It’s REALLY tricky for small and micro businesses right now. Falling sales and cancellations are leaving business owners scared and anxious, worried this will break their little business.
So what can you do to help keep the cash flowing at times like these? It’s time to think like your customers and anticipate their needs. It’s time to be flexible and adapt. It’s time to reframe this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to help and add value while keeping your business going, even if it’s in a different form to usual. Here are some things to think about. Also, you are awesome and you can do this.
- Be visible, communicate and reassure. Think about why people are cancelling or not buying and do your best to address those fears. Think about what you can say and do. What will make them feel better? Think about how you can help.
- The need for what you sell doesn’t really go away, your customers just can’t (or don’t want to) access it in the usual way. What can you do about it? How can you make it easier for them? How can you help?
- Everyone is having to adapt. Everyone is having to find new ways to cope and carry on. How can you change what you offer to suit this new, albeit temporary way of life? What do your customers need right now? How can you help?
- Diversify where you can. You can park your current business for a little while if needs be. You are a small business so you can quickly change direction. You have so many skills that others can use, even if you aren’t using them in your current business. What can you offer or create? How can you help?
- Look at how you can take your business online. How could it work? What would it look like? This way of working will quickly become the norm so make sure you embrace it where you can. Don’t worry about the tech, there are easy ways to do it. Just get clear on how you need it to work, then figure out the how afterwards.
- Turn the cancellations and quiet times into a positive. You just gained precious time to do all the things you never get around to. Create and schedule your social media. Work on building your email list. Write blogs and e-newsletters. Create videos. Work on your business vision and targets. Plan!
- Support other small businesses as you would want to be supported. Promote them. Buy from them when you can. Recommend them.
- Don’t sit and suffer in silence. Anxiety is amplified when you try to cope alone. Seek out others in the same position. Brainstorm. Support. Chat. Build community. Join my Facebook group! www.facebook.com/groups/takeyourbusinessonline
- Remember this is not forever but it might be for weeks or months. Use your entrepreneurial brain to come up with solutions and embrace them now, not later. Be ahead of the curve.
- Keep marketing, more than ever. Businesses that stay visible, add value and keep marketing in tough times are the ones that hit the ground running when times get better.
One way or another we will find a way through this. We might come out the other end of it with a changed business and a changed life. Who knows? Why not treat it as an adventure and an opportunity to use your amazing entrepreneurial skills to help others while keeping your business going? We are in this together. You are awesome.
Love, Claire xx
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.