Small Business Tips to Survive Coronavirus Virus

The pandemic is here. Don’t panic.

I am not here to add to the fear mongering of the pandemic. I’m here to share a little of what I’ve endured as smb owner and provide Small Business Tips to Survive Coronavirus Virus.

Transcript below the video.

The pandemic is here. Don’t panic.

I am not here to add to the fear mongering of the pandemic. I’m here to share a little of what I’ve endured as smb owner and provide Small Business Tips to Survive Coronavirus Virus.

Many small business owners are concerned about the impact this virus is having on their business. I get it. Many smb owners are in the exact same position as you. Some feel that this virus is overblown while others feel the end is near. No matter where you lay on the concern scale, the pandemic has arrived and now we’re face with a new normal.

Hi! I’m Lisa Stewart. Founder of BYO Small Business. If you want to learn the strategies and tactics on how to treat your customers in a delightful way so they never forget how you made them feel, then start by subscribing and clicking the bell, so you don’t miss anything.

Take a deep breath and think of this as an opportunity to overcome an obstacle. I’ve been thru many obstacles in my life. Recessions as soon as I graduated to the 2008 fall out. During that time, I fell into a deep depression for a year. I had to figure my way out of the mania to make sense of it all.

The key is to remain flexible like bamboo.

As a resident of Washington, we’re trying to stave off a viral epidemic and mitigate panic. Coronavirus is unfolding across the world and Seattle is ground zero. Our Gov Inslee has discouraged large group gathering and that roughly translates groups that net over 250 people.

Big companies are requesting employees work from home -and many folks live in neighboring bedroom communities, leaving downtown empty. Downtown Seattle small business owners are already suffering due to the lack of mid-day foot traffic. Transportation hubs like the lite rail are experiencing half the daily commuters; buses are half empty.

Many major public events have been postponed or cancelled -especially in the Seattle area. Many cities are ‘at the ready’ to start ordering involuntary isolation and quarantines.

I want to share my pragmatic tips with you so that you can turn your panic into preparation for the new normal. when times get tough, I get creative -and you can too.

Right now, the hardest-hit markets are the offline brick and mortars like eateries, personal services, and self-services -in that order.

Let me explain.

Some of the most significant declines include eateries and anything that includes touching. Restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops are ringing in less than half the sales from an average, typical day.

Personal Services
Other decreased sales are bookings that include massages, manicures, hair and makeup.

Self Services
Gyms and yoga studios are experiencing a decrease in foot traffic due to social distancing protocols.
Once things stabilize, we’ll create a new normal, much like Hong Kong has over the past few months. Fingers crossed that we create a vaccine.

But until then how do small businesses like these try to survive this kind of storm?

As a small business owner myself who owned a brick and mortar for a few years and has been thru the shit, I have a few suggestions.
Don’t let anxiety get the better of you. Take a deep breath and look at the options that you already have at your disposal.

First, I prep for the worst and hope for the best. What does this mean? 

This doesn’t mean that I run out and hoard supplies. This means I’m grateful for what I have and resist the urge to give into fear and turn greedy. I know that stores and shops will resupply within a few days.

The rainy days I’ve had throughout my life I’ve used to uplevel my skills and invest in learning new strategies to weather this kind of storm. Take the opportunity to learn how to use tools found in your home -like technology or the garage to become more self-sufficient. I also ground myself with deep breathing and taking things in stride.

What tools have you always wanted to learn and how can they contribute to the success of your business?

Adopt and Adapt
We’ve just added the pain of adding a global ‘social distancing and no-touch policy’ -how do you adapt? How could you continue commerce? Ask your customers how they like to virtually shop. This will give you insight as to how to reach them.

Now add the complexity of a virus. How could you continue commerce?
If you’re in health and wellness, you can certainly help bring true facts to light and become an authority in your space. Anything that surrounds personal and intimate interactions.

For instance:

  • If you’re a maker and produce bath and body soaps, this is a great time to capitalize on the virus trend. Talk about how washing is smart and using your products makes it a much more pleasant experience.
  • If you’re a housekeeper, does it make sense to add carpet cleaning and other interior specialty cleaning services? For the elderly? For babies or pets?
  • If you’re a carpet cleaning service, consider adding power washing services for more than just homes. Oily driveways for instance. Big vehicles like boats and semi-trucks and tractors to name a few.

Try, Tack, & Tweak
Here’s an exercise: Use the real-life examples Like the astronauts in Apollo 13 when they were trying to return home. What did they do? They reviewed their assets and ideated several attempts to improvise a solution to repair life support systems. While this seems a bit extreme, we can use this as inspiration to remain cool and review our assets.

What do you have in your hand right now? Your phone, right? Our phones have the same power and capability of sending humankind to the moon 30 years ago. Wield it to your advantage!

Consider adding more photos to your marketing mix.

Your photos will help give your customer a sense of scale and utility. Add models to showcase how a product is used in an environment where it makes sense to your customer. Let it be human models that show clothing and accessories or staged areas that show your 3D products.

  • As the gift shop owner, consider still photos with decorating ideas for apartment dwellers. Feature the products you have in store.
  • As a restaurant chef, photograph your finished meal and consider creating online recipes.

Consider adding videos to your marketing mix.

You can do this with your phone or laptop. They don’t have to be perfect. Perfect didn’t bring the men home from space. But it did achieve the outcome they desired.

Think Virtual
Consider creating Live Videos through one of the various platforms like FB, YouTube, Stitch. This would enable you to interact with your customers and answer questions real-time.

