In the 2 weeks since my last post we’ve all been adapting to lockdown life, embracing online communication and learning how to balance home working with home schooling and new co-workers. It’s been a challenge for us all, but I’m pleased to see that two weeks in we’re all getting used to our ‘new normal’ and starting to look at how we can shore-up our businesses to weather this storm.
I promised that I am here for you, and today I want to continue to provide you with the best advice and information that I can to be a guiding light through the darkness and uncertainty.
Last week I shared Part One of my COVID-19 Action Plan Part (catch up here) and today I want to share some more practical advice to keep your business moving forward with Part Two of my Coronavirus Action Plan:
KEEP SHOWING UP
Over the past few weeks I have seen many businesses – big and small – stop posting on their online and social media platforms, closing call centres, deleting newsletters, appearing to cease all communication with their clients and wider audience. This crisis hit hard and fast, and left many of us unsure what to say, but the worst thing you can do right is disappear.
While it might not feel like the right time to sell (more on that below) communicating your brand values, expertise and knowledge to your clients has never been more important. Your audience is looking to you for reassurance and guidance, escapism and inspiration, brands who continue to provide this support will emerge from this crisis with more brand awareness, trust and potential clients than those who don’t.
We’re all tired of hearing the bad news stories, the cancellations and loss of business, don’t associate your business with the negative aspects of this situation. Listen to your audience, judge their engagement, comments and interaction and use their responses to gauge your own social media reaction.
Brands who are responding to their clients needs with aspirational content that allows them to escape, informative content that educates and supportive content that provides advice and guidance is doing well. Chose the angle that works best for your audience, and be adaptive as their needs evolve and change as this situation develops.
If you think you can’t sell in a crisis, think again. There is nothing wrong with selling right now, but you may need to pivot your current offering (is all you can think of Ross from Friends right now too?!), but remember to carefully consider your messaging to ensure it is in alignment with your audience’s thoughts and feelings.
Over the past few weeks I have seen some really great (and really awful, but I won’t mention those) examples of business pivots, from Leon Restaurants re-opening as grocery stores to BrewDog manufacturing hand sanitiser, these businesses have listened to their customers needs and carefully restructured their businesses to provide value and service.
With the world in isolation online businesses have seen massive growth, so consider how you can take your business online. Just this week I have helped a makeup artists set up online makeup lessons and a bridal boutique create virtual consultations for their brides.
If online isn’t a viable option for you, are there ways you can use your current skillset to cater to a new audience? Fashion designers around the world have started designing and making facemasks both for medical workers and commercially, manufacturers have flipped to building ventilators. Think beyond your current industry and how you can service others in need.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Weddings and events may be cancelled for the foreseeable future, but they will resume. Couples planning their weddings in late 2020, 2021 and even 2022 are now at home and using this time to research and plan their weddings, and many businesses are still receiving steady bookings for next year.
I predict that as soon as social distancing rules are relaxed we will see a boom in whirlwind autumn and winter weddings as couples realise what is important and decide to tie the knot within the space of a few months.
If you can target your marketing efforts towards the needs and aspirations of these couples and get in front of them now, by the time your competitors emerge in the Autumn you will be well ahead of the crowd in terms of bookings and cashflow.
EDUCATION IN ISOLATION
If you really can’t face selling right now, then the next best thing is to prepare your business for the future. This crisis will end, and businesses who are investing in education and training now will emerge stronger, more confident and better equipped to deal with the new challenges we face when we come out the other side.
Here at the Hive, we have over 50 training videos, podcasts and workbooks in our resources library and new online training modules released monthly.
Starting this month we are inviting more industry experts into our private Facebook Group to offer specific advice on PR, marketing, finances and business strategy to help you deal with the effects of coronavirus on your business, and I am hosting weekly virtual support calls for our members to receive the increased help and support you need right now.
As of today, I am opening the doors to the HiveTribe indefinitely so that you can find the support, advice and resources to enable you to keep running your business, keep learning and build a more robust business from home during isolation.
Are you ready to prepare your business for the future? Join the HiveTribe now for less than £1 per day and get access to training, resources and a ready-made community here to help you emerge from this crisis as a stronger, more confident business owner.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you!
PS. Join the HiveTribe here: www.hivetribe.co.uk/membership