We are witnessing an unprecedented time in our economy. Every business in every industry has been affected by this pandemic on some scale. As founder of Fama Agency, I’ve had to make changes to my business as well. I’ve had to revisit my pricing schedules, how I pitch to new clients, how I communicate with my existing client’s, be mindful of the tone I use when I market to their clientele and learn a whole new set of skills. I know what challenging situations you have been facing and will need to prepare for moving forward. As states start to reopen their economies, here are common themes I've found from discussions with my clients. These can help you prepare for your re-opening and also manage your business moving forward.
For every entrepreneur, our mindset is what keeps us motivated and thriving. Reminisce on when you first opened. It’s easy to get in a mode of saving your business and finding yourself on a hamster wheel to nowhere. Those feelings of fear and accomplishment, when you opened your doors for the first time, motivated you to keep pushing forward. Constantly thinking about what you could do next or make better, made your business stand out from your competition. Compare your story then to your story now. Your new story will help you re-connect with your clients and discover new ones. Your clients have changed as well. They have different interests and behaviors now. Either you will find new ways to offer your products and services or pivot. Don't get stuck in fear and if you find yourself stuck, invest in yourself. Find a business consultant that can help you build on your ideas, and hold you accountable.
Every business visits their balance sheet a few times a year. This pandemic hit when most businesses rely on the profits from March thru September to cover their expenses during the slow months of October thru January. The reality is that you won’t be operating on the same profit margins as you did before this pandemic. Start analyzing your expenses overall and cut wherever you can. You can start by negotiating with your vendors. They are affected as well and may have changed their pricing or increased the credit limits they allowed. Additionally, landlords are less likely to find new commercial tenants making it possible to re-negotiate your leases. In sum, no one wants to lose business or a customer right now, this works in your favor.
As a business owner you should care about your employees. They are the family you carefully selected to deliver the customer experience you built for your business. Think about which of your employees supported you through this and support them in return. Deciding to risk the health of their family to work, as necessary as it is, can be daunting on them. Have frequent check-ins to make sure they feel safe in your place of business and that they can continue to give the service that makes your business standout during this pandemic. If you have employees that haven’t been on board, it’s time to make some permanent changes. The truth is you may not be able to bring them all back on a full-time basis or at all. If you are fortunate to have a solid team, think about creating a rotational schedule to help with your bottom line and help your employees provide for their families until business picks up.
Most business owners have so much on their plate that social media posts tend to be neglected. As we all experienced, this world went completely digital whether we were ready or not. Use the relevant social media platforms for your business to show how you’ve been affected by this pandemic and how you've been preparing for your re-opening. Build awareness around your re-opening strategy. Your clients should be part of the re-opening strategy plan. Create a post in the form of a survey. Ask your audience what would make them feel safe in order to frequent your establishment again. It will serve as a good indicator of how much business you can expect the first 30 days of re-opening. Your clients and community want to know about your business and see how you are handling the sanitary and social distancing guidelines according to your state. They are aware of the CDC guidelines so make sure you are adhering to them.
Lastly, collaborate with community organizations, local influencers, and local businesses. When the community embraces you, COLLECTIVELY, you are improving the local economy.
You aren't in this alone. Stay safe and strong!