Let’s make some lemonade
As the country goes into near-lockdown conditions with people self-isolating and social distancing, customer-facing businesses need to think creatively about how they can weather the shitstorm. Comma Chameleon offers some advice…
It feels rather like the universe has handed us a massive lemon in recent weeks, doesn’t it? A big ol’ corona-shaped citrus fruit of doom. One that’s barrelling along every high street, in every town across the world, attempting to flatten every small-business owner in its path.
But what are you gonna do?
It would be so easy to lie down, accept the seemingly inevitable, and let what will be, be.
But why should you? You’ve worked hard to get to where you are now. We know. We’re right there with you.
So here’s the thing.
Instead of lying down, we could get up. We could stand on the shoulders of every other business owner out there. We can business-owner totem pole this bad boy. Rise higher than that bloody lemon. And smush the shit out of it.
Because, clichéd or not, we ARE stronger together.
Don’t give up. Do more.
Of course there are certain businesses who are feeling the fear more than others right now. We get that, we really do. Weathering this particular shitstorm is going to have a massive impact on bricks-and-mortar businesses in particular, with a mooted lockdown impacting on our abilities to carry on our lives as normal. The hospitality and tourism trades are already being affected as travel bans are imposed and social distancing takes hold, and our hearts genuinely go out to anybody and everybody who’s struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now.
But what if you were to make your own light? And what if you were to pour every ounce of your strength into stoking the flames to keep it burning bright through what looks like being a pretty dark few months?
These days, there’s very little you can do in person that you can’t do online. Except for catch the lurgy.
While others look to cut back on marketing and promotion, seeing no need to ‘sell’ when nobody is buying, this might actually be a golden opportunity to push ahead and build a stronger brand. By using your lockdown as an opportunity to turn up the volume on your marketing, yours is going to be the voice that people are hearing while everybody else falls silent. This means that when the world emerges from its enforced, early-spring hibernation, your business is going to be the one people think of when they’re ready to start buying again.
In-person events, meetings and training sessions are becoming a no-no. But look at the world around you. We’re more connected now than we’ve ever been. And we don’t mean in a germ-spreading kind of way. These days, there’s very little you can do in person that you can’t do online. Except for catch the lurgy.
So use this lockdown time to focus your mind and redouble your efforts.
Here are some things you could try:
- Refresh your website content. Get a small, local SEO biz on the blower to talk about your strategy and help you identify areas where you can make improvements.
- Double-down on the social media marketing. Carrying on engaging with your existing clients, obviously, but spend the time and effort to nurture new leads. Get your name out there, connect with people. New connections made now will become new clients when this all blows over.
- Launch an online training module. If you run a business, you clearly do SOMEthing better than most people. Can you train people up in your skill? Not too much, obviously – you don’t want to put yourself out of business. Give them a taster of how you do what you do. Let them see what skills it takes to offer what you do, and they’ll begin to really value your expertise – and eventually they’ll come back for more.
- Do some Skype coaching sessions. Same as above. Your skills, knowledge and experience are tradeable assets – put them to good use, and charge people to tap into your resources.
- Host a free 5-day challenge to pass on some of your knowledge. Yes, it’s free. But if you can nail it, all those people will come to value your knowledge and experience, and that will be something they’re happy to sign up and pay for once this virus has been knocked on the head.
- Put together some brochures for people to download. Again, use your knowledge to sell your expertise. Maybe a freebie. Put together an ebook. Whatever you can to get your name out there and ensure you’re still adding value, even when you can’t sell your ACTUAL wares.
- Use your other small-business connections to band together and offer something new and different – you’ll expand your customer base, and you’ll be helping another struggling business owner out.
Use this time to think outside the box and properly nail down your offering, so that when this all blows over (which it will), you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
People want to come together in times of crisis. People want to support small businesses. Let them. Give them something to support, and they won’t let you down.
Stay strong. Don’t be paralysed by fear. You’ve got this. And if you need a hand, or simply a sympathetic ear, you know where we are.
Keep your chins up. But your germs to yourself.
We’re here if you need us.
The Comma Chameleon team.