By Front & Center Founder, Mary Beth Henderson
Friends and fellow business owners, we find ourselves in interesting times.
Yesterday the president declared a state of national emergency in response to COVID-19. People began Googling “social distancing”with gusto, found out which meetings could be emails, and renewed their appreciation for toilet paper.
I understand the fear and anxiety surrounding the unknown ahead as critical revenue-generating events are coming off calendars, the stock market is doing a dizzying swing dance, and we are all trying to keep our livelihoods afloat, while protecting ourselves, our teams and our community.
After much thought and three cups of coffee, here are six concepts worth your consideration from a marketing and public relations perspective along with a few gold stars on small businesses getting it right.
When in doubt, over communicate
Through social media, blogs, emails or carrier pigeon, let your customers know what you are doing as a business to respond. Whether it’s enhanced cleaning, scaling back hours or encouraging online engagement, share the good word on your plan clearly and concisely.
Gold star goes to Rhapsody CrossFit for their response - fast, informative, and positive.
Tell your clients how to support you
It takes a village, fam, and this is no exception. From reminding people to practice hygiene essentials onsite or giving them options for how to support your business - tell your customers what you want them to do.
People are looking for ways to help the small businesses they love ride out this storm, so don’t be shy with recommendations and opportunities to do so.
Gold star goes out to Frothy Beard Brewing Company for offering 20% off to-go beer and reminding customers they take pick-up food orders.
Distancing does not mean disconnecting
You can practically smell someone through a screen these days, so embrace the technology of 2020 and practice virtual meetings or events. Whether it’s FaceTime, Marco Polo, Stories, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Loom, stay connected and engaged.
Did you have an event planned for March? Now may be a good time to stretch your social media skills or push your ecommerce offerings. Gold star goes out to Hatch Tribe for taking their popular Speed Dating event and making it virtual.
Monitor media consumption
This is a self-care suggestion. Yes, stay informed, but taking the constant media onslaught is no good for the sanity or soul. Choose one or two (carefully vetted…) outlets to monitor and designate times to check in.
Work on your business instead of in it
You know how we entrepreneurs always talk about those grand plans we just don’t have the time to execute? Well, we may get that free time whether we want it or not, so let’s make lemonade out of lemons, people.
Put pen to paper on that big idea or flush out that new service/product you’ve had in the back of your big, beautiful brain. In 1665 the University of Cambridge temporarily closed due to plague - Isaac Newton had to work from home and used this time to develop calculus and the theory of gravity.
I believe in you!
Do what you do best
Y’all. We are entrepreneurs. It is intrinsically ingrained in us to think outside the box, find opportunity and provide novel solutions to complex problems. Now is your time to shine.
Gold star goes out to Zephrine, Founder and CEO of Hampden Farms who thought to offer virtual classes and workshops for kids in response to Denver, CO closing schools for three-weeks.
Ask yourself what you can do right now to help. We will get beyond this, and your community will remember what you did to show up, so show up well.
<insert battle cry here>
In that vein, Front & Center will offer free 30-min virtual consultations in March - if you want to talk through next steps and how you can answer anxiety with positive action, let’s connect.