How to Move Forward When Your Business is Temporarily Shut Down
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced countless businesses of all sizes to at least temporarily close their doors. While some have found ways to comply with social distancing and continue to provide their product or service, others have simply had to wait it out. So, what do you do if your business is the latter?
Here are seven things small business owners can do while they’re temporarily closed that can strengthen their business down the road. While not every recommendation will work for everyone, this list can at least get you thinking about what might work for you.
Take on some light renovations
You’ve got time and the place to yourself, so take a good look around and see what improvements you can make. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but a deep clean, a few coats of paint, rearranging a room or adding some fresh new décor can be a great use of time that adds real value.
Connect with other small business owners
Lean on organizations like the local chamber of commerce to connect with other small business owners. Now is the time to share ideas, lean on one another and learn from one another. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Study your competition
You likely always have an eye on competitors, but really dig into it during this time. Ask yourself what they’re doing well and how they’re doing it, and then take a look at your own business. This exercise can help you find ways to differentiate yourself going forward.
Stay on top of consumer trends
Articles are being written daily about how consumer habits are changing—some permanently—as a result of social distancing. These changes will have varying degrees of impact on different small businesses. When businesses re-open, it may not be business as usual, so it’s important to understand how those changes might impact you.
Take online courses
Colleges and universities along with business-related programs and associations are offering free to low-cost certification programs online. This is an opportunity to focus on an area you’re not particularly strong in (marketing, social media, bookkeeping, human resources, etc.) and capitalize on the virtual learning boom. These vary in scale and scope, ranging from a few hours to a few months, so choose what works for you. Google, LinkedIn, Adobe, and the Small Business Association (SBA) all offer online courses, but there many more.
Evaluate your business model
With a new perspective on your consumers and your competition, it’s a good time to evaluate your business model. Ask yourself: How can I incorporate or improve online sales? Are there any services I can offer virtually? Are there new ways I can deliver my products? You don’t have to do all or any of these, but now is the time to ask the questions. If you do decide that investing in these areas is worthwhile, start mapping out what you’ll need to make it a reality.
Use social media to keep in touch with your customers
Sharing your personal journey is a way to connect with your customers. Look for opportunities to post updates, giving a look behind the scenes. Whether it’s the renovations you’re doing, the video conference with other local businesses, the classes you’re taking or the changes you’re making to better serve your customers, it’s all content that ingratiates you with your customers. When the doors open, they may feel a deeper sense of connection to your business than before.