Wow, like the rest of us, being isolated, just personally is a struggle. Did I mention I’m an extrovert who works from home – right? It’s already tough. But now for so many, there are changes. Changes like kids at home, kids having to be home schooled, college students “kicked out” of dorms, gyms closed, restaurants closed, grocery store shelves empty in certain areas, workers unemployed, employees having to learn a new life working from home with all the extra distractions, small businesses wondering if they will be able to keep afloat… so much newness to consider and worry about, for everyone.
This isn’t just a city or county issues, this isn’t just a state issue, heck, it’s even not just a country issue – every single country is affected, somehow. Whether it’s due to illness, whether it’s due to the economy, whether it’s due to lack of supplies, whether it’s imports or exports.. it’s an issue. In my lifetime, I have not had to deal with such an “issue”. I know my parents and grandparents had other things to deal with, like war and recession. Sure, I was alive during the Gulf War and of course 9/11’s terrorist war, but the impact, compared to this is so much… different. IMHO
Learning new things
Back to my point.. this is different and while you can prepare for so many things, some things are just really hard to plan for, like this. So, what do we do now? Well, depending upon your situation, everything is a little different.
- a newly unemployed worker files for unemployment, maybe looks for a job
- kids learn how to “do school” at home
- employees have to learn how to work from home
- small businesses will have to learn how to corner a different market with their business or be forced out of business
- parents have learn how to home school
- some parents have to learn how to balance home school and working from home
- some folks have to learn how to cook! Seriously this is true
- extroverts have to learn how to find ways to stay in touch, heck, even introverts
- people need to learn how to plan for meals and find other things to eat or use when supplies are low
- we all have to learn how to budget better
- we all need to learn how to adjust, not panic and maybe enjoy the peace, when we can
- everyone needs to learn how to keep themselves safe, understand the importance of social distancing
- hopefully we already know how to wash our hands, but just need to be doing more of it
But you get the idea, however this post was written for the small business owner, mostly. And you may be, or know someone, who is many of the above things, a small business owner, someone who now has to work from home who wasn’t previously, may have kids at home now and have to balance those on top of the other things. But one thing is for sure – while we may be alone (or in smaller groups) at home, we are not alone in this situation. AND, we CAN come together, while keeping our safe distance. We just have to learn how to do it differently.
So, as noted above, unless your small business is okay with closing or pushing pause on that business, like that’s ideal, you have to do something different and learn how to beat this thing. But how? First, take advantage of the assistance, financial or otherwise, that may be available to you and/or your business. We don’t know how long this will last until it’s over. And well, if you didn’t take advantage when you should have, when you finally decide to, it may be too late. So, don’t delay.
- Small business guidance and loan resources – where better to grab this information but from the main source, itself. And you know they will keep it up to date. Here is one from my local area – Galveston County Texas Economic Development if you are local, this might help.
- Keep yourself safe – this should go without saying, but if you can’t work because you are ill, then none of this can help. You have to help yourself stay well first. No better place to get your information than the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and there is a ton of information about various topics specifically about COVID-19.
- Learn how to work from home – you may not be used to working from home so this is something you’ll have to figure out. Here are some great basic reminders on how to get yourself set up, organized and well.. balanced
- Bond with your team – some of you have teams that used to work together and now they don’t… so you don’t want to lose that camaraderie.. so don’t! These are some fun ones!
- Keep yourself sane – maybe some of you are okay with being a hermit, but I would imagine that after a period of time, that gets harder even for you. So, whatever works for you do it!
- learning to work out at home
- take your people time to Zoom, Facebook messenger video or Facetime – and it’s free
- Start a new book or television series
- take on a new hobby – painting, crafting, knitting – what else you got?
- use your skills or talents to help others – baking, cooking, making masks
- organize your garage, pantry, house
- spring cleaning (as if cleaning could ever make someone sane, just saying)
- take up yoga or meditation
I will say one thing first, while we all find creative ways to make money out of this situation, this is NOT the time to be greedy. Don’t mark up prices or be a jerk because other people are needy right now. This isn’t the time to hoard paper products and take it online to sell it and make money. This is not the way to seek opportunity!
