Since the beginning of March, we’ve been helping our clients plan for when the Coronavirus pandemic started shutting down the East Coast. We’ve worked with small businesses to get websites and social media statements in a timely and transparent matter, as well as with restaurants to brace for the impact and mitigate it with new options for takeout and delivery. Now, with stay-at-home orders extended nationally and businesses who once thought to weather COVID-19 starting to close down, companies need to plan not just for tomorrow but for what happens after. And how things will change for the longer-term and indefinitely.
Understanding the New Normal
We see two kinds of risky behavior for businesses right now: those who can’t look past the next few days or weeks, and those who plan to resume services normally after current stay-at-home orders end. While failing to plan is planning to fail, so is expecting that after COVID-19, things will return to the “way they were.” It’s essential to come to understand some hard facts:
- We’re entering an economic recession. Regardless of how many personal checks and bailouts occur, the economy has taken a beating. Unemployment is reaching levels not found outside the Great Depression. People are conservative with their spending. It’s going to hurt most businesses.
- Not all businesses will see the same impact. Just like we see now, some businesses are doing well, while others are reduced or closed. Hospitality, event-based, and other similar companies may need to seek out new marketing, products, and services with new risk aversion.
- COVID–19 will have lasting effects. As we’ve seen in other countries with respiratory pandemics in the past, things will change in the US. Some will be on a federal or state level with new laws; some will be buying behavior; some will be cultural: all will affect your business in some capacity.
The Conversation to Have with Your Team and Partners
This is why it’s crucial to start having the conversation now about the challenges and changes you’ll need to make – from top-level strategy to the finer points of procedure – to keep your company competitive in both your industry and location. We’ve had three major themes we’ve touched on with all our clients.
Change the Way You Contact Clients
Between social distancing and stay-at-home orders, you need to find new ways to contact and stay in touch with clients – and give them ways of using your services and supporting you from afar. This can be video chats to replace in-person meetings, and new online services and apps to let customers support and enjoy your services from afar.
Be Clear in Your Communication
As we’ve said in past blogs about COVID-19, the most significant risk to your business is uncertainty. Are you still open? What are your new services? What are you doing to protect customers? Clear communication on both what you’re doing (both internally with staff and externally with clients) and the small victories along the way are something to share on social media, your website, emails, and potential PR opportunities.
Adapt Your Business to the Changing Landscape
A larger part of your business management strategy is to take a hard look at what parts of your business are vulnerable and how to adjust them. This might mean advertising on platforms like Facebook or Google Ads. It might mean leaning into eCommerce on your website. Have this discussion now with your staff and partners so you can get everything in place as soon as possible.
You need to start talking about this now, and you need to know that things won’t ultimately return to the way things were. We’ve got additional COVID-19 small business resources and tools for working from home for those who need them. Beyond marketing, Vision Advertising provides business consulting with clients of all sizes, looking at how marketing can help and general business strategy. Contact us today to get started.