COVID-19: Planning for Your Business

  • COVID-19: Planning for Your Business

Like so many business owners across the country, we have been listening about and watching the effects that