Coronavirus response: How should small businesses respond to the global pandemic?
Up until 2 weeks ago, I had been on maternity leave for the past year. During this time my thoughts regularly returned to my business and I admit to sometimes worrying about what it would be like when I began working again.
I worried about not being able to spend enough time growing my business; I worried about working so much that I’d miss special moments with my daughter; I worried about how long it would take me to reach my income targets working part-time; I worried that I would forget all my expertise; I worried that I wouldn’t want to work at all anymore, instead of wanting to spend all my time as ‘mummy’.
What I never worried about, not even once, was a global pandemic. The excitement that I felt to reconnect with my business and my audience a few short weeks ago has been all but consumed by a sense of confusion as I try to work out how best to navigate this strange time.
Living Day To Day
I recognise that many people will be living day to day just trying to get by as the virus spreads and greater restrictions are applied to our lives. Set against that backdrop I feel uncomfortable talking to people about ‘working from a place of joy’ or ‘living their best lives’.
However, on the other hand, I know that most of my audience has an online business and that right now growing that business could play an important role in them getting through what is likely to be a difficult few months for everyone and that’s exactly where I can be of service.
As a small business, myself below are my current thoughts on running and marketing a business during this time.
No one knows what ‘good marketing’ looks like in a global pandemic. I cannot offer you advice on marketing your business through a global pandemic. There is no textbook or field of experts on this. You have to follow what feels right and authentic for you.
I would also encourage you to have compassion for other businesses, big and small, as they try to figure out what to say and how to say it. Some businesses have chosen to stay quiet on the subject whilst others feel compelled to release specific coronavirus related content.
Try to switch off from the content that doesn’t feel good or doesn’t serve you – it is important to protect your mental health as well as your physical health during this time.
Choose to act from a place of service not fear
But then it hit me, how for so many small businesses it is critical that they find a way to keep trading to sustain or become their main household income. Me not showing up does not improve the situation for anyone whereas I can have a positive impact by being of service to those businesses that need and want my help to grow online.
You don’t need to put your business at risk to help people
By giving away your products/services for free you may end up having to close your business later down the line and therefore end up helping fewer people.
Giving away what you do for free is not sustainable – you have business and living costs just like anyone else.
There is no forecast end date to the coronavirus pandemic and even when it is no longer officially classed as a crisis it’s likely that the impact will continue for much longer. That could make it challenging for you to decide when to start charging people again.
If you sell something that is limited in some way, either in terms of your time or your ability to provide it to order then you risk people taking your offers because it’s free and then depriving those who really needed it of the opportunity. (Imagine if toilet roll had been free as well!)
There will be people who are less impacted and are able to pay your normal rates – allowing them to do so will support your business and keep money circulating in the economy.
My suggestion instead of giving everything away for free is to find new ways to offer value to people for lower or no cost, for example, free content that helps them DIY something that you offer professional services in, creating a resource that signposts them to related products and services that may be useful to them if they are struggling or a lower value version of something you already offer.
That way you can help people who have been impacted financially whilst still enabling people to purchase your regular products and services too. It’s about giving people more choice and you will be better able to do this if you’re not struggling yourself.
How can I help small businesses keep going?
Unlock potential in your business
My expertise is deeply rooted in understanding audiences which is critical in developing products, services and marketing that really connects with people. I can help you get laser-focused on who you serve and how you can help them.
Create compelling digital offerings
Save time and money in your marketing
Currently, I offer a 90 minute 1-2-1 virtual marketing session which can now be used for support and advice on any of the above areas and is currently £37. You can book here.
Over the coming days and weeks, I will be launching additional offers, some paid and some free to further support you at this time and I will email you as and when they are ready. You can also get free marketing tips in my Facebook group Inspiring Women Society.
Sending you all love and strength,
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