But there are various things that each of us can do for our own business and that of others to help keep the economy moving in the positive direction for small business owners.
I’ve always said that givers gain. (It wasn’t my phrase, but I keep repeating it) Keep your ear to the ground for other people. Everyone has a need just like everyone has a specific skill. Maybe one of your friends is in need of a lawn mower, while another one is trying to sell hers. Link those two together. We are all part of networking or social media groups, share ways to help others when you can. The caterer I hired for my wedding obviously isn’t doing a lot of weddings or party catering, but he’s been putting out a weekly set meal to prepare and deliver to others. So, when you see that stuff, be sure you share it with your friends to help that person out and buy from them when you can. It’s a win-win. I believe in karma and what goes around will come around.
Offer online class or resource
You may have a service that you typically deliver in person, or provide talks about, but you can’t do that now, maybe that is something you can create and sell. Or, maybe you can offer a freebie of information, which leads to a paid offer. Folks are home more now and sadly have more free time than most want to have. So, this is a great time to offer your products or services in a different light – ONLINE. I’m going to bet that most businesses can find something that would be of value that they could offer online. If you are having a hard time coming up with something, comment below and let’s see what we can do to think of one.
Whether you are losing your clients or not, now is not the time to fade away. This time is super important and you have an easy “excuse” to reach out to them. Check on them. Ask them how they are doing, how their business is doing, how they are managing, etc. If you are B2B (business to business), this could be even MORE critical because maybe you could help your clients create a different income stream, or help them with some sort of creative way to keep afloat. This is totally different for us all – so thinking outside of the box, is necessary! Be personal and genuine, it will be the world to them, I am sure of it.
Work on your business, not just in it
First.. working ON your business is the strategy, creating new products, or planning and typically not directly making money. Working IN your business is usually the stuff you do that makes you money, the services you offer or making the products you sell, so it the direct money making stuff.
If you have lost some clients or have seen a loss in revenue due to a loss of sales, then this is the perfect time to start spending more time working ON your business. I am in the business of marketing so my focus over the last 6 months has been trying to find ways to help other businesses grow while creating residual income for my business. I have some paid offers in the works but it all starts with freebie offers – to help build the trust, loyalty and authority.
The cool thing, my freebie can help you grow your business and move your website up on the rankings of search engines. How cool is that, right? Take a look at my 4 INSANELY Easy SEO Tips YOU Can Do Right Now! ebook. Dude, it is FREE! You have nothing to lose.
Hold on a minute, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, oh my gosh, I can’t do that. I don’t know a THING about search engine optimization or this SEO thing. I got you! In this ebook, I give you step by step instruction and really break it down for you so you CAN get it.. or rather, at least the ability to DO it. Again, what do you have to lose? It’s free and I promise you can do it. If you don’t.. then stay on page 100 of the search engines and expect no growth on your website, traffic or products or services. I know, that’s not you.. so come on and check it out.
All I ask of you, is your name and email address. And heck, you know you’ve given that away in exchange for worse.. so, again, what do you have to lose? lol
We are really in this together, just from our own homes. But hey, at least we have each other online. Could you imagine if this happened 20 years ago.. and we didn’t have the internet as we know it now? RIGHT? We would all DIE! lol (Just for fun – life before the internet) Well, we really wouldn’t, but we would learn how to do things differently, again, but from a different time. So, embrace the suck and embrace what we do have, which is the ability to do so many more things, and online, that was imaginable 20 years ago. Realize that we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, literally.
Lastly, there has to be something that you can do, something that is outside of the box to help grow your business. You may have to do some serious brainstorming or you may have to grab your bestie, grab your mentor, grab your employees – all online of course – and start working on some other things that you can do. Again, please pop your ideas below so others can learn from you or put your business below and ask for help for ideas. I’m happy to toss a few ideas around with you.