It is time to silence that voice in your head saying now is not the time. It is the right time and the time demands you do something different. Your income and relevance is drying up faster than a five-dollar nail polish and you need to find a solution.
If this were any old crisis, then you could go out and find something to sell, take a job busing tables or in the spirit of Ne-Yo and Pit Bull organize a rent party. But you’ve got to self-isolate and so do your customers.
If you haven’t read my previous post 8 Strategies for Handling COVID-19 in your Business, I encourage you to do so.
What I want to share now may seem counterproductive, but the truth is, you need a long-game strategy for the time we are in. If global predictions are right, we will be feeling the fallout from this crisis for some time to come. How are you going to manage things if you won’t be able to see a customer walk into your business for the next year?
It is time to set up an online strategy for your business.
You listened to the experts and you have a cool logo and you have a business page and the necessary profiles on various social media, but you never bothered to use them with any frequency and your engagement is zero. At some point, the seven or 70 people who liked your page were interested in getting to know more about you and your business. Start with the seven.
DO NOT SELL THEM ANYTHING!
You have not earned the right to tell them you can do home visits, or they can pass by and pick up their order.
I want you to simple serve them with information. How is information going to bring you sales you ask? We do business with people we care about and people who care about us. Frankly, if your business is service based such as a restaurant, hair salon, mechanic, dress making or coaching then it is time to serve.
Restaurateurs – begin to show short videos on how to make a sandwich or macaroni and cheese. Parents are now homeschooling some for the first time. This is a great time to teach children and young adults life skills. You can also do quick and healthy meals parents can make with their children. Do many of your customers have special dietary needs? Offer recipes and how-to videos they can follow at home.
If your hair salon customers are self-isolating, they are no longer able to come to you. Hair care is still necessary. Create brief videos about giving yourself a hair massage, the best hair pomades, different protective styles they can use on their natural hair, etc.
Mechanics can do how-to videos on oil changes, changing a tire, basic car repairs.
Even if you are afraid to go live online, you can prerecord the videos. You can also create a photo slideshow with step by step instructions on how to do the task. Your smartphone can record audio and there are also editing apps, which you can use to add the audio to your photos.
For those of you who coach or do accounting or design which more readily fit in an online space, find ways to serve more as well. Offer free bookkeeping classes so people can still file their taxes on time. Give a free mental health check coaching call. Use your design and editing skills to share relevant tips for your area on managing in the crisis. These can be delivered by an email newsletter.
Now a restaurant producing cooking classes or a hairstylist showing you how to braid your hair doesn’t seem much of a stretch. But what if you are drawing a blank on how to turn your business into an online service?
Do a skills audit on yourself. List out the tasks and skills that you regularly deploy in your business or what you do at home to keep things running like a well-oiled machine. You could focus on sharing your organizing tips with your clients. How about tips on the ways in which you fit in exercise even when you are completely swamped? Your service offering in an online environment is hidden within what you do in your regularly day. Find it and Use it.
We may all be stuck at home or be more restricted in our access to the world as we knew it, but the needs of life have not changed. Your goal is to remain relevant and to keep adding value to the people you serve.
The act of giving with no expectation of receiving shifts the game for you. It also helps you to stay focused on the bigger purpose, which is, we are all here to serve others. Something amazing happens when you focus on adding value by serving others with your gift over and over and over again. You attract the very things you need.
Keep the Faith. Take Action.
I believe it is time to #tellyourstory. I help my clients from the private and public sector to leverage traditional and digital media to increase their visibility and make more money. I am a mentor, business strategist, a certified Business Continuity Specialist and the author of seven books, including In Plain Sight and the Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more great tips and ideas to help you grow.