Don’t Fear This Moment: 4 Tips for small businesses during coronavirus shutdown

You can thrive.

We just got the news a couple of minutes ago that the government has shut down all non-life sustaining businesses. So for home services, restaurants, and small businesses – there’s going to be a time of adjustment regarding how you serve your customers, build trust with potential customers, and develop your brand.

But the good news is this: YOU CAN.  You can do it from home and you don’t have to let a coronavirus shut down your business from connecting and helping those around you.

We want to cover three or four just quick ideas based on our years of marketing experience that we would do if we were in a situation where we really couldn’t be directly serving our clients right now. 

At Sparrow, we are blessed we can serve you remotely, but a lot of our clients who are in home services and can’t go out physically, this is going to be a temporary shutdown for them – but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve people.

Small business is what runs America and we want to help you get through this.

We’ve already seen some people be selfish and try to take advantage of the situation. We’re not saying to do that. But this isn’t a time for small business owners to lay down and die. This is really about truly helping people because they can’t hire you. 

This whole thing is going to pass. And the people that built relationships, that built audiences, built networks, that type of thing during this season are going to survive and thrive and the people that didn’t take advantage of this time.

TIP #1: HELPFUL CONTENT

Creating helpful content (content marketing) is something we talk about a lot.

And you can do it on your own from home. We want to empower business owners to do on their own, to actually reach out and start to build trust with your community. We’ve done a lot of videos and things like that on that, but this is a really critical time where you’ve got a bunch of people that are stuck at home, they’re bored, and they’re facing brand new issues. Things they would’ve hired people to do before, maybe mow their lawn, take care of their kids, clean their house, now they’re on their own.

So this is a great time for you to start to build trust with those people because you are the expert and you know things they don’t know.

An example would be that if you have a cleaning business, this would be a great time to start giving out some helpful cleaning tips. The stuff is starting to pile up, there’s a lot of clutter, stuff’s getting dirty. You can build some trust by being the person that helps empower homeowners with homemade cleaning solutions, or tips on how to stay clean during the Corona crisis.

Whatever you really know a lot about and you’re an expert in, start creating either quick iPhone videos, simple just headshot videos, or just write out the content in a blog post if that’s what you’re more familiar with.

Help to people who really need your expertise right now because they don’t have access to you.

You don’t have to write 10 blogs over the next 10 cups of coffee but just start putting some quick helpful information out. 

TIP #2: GATHER REVIEWS FROM CUSTOMERS

Now is a great time to go through all those emails of people that said, “Hey, you did a great job.” Or pick up the phone with a simple request, “Hey, in this time it’d be great if you jump on my Google profile, jump on my Facebook profile and leave a review.” 

The cool thing is that most of you have probably six months backlog of happy and satisfied customers that you never asked for a review from!

It is totally appropriate, expected, and welcomed. They will probably say like, “Oh my goodness. Yeah, I meant to leave that.” 

So you’ve got them in your phone and can text them or shoot them an email.

There are two objections we usually hear with from business owners regarding reviews. People say, “Well hey, first of all, my customers are too busy. Like, I want to ask for a review, but everyone says they’re too busy to leave the review, so they forget it.” 

Now nobody’s too busy. 

We’re stuck at home. So in a funny way, now’s a great time to actually ask your past customers to leave you a review, because they’ve got a little extra time on their hands.

The second reason people say, “I don’t want to burden my clients. I just don’t want to … I don’t have no reason to ask them.”

But now is a perfect time to ask.

This is a good time for transparency and just say, “Hey, it’s a crazy time. We’re all trying to make sure that our business is as solid as possible, and having a good reputation is really important to me. So to help my business, would you mind leaving a review?” Just be a little vulnerable with your audience, just tell them, just acknowledge the season. So you’ve got … it’s a good reason to ask.

TIP #3 ORGANIZE YOUR PHOTOS

Everybody wants before and after gallery project photos. You probably have them on your phone, your staff, your team members that are home right now probably have them on their phones. 

Whether it’s a Google drive, to pop them in a Google drive and share them with you, ask your team members. Load them on wetransfer.com there are free ways that you can get photos off your phone and get them into an email, and then send those to your web designer, add them to your Facebook galleries or your Instagrams, or wherever else. Pinterest. Tag those things. 

You’ve got a ton of photos and now’s the time to start building that reservoir.

TIP #4: STAY CONNECTED

This is a great time to just build relationships and build connections. Social distancing is only a physical thing. We don’t need to have social distance with relationships, so there are a lot of people that are just lonely, bored, and stressed out right now. 

So it’s a great time to call your old boss, call a former employee, or just someone you’ve lost contact with. Just to sure up that network and just say, “Hey, I’m curious how things are going.” 

I think it’s a time when people would be really hungry for a relationship, right now and it’s a great time to reconnect and just talk to people over the phone or email, just shoot them an email, if you’re more comfortable doing that. Just build some of those relationships.

People are rethinking networks too. Like, if you’re a painter, rather than just trying to get painting leads, maybe you start reaching out to some like home builders so they’ll give you leads. Or to  bankers, or mortgage people, or real estate, say, “Wait, when you sell, maybe you can develop a way that they would then recommend you, or at least make people aware of my services.”

We’re all going to end up being creative right now, and innovative, and come up with better solutions.

Take the immediate need to make short term revenue out of the equation, like the government’s basically done, has allowed us to work on so many secondary things that are super important and ultimately lead to your bottom line. 

Here at Sparrow, we’re a small business. We serve a lot of small businesses, but we want to give people practical, free, easy things that they can do. 

Above all, remember this will pass. 

Don’t fear, try and look on the bright side of things. Let’s pray for those who are vulnerable that are in sticky situations. 

I know there are no easy answers. Some of you are in situations where your business is shut down. They can no longer get carry-out at your restaurant, and we get that. We’re not here trying to say that we have all the solutions for that. You might need to be innovative and think of new ways that you can then maybe provide meals. Maybe you start a subscription program where people get a meal delivered every week, and you start to think through when this changes, how can we then be ready for sort of the new brand of small business that’s going to thrive. 

It’s going to be a good new season ahead.

It’s the first day of Spring. Things are changing.

New seasons are ahead.

Let’s remember that.

We’ll stay in touch as best we can. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

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