As more somber reports come out about small businesses closing their shops for good, as a result of both the initial stay-at-home orders and shuttering doors again this summer due to the raging pandemic, it may seem like the only option.
While some circumstances cannot be turned around, businesses must ask the question of how they can continue anew while dealing with federal loans, or the stress of layoffs, or impending unemployment stimulus checks tapering off.
Though we don't pretend to have a magic wand, we can offer a few pieces of encouragement for business owners reluctant to move online and even more unwilling to invest in technologies that promise savings, but in reality becomes another expensive headache.
The number one thing we hear from people is that technology is expensive, confusing, cumbersome and not intuitive. In many instances, we experience the same thing. So many tools for so many things - they all add up - often with hidden costs. But, we promise it's not all bad! Here are three free resources to get online affordably and easily:
For businesses that have recently furloughed or laid off workers with no optimism in sight for being able to rehire them, consider offering them new jobs to fill the roles you don't want to do (or don't have time to figure out how to do) online. If you're going to begin marketing and driving sales online, focus on the business while allowing an employee to manage your social media, or begin your email newsletter campaign, and follow up with customers.
With or without a pandemic, having an online offering is a great way to diversify your revenue and business model by being accessible to more people. Depending on your business type, it might be more cost effective to give up your office rental space or brick-and-mortar and refocus everything from home. By having a website and a social media profile - businesses can get more traffic (and not rely on foot traffic only), and reach an audience outside of your community.
For health and wellness professionals, consider tele-health and video sessions for one-on-one, groups and monthly subscriptions. Pair that with a personalized nutrition plan, exercises to decrease anxiety and stress or DIY daily exercises.
For local businesses on main street, retail shops can consider phone orders and curbside pickup. Restaurants, consider a slimmed down and streamlined menu, as well as affordable meals to help feed families who need it the most (or people who can't cook). It may not be your normal restaurant routine, but it can keep your overhead straightforward while the pandemic continues.
Consultants both professional and creative, now is a great time to be of service to restaurants, shops, gyms, and any struggling small business who needs legal, financial or design expertise. Meet Zoom, your new best friend.