Life is anything but business as usual right now. Chances are that your plans and goals for the year are swiftly becoming unmoored as shutdowns continue, clients slash budgets, and your usual channels for getting the word out become less viable.
While it's hard to keep an eye on the future while the ground is shifting under your feet, the trick is not to despair. Instead, use the fact that nothing is the way it should be to consider new options and alternatives for your company - ones that can help you thrive during the current situation and in the times ahead as well.
If one thing's for sure, it's that the companies that are able to creatively adapt that will come out of this as the success stories. Here are a few ways you can put yourself among their ranks.
Rethink Your Current Offerings
COVID-19 and the accompanying shutdowns have reshaped life as we know it. But with so many of our daily "go-to's" closed or inaccessible, people are looking to alternatives to fill those gaps. With bars and restaurants closed, takeout, delivery, and meal subscription services are booming - and restaurants are reworking their menus and service options to suit. Brewers and distilleries are taking advantage of the alcohol they have on tap to meet booming demand for hand sanitizer. Gyms are offering equipment hire or online training programs. Publishers are working overtime to meet the new demand for school workbooks and activity books from homeschooling parents - not to mention cathartic adult coloring books aimed at frazzled work-from-homers.
If you're not sure where to start, look critically at your industry, consider what your audience needs during this time, then brainstorm how you can pivot your current products or services to meet those needs.
Step Up To Serve Your Community
Depending on your industry, it may not make financial sense to pivot or reopen until lockdown ends. If your business is going to remain shuttered until then, consider how you can creatively use your time and resources to give back to the community. You'll be doing a good deed while building brand trust, recognition, and goodwill. Examples of brands doing this include event planning companies using fabric offcuts to make masks for hospital staff and essential workers, restaurants donating meals to healthcare workers, and Keurig keeping frontline workers caffeinated for free. People get behind brands that stand for something - and this is your chance to take a stand.
If you're not sure how you can help, reach out to your local small business association or community center. They can help put you in touch with people or organizations in need.
Plan for Your Reopening
We may all feel like we're in a holding pattern right now, but eventually, things will return to normal - although it'll probably be a new normal. Use this time to start researching projected trends in your industry and among your audience, and put this information to work in your reopening plans. Hotels may want to invest in upgraded sanitization measures. Restaurants may need to consider interior redesigns that make social distancing possible. Professional service providers may need to invest in virtual technologies for people who might not want to come into an office. And all businesses will need to be nimble enough to adapt to changing city, state, and federal guidelines. This may seem daunting but think of it as a fresh start. Now's the chance to make those adjustments or try that idea you've been putting off all these years.
On top of this, every business should be working hard on their communications so that clients and customers know that you're still around. If you've let your social media presence or newsletter scheduling slip, get back in the saddle. Get creative about rebuilding your digital (and offline) presence so that you're top of mind when the world reopens. Get it right, and you'll be able to meet your customers where they are - whatever that looks like in the months to come.