Making your Small Business Work in a Crisis
In what seems like an instant, our lives have changed. We’re all being impacted by the uncertainty before us and, as such, are trying to manage a ‘new normal.’ Our family lives are affected, as are our businesses. And for those of us who own a small business, we’re familiar with fluctuation and uncertainty. However, the impact of the ambiguity presented by this situation is far-reaching.
Fortunately, clarity comes with experience, and now nearly 13-years “in” as a business owner, I am certain of a few things. To start, the ability to succeed as a business is often measured in times of struggle versus times of success. It’s easy to go about the day-to-day. In fact, it’s even easy (to a degree) to manage the challenges that accompany expansion and growth because they are “good problems” to have. But managing a business during a crisis is what can truly make or break a business. How adeptly, thoughtfully and strategically you handle the unexpected can demonstrate your credibility and your business’s value.
How can I say this with such confidence? Well, because as it turned-out, a recession hit our nation three-months after I started a business. It was a retail flower and stationery boutique, and wow was I facing a startling reality. It took every ounce of brain power, energy and resources (thank you family and friends) to keep that sucker afloat without losing many precious things (sanity included!).
So how did I do it? How should you do it, now? Hunker-down and do the work. Oh, and don’t wallow. As a small business, we have an advantage over corporations! Our size affords us the innate ability to be agile. And now is the time to capitalize on that ability. Channel your inner MacGyver and communicate like Mrs. Kravitz. Create opportunities for yourself and your business, and spread-the-word.
- Connect. Be sure to stay in touch with customers and colleagues. This is the time to create (and follow!) a content calendar for social media. Communicate often, and be consistent across all your channels and outlets (i.e. IG, FB, email, website, etc.).
- Brainstorm. Look for new revenue streams. Can clients pre-book for services later? Can you host a Facebook Live session to sell items in real-time and then invoice via email? Can you sell gift certificates? Is there a consultative product or service that you would/could now offer (even for just a limited time)?
- Collaborate. With whom can you cross-promote? Be it through a video, social media (i.e. @mentions and tags) or a special email deal— team-up with fellow businesses.
- Organize. Prioritize and educate yourself regarding what your competitors are doing and put plans in place to execute changes when your business is back up and running at full-steam. Update your website, clean- up your feed, and inventory your products. Use this time wisely. You’re always saying you don’t have time. Well, now you do!
- Innovate. Can you write a blog, or share some of your favorite inspirational videos or books? How about featuring your loyal customers with a takeover of your blog or social?
- Reach-out. Contact clients and colleagues who would happily provide a review or testimonial regarding your business or products that you can share on your website and social media.
Thankfully, ‘days like this’ don’t come often, but while they’re upon us make them work for you as best you can. So I’ll say it again, “hunker-down and do the work.” You’re small, you’re independent, you’re agile, and you’ve got the moxy to get it done.