Though the Covid-19 crisis has created huge problems for small businesses, the current slump in economic activity is also the perfect time to plan ahead.
Keep in mind that everyone's life has been affected by this global crisis, including your employees, customers, and vendors. Authentic communication that demonstrates empathy and support is the right thing to do, and positions you as a leader. Abandon the "what's in it for me" approach and think about what's best for us.
Build and nurture relationships
Scour your contacts on LinkedIn and other platforms, and reach out to past customers, potential collaborators, and referral partners and prospects. Organize a system that reminds you of where you left each conversation and stay in touch periodically.
This crisis presents the perfect opportunity to check in with people. See how they are doing and if there is anything you can do to support them. And don't forget to ask for help if you need it -- relationships are a two-way street. Your clients, past and present, may see this as a good time to supply you with a recommendation on LinkedIn, a testimonial for your website, and/or a Google review. Offer them a few examples to make the process easier. But don't put words in their mouths. Be genuine.
Remember also that quality is more important than quantity. The email marketing service provider, AWeber, says now is the time to trim lists. Although you may have spent time and money to acquire your leads, keep your goal and ideal client in mind.
Update your marketing strategy
Now is not the time to lay low. But it is the time to speak carefully. Have you taken the time to think about how you want the public to see your company? An outdated website and inconsistent brand messaging does more harm than good. Now is also the time to take a hard look at your values and company culture. Do you support a cause? What does your company do to make the world a better place? Make sure your media presence reflects your values.
You should also publish content that establishes your position as an industry leader. Make an editorial calendar of blog and article topics that showcase your expertise. These should be published on your company's blog and also submitted to other publications. Research websites, podcasts, magazines, and industry publications that fit your content marketing strategy. If your industry has an association, contact them and ask for their policy on submitted content. Some publications require payment in return for submissions, but many accept any content that adds value.
Use this time for training
Ask other entrepreneurs about their favorite podcasts and create a library so you can listen at any time. Many of them offer support and insights you may find useful at this time. Also, think about books you've wanted to read. Are there online courses you'd like to take? What research would be most beneficial to the future of your business? Can your employees benefit from virtual training during slow times? Can your policies, procedures and training manuals be updated?
Assess the current situation for future use
What changes have you made to mitigate the consequences of our current situation? Can any of them inspire permanent changes in the way you market or run your business? For instance, many businesses have developed online shopping apps and curbside pickup options to reduce traffic in stores. This creates a safe and convenient customer experience that - according to reviews - many shoppers prefer over the traditional shopping experience.
Take care of yourself
Especially now, proper diet, exercise, and self-help tools are vital. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to access professional help. Major health insurance carriers are providing virtual counseling services and waiving the co-pay. The national crisis text line allows you to connect with a crisis counselor for free by texting CRISIS to 741741 (you can also text via Facebook Messenger).