You’re following the guidelines and avoiding spreading or catching the disease. You’ve got plenty of toilet roll and you’ve just signed up for Disney Plus. Now all you need to do is hunker down and ride out the storm. Right?
It would be nice to imagine that once all this is over everything will automatically return to normal. I’m looking forward to going to the pub again and tuning in to Match of the Day on Saturday evenings. But these things we take for granted aren’t a given; they will only be there when we come out of this crisis if the pub landlords, football club chairmen and yes – business people like you – make plans for the future now.
Though it might feel counter-intuitive, now is not the time to hide under the duvet with your fingers crossed. If you want your business to be ready for the bounce back later this year you must take the right steps today.
So what should you be doing?
It’s well known that in times of crisis you need to stay at the forefront of your customers' minds and invest in PR and marketing rather than cut it back. Here are some ideas you may not have thought of:
Do things differently
The world has changed, and so should you. Is there a different way of doing things? Wholesalers are selling direct to consumers rather than through retailers, for example, and manufacturers are switching production to support the NHS.
Have a think about what you could do differently to keep income coming in. If it’s an innovative idea or something that supports the community or the health service, shout about it on platforms like LinkedIn or Insta and let your local news or trade sector media know. Everyone is talking about #coronavirus and you too can be a useful and interesting part of the conversation.
Don’t be shy – be seen and heard
Your customers may be unwilling or unable to buy your products or services at the moment, but that won’t always be the case. One day the sun will rise, the birds will sing, the shops will reopen and your business will be back on its feet.
Between then and now you need to keep your customers aware that you’re alive and kicking. Keep updating your blog and keep posting on your social channels. Ask your local newspaper or news website if you can contribute an article that’s relevant to the challenges we’re all facing. Why not start a podcast? Or shoot some simple videos in which you can give advice or the latest news about your business and post them on your social channels?
Can you offer help and advice?
If you can’t operate normally, think about how you might be able to lend a hand in your community. We’ve seen businesses using their fleet of vans to deliver food to the vulnerable and distilleries producing hand sanitisers. We’ve seen football clubs opening up their stadiums for food parcel distribution and F1 engineers turn their hand to designing new medical equipment.
Whatever sort of business you run, you might have something that your community needs – it could be vehicles or storage space, or it could be knowledge and expertise. Ask yourself how you can help.
If your business is closed, can you use your online shop window instead of your actual one? Are there products and services you can offer online that you hadn’t considered before? Some restaurants are staying open and providing takeaway and delivery services, but other businesses could try this too – a toilet roll delivery service would probably prove popular!
Just remember to observe social distancing rules and make sure that the health and safety of your costumers and your employees is your top priority.
These are just some of our ideas. We’d love to hear yours! Tweet us @shootingstarpr and let us know!