3 Actionable Small Business Tips For The COVID-19 Pandemic
Social distancing may be the new norm, but there are some things your small businesses can do to help mitigate the isolation effect on your bottom line. You’ll want to put your best foot forward when it comes to staying connected with your customers and clients.
Thanks to digital technology and social media, there are lots of ways to stay connected to your customers and clients throughout this challenging time.
Particularly over the past week, many consumers have grown increasingly panicked about COVID-19 and its impact on us all. Local Walmarts and other store shelves have become depleted of products like toilet tissue and hand sanitizer. Schools are closing, offices are urging employees to work from home and small businesses that rely mostly on foot traffic are already taking a hard hit.
If you’ve noticed a drop in sales, customers, and clients, you’re not alone. According to the NFIB Research Center, nearly 25% of small business owners say the COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting them in the form of slower sales (42%), supply chain disruptions (39%) and sick employees (4%). (NFIB Study: Coronavirus Impact on Small Businesses)
While many small businesses are not currently impacted, almost all small business owners are justifiably concerned about future disruptions if the outbreak continues to escalate. Of those small business owners not currently impacted, 43% anticipate their business being impacted if the coronavirus outbreak spreads to or, spreads more broadly, in their immediate area over the next 3 months.
Listed below are three actionable tips for businesses looking to keep their audience engaged and in the loop during this pandemic.
1. Let customers and clients know what you’re doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Let your customers and clients know that you are being proactive when it comes to protecting their health when they visit your location or do business with you. Share any increased cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene protocols you’re following. Also let them know if you are altering your business hours or closing your location for a deep-clean.
2. Increase your social media presence with quality content
Your customers and clients are already on social media and like many are checking in much more frequently to get the latest updates on the virus. Positive, lighthearted, inspirational content can also help to take people’s minds off the panic and ease stress. It’s advisable to marginally increase your posting frequency to ensure you are showing up in their news feeds as the organic algorithms are now all weighted towards the virus and the latest news surrounding it.
3. Consider engaging with your customers more through digital channels
While you may already offer phone and email support to your customers and clients, now is the time to increase your customer service capabilities and ensure your customers and clients can reach you. Social media is a good place to start, as you can offer the option to chat via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and other instant messaging platforms.
You can also offer video conferencing options through Google, Skype or FaceTime. This way your customers and clients can get that “face-to-face” benefit without actually being with you in-person.
If you presently don’t have a website or eCommerce shop online (for those selling products), it’s not a bad time to get the ball rolling on that extension of your business. New York City and Los Angeles just announced that they would limit restaurants to takeout and delivery only. While this may not occur in all states it’d be a wise move for restaurants that haven’t already to consider updating their menus and ordering systems online.
For more resources on dealing with the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled the CDC’s recommendations for businesses and workers across the country. Download their Coronavirus Response Toolkit and share those assets with staff and colleagues.
Mark D. Hulett is the senior website developer & designer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of digital marketing, website development and website design spans more than a decade.