate them during this new, and hopefully temporary, normal.
For example, amid shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, most car dealerships will deliver your new car to you. Similarly, service-based businesses can pivot their offerings to meet the demands of customers who are staying home.
One example is the landing page we designed for Barbara Katnich, an interior designer with Fresh Approach Desgins.
She acknowledges that with all this time on your hands you are probably ready for a design change. Then she walks you through the process of how she can work with you virtually while you are at home.
The advantage of a landing page is that it’s quick, easy, and allows you to speak to the specific needs of customers at this time without having to redesign your whole website.
3) Provide ways customers can still support you
If you operate a service-based business like a restaurant or a salon and have been forced to close your doors, you may want to consider offering online sales of gift certificates.
Encourage your customers to buy a certificate now so they can treat themselves and redeem it when the virus outbreak has slowed, and their self-quarantine period is over.
This can help maintain sales for you, while giving your customers something fun and exciting to look forward to.
4) Communicate with your customers.
People want to know if and how your business has changed in light of the pandemic. Assure them their health and safety are your #1 concern and tell them what you’re doing to ensure a safe shopping experience.
Explain any extra precautions you’re taking to disinfect and clean and let them know how you’re promoting social distancing as a small business owner.
5) Announce any new services you’re offering.
Whether you sell food or fashion, are you offering pickup or delivery? The more ways you can accommodate your customers during this new normal, the better for them and fewer financial losses you’ll experience.
Share the news on your website and on your social media accounts like what Lorie Brown did. She saw a huge need to support nurses and healthcare practitioners during this crisis and created the COVID-19 Survival Guide.
She asked us to help her create a multi-guest interview series that delivers daily videos to subscribers, all for free.
6) Ditch out-of-date information and broken links.
It’s the perfect time to step back and take a long hard look at your website.
Are there any typos? Did a team member featured on the About Us page quit? Are certain articles no longer relevant?
Maybe your site is too far outdated and needs a complete overhaul. Don’t try to go it alone, it’s best to hire a a professional web development firm who can assist in ensuring your site is professionally done to give your business the best exposure once this crisis is over.
7) Lighten the (remote) workload.
Give your staff easy ways to track their hours like the free time-tracking tool Toggl that we use. Encourage team communication with tools like Zoom, Slack or Discord. Look into team collaboration tools like Monday and Asana to manage project workflows.
You can see more team tools in our article: Tips on Managing Your Workforce Remotely.
8) Get lean and mean.
You’re going to have to accept that things may be tight for a while. Are there some non-essentials you could cut from your small business budget?
Reevaluate the services you use to make sure you have the best value for your money, but don’t tighten your belt so much that you miss out on marketing or business opportunities.
9) Plan your editorial calendar.
You want to provide your customers with informative, valuable content that inspires them and builds your expertise and credibility in in their eyes.
If you have some downtime now, invest it in your future content. Look at what products and services you’ll want to promote down the road and plan some engaging content and marketing materials to support your efforts.
10) Learn a new skill.
Do you want to learn to use Instagram more effectively? Maybe you want to master your video marketing skills or learn a new language to better communicate with your customers.
If you can slow down a bit, grab the chance to read, learn and grow! This might be a good time to check out our AMPLiFY! Business Academy where members get instant access to a large library of training videos from social media marketing to lead generation and content marketing.
11) Make your employees feel safe.
Always communicate your COVID-19 plans to workers around sick days and compensation. If your employees have to come into work, assure them how you’re keeping their area clean and safe.
They are looking to you to feel taken care of during this scary time. That said, don’t lie or withhold negative information; if you can’t give bonuses or have to lay off staff, let them know as soon as possible and support them as best you can.
12) Attract more traffic to your site.
It’s always a great idea to add fresh, useful content to your website. Your visitors will appreciate solution-focused content that honestly speaks to why they need your product or service.
Focus on writing some keyword-rich articles to boost your search engine rankings.
13) Grow your social media following.
You may be self-isolating, but you can connect online! Message people who liked or commented on your social media posts to start a conversation.
Be active in the Facebook Groups where your ideal clients hang out. Be visible and helpful (not salesy and annoying) while you are making new connections and offering people a human connection.
14) Segment your email list.
Over time, email lists can get messy. Small business owners may lack the resources to write targeted messages for each group of potential clients (e.g., hot prospects, warm leads, new prospects, business colleagues).
Focus on segmenting your email list to make people feel like you’re speaking directly to them and offering them unique content.
15) Develop a new product or service.
Maybe you have a business idea that’s been on the back burner these past few years. Or, maybe you’ve identified a product or service that would really help people during or after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out what Heather Wilson has done to meet today’s demand of using Facebook Groups to a businesses advantage. She quickly created an online course called Create, Fill, and Engage Your Facebook Group.
16) Perform competitive research.
Staying on top of what your competitors are doing gives you an incredible advantage, whether you run an established small business or are developing a new product or service.
Invest some time now in better understanding your competitors. How is their messaging different from yours? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they engage with their social media followers?
17) Share the love.
Don’t miss the chance to strengthen your most important relationships. Think about the people who are important to you (family, friends, customers, vendors, mentors, partners) and tell them what you most appreciate about them!
Stay Engaged with Customers and Keep Sales Alive During COVID-19.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and uncertain, let’s try to see these slow times for small businesses as an opportunity to think, review and plan for future growth and success.
If you need assistance, we can help you design a landing page to help you transition through and support your customers effectively at this time. Together we’ll find ways to boost dwindling sales due to this unforeseen economic crisis.
We wish everyone health and safety during this unusual time.
To your success,
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.