  • As a chef of a restaurant, consider making behind-the-scenes lunch prep to get customers salivating. And then as a CTA, remind them that your restaurant is serving boxed lunch for pickup or delivery
  • Or consider creating online cooking courses to enable customers to make their meals like you do. And then as a CTA, remind them that your restaurant is serving dinner.

Service-Based Businesses
If you’re a service-based business, consider adding self-services or online courses. Self-service is the practice of serving oneself. Initially developed for self-service gas stations and ATMs, you could be creative and design a similar practice for your business.

  • If you’re a masseuse, consider creating video courses to show individuals how to remedy a charlie horse or how couples can work together to alleviate muscle tightness. And then as a CTA, discuss your new programs once social distancing is alleviated.
  • If you’re a flower shop, perhaps you could create videos showing people how to arrange flowers, identify flowers and their meanings, use in making essential oils. And then as a CTA, discuss your new delivery service.
  • If you have a yoga studio and you see a decrease in member shows, consider creating online videos for your customers. Start a YouTube channel and create private videos for your current members.

You could add a few public videos and show the world at large how you work with customers. Who knows, you could increase your business.

Anyone of these could also augment their services with products. Consider starting an Amazon shop filled with drop ship or affiliate products that can help your customers in their home.

Consider productizing any of your services.

Take your existing consulting services and create packages. This alleviates clients fear of hourly rates stacking up and you definitively know the project end date.

TIP: Keep your target market in mind when developing products —and be sure to test them before marketing.

As a product-based business, consider adding special services.

  • If you’re a maker of any kind, what kinds of cleaning and repair services could you offer?
  • If you’re a gift shop, consider decorating idea workshops for sizing down apartment dwellers. Feature the products you have in store.
  • If you’re a restaurant chef, consider creating boxed lunches or classes.

TIP: Be sure to choose services that relate to the primary services/products you provide. Selling unrelated products doesn’t work. Like selling hotdogs and curtains together – doesn’t make sense.

Consider Specialized Delivery
For those who don’t want to venture out, can you help eliminate the friction of public-facing events? Perhaps as

  • A personal shopper?
  • Errand runs?
  • Livery service?
  • Pet food and supplies delivery for the elderly

There’s a ton of opportunity to provide services to the elderly. What do you love doing that could easily match up?

What I’m trying to say is that there’s opportunity to adjust and thrive online in addition to what you’re already offering. I’m not trying to be morbid, just practical.

A practical perspective example is the frozen food process patented by Clarence Birdseye during the great depression. And people also need entertainment during these dark times. So Richard M. Hollingshead builds a prototype drive-in movie theater in his driveway.

So, take a deep breath and consider how you can convert your panic into possibility.

Flex Your Imagination
If you’re a brick and mortar, imagine that you no longer have a permanent location and you still need to sell your products. As painful as it is, flexing your imagination is a lot less painful then actually having no street address. So give it a stretch and imagine that you no longer have a place for customers to walk into.

How could you take advantage of already existing options?

Product Based Business
If you’re a PBD and you still need to limit your interaction, rethink actual IRL selling space. Consider borrowing space.

  • Hold a monthly meetup at a local coffee shop and sell your products
  • Host a trunk show at a local shop
  • Create a temporary partnership with a complementary store where you could host a popup insider their location
  • Rent a shelf from a local shop
  • Work/Live places are becoming popular in Seattle. Consider converting a front room, backroom, or garage of your home into a formal meeting place. You don’t have to provide access 24/7, you could limit the times customers swing by, say once a month or on Saturdays only.

Get inspiration from the 1800’s travelling salesman: Adopt the original mobile platform.

  • Refurbish a bus or an airstream and travel with your products
  • Refurbish a wagon and take it to the streets
  • Build an enclosed trailer that locks with your goods inside.

Service-Based Business

  • If you’re a decorator, can you add new home prepping services?
  • If you’re a professional organizer, can you niche to help downsizing for boomers?
  • If you’re a bookkeeper, can you create an online course for young adults to learn financial freedom?

Can you see how these might spark an opportunity to start. And you need to start somewhere. It’ll take creativity and ingenuity to make them for your customers.

The biggest piece of advice is to diversify your services to weather any storm. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information -I get it. Eliminate the crazy so that you can stay focused on up-leveling your skillset for the next level of new normal.

Also, talk to your customers to learn where they are struggling because I’m sure they do want to support you. Perhaps there’s a hidden obstacle? Find out what that is and see if this is true for many of your customers? Is it becoming a trend? How do you remove that obstacle to let the cash start freely flowing again?

If you use any of these ideas, let me know in the comments. I want to know if it worked for you, how it worked for you and if if you had to tweak it.

If you enjoyed this video and you got a lot out of it, be sure to give it a thumbs up. If it was helpful for you, share it with someone who needs to see it.

Meanwhile, be sure to like, subscribe, and mash that little bell to get notified when I drop a new video.

I’d like to extend a personal invitation
I’m building a community for small business owners who need the help from the wisdom of the group. If you were looking to level up your business strategy and tactics to build a Dream business design remarkable customer experience and monetize, consider joining us. You’ll find the link below.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments-I’m so grateful that you’re here. If there is a topic you’d like to see me deconstruct, please let us know in the comments below. If I create a topic based on your feedback, I’ll feature your comment in that video.

Until next time, keep building!

Cheers, Lisa

Now I’ve got to go rescue my counters from two naughty kittens!


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Lisa Stewart

I help STEAM entrepreneurs build products that sell from their workbench. It’s my goal to transform them into confident makers and sell without monologuing like a supervillain. I do this using my ARC Effect via online courses, training, and private coaching.

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