Pandemic Proof Your Business

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Danielle Pierduta

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Because of this pandemic, the world has been thrust into unprecedented times as the world arms itself in the fight against a new enemy, the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The threat to life, particularly those that fall into the ‘vulnerable’ categories is especially frightening. Not to mention the uncertainty around the virus itself, what this will do to our society, the economy, and how long this will go on for.

It’s important to remember that we are all in this fight together, a fight not only for ‘life’ but the fight to keep our businesses alive. These times may have given you some flexibility of your resources and while you carefully consider how to use this time, a key question to ask is how can your business model be changed and adapted to thrive what will be our ‘new normal’.

 

A new ‘Disaster Recovery’

We talk about disaster proofing in terms of IT and the importance of preserving our customer reputation. We also associate this phrase with ‘acts of God’ and natural disasters in order to protect our business in a physical sense. Pandemics, however, bring an entirely different set of difficulties such as social-distancing, self-isolation, even entire country lockdowns! If you rely on word of mouth, passing trade, physical footfall, or perform your services in person this sort of enforcement could be detrimental to your business. Adapting your business model even slightly to allow for such events can not only give you peace of mind should this type of event reoccur but also expand your customer base and opportunities in the meantime.

The importance of online advertising during this pandemic

In this situation, it is fundamentally important that you have an online presence. The majority already will of course but if you are a small business that provides its services in person there is a chance you may not. At the very least you should have a means of advertising online, even if this is just through a social media page such as Facebook for example. If you fall into this category, then now is the time to get yourself online and if you are a little unsure how to do it there is lots of guidance out there to help you.

Ideally and in most cases, you will already have your own website, your very own shop window on the world wide web. Regardless of Covid-19, it is a crucial step that your website stands out, makes a great first impression, and compels visitors to shop with you. Maybe making some improvements is something that has been on the to-do list for some time? Take advantage of this moment and ensure your site is up to date, has good quality images, maybe even develop it further with some more pages or an FAQ section to add value for your customers. Taking the pandemic into consideration you can (hopefully) expect more traffic, is your website adequate enough to cope with the demand and does your business have online shopping capabilities? If not, then this is a function you can add and utilise fairly quickly. Although it may not be easy running with a reduced workforce maybe and the restrictions of social distancing to contend with, it will allow your business to continue trading in some capacity throughout lockdown.

If you already have all of this in place then at the very least you can expect more competition as others jump online, how can you increase your appeal, so consumers choose you over others? This could be as simple as a discount code for a percentage reduction at checkout, free delivery or maybe even some samples or freebies thrown in, these can be great incentives so long as it remains cost-effective.

 

eCommerce

If you are selling products and have online shopping capabilities then it is crucial that you also have a good, reliable delivery service. No matter how impressive your website is, how fast you react to orders or the incentives you offer, it can all be for nothing if the lasting impression for the customer is a poor delivery service. Look at your turnaround from packing to delivery, are good received as intended and undamaged, are customers happy with the speed of this process. If not, you can always change who you courier with to ensure your customers are happy and will return for future purchases.

Alternatively, your business may offer a service rather than a product(s) and although this can be slightly more challenging in this scenario, it is not something that you cannot work around completely. If your business would normally offer a service in person such as a Personal Trainer, for example, there is no reason why you cannot adapt and overcome by utilising the available technology. Why not conduct meetings over the phone or virtually through the likes of Skype or Zoom? You could pre-record sessions and email to consumers or even take advantage of live streams provided by social media platforms. There are plenty of options to help you reach your customers remotely and this is something that you can continue to utilise after lockdown which may help reduce your expenses.

 

Share Your Knowledge

If your business requires you to deliver your service to your customers in person such as a barber/hairdresser, beauty therapist, makeup artist, gardener, etc then, without doubt, your business will be hit the hardest as you simply won’t be able to continue working even with the help of what technology has to offer. However, despite not being able to utilise your skills you can still share your knowledge and help your customers during this pandemic. If you are present and helpful during such a difficult time, then you will be in the minds of those you helped when life regains a sense of normality. Why not record some videos showing people how to achieve different hairstyles, what products you use or recommend, or maybe offer parents guidance on how to trim their children’s hair during the lockdown.

 

Content Is King

Developing more content is never a bad idea, not to mention the widely held belief that you more you give away and share for free the more likely people are to connect with you and turn into paying customers. Working on more content is something that you have likely thought is a great idea but your busy day to day life has meant it never got to the top of your list of priorities. Take advantage, make the most of lockdown and create a library of content, write an ebook, make a series of videos, do a podcast, blog, vlog, whatever you want to create, share and help grow your audience.

Stay Safe

Yes, this virus is a threat to life, has caused many to lose loved ones before their time, triggered worldwide fear, and brought unprecedented disruption to daily life. It is vital we abide by the government’s advice to try and minimise this disaster as much as we possibly can, however, we still want our businesses and livelihoods to remain when this does come to an end. This is time we will (hopefully) never have again, do the admin you never get around to, put in place the simpler processes that have been too time-consuming to initiate, improve your website, develop your content, do whatever you can to turn this negative into a positive and ensure your business not only survives but thrives.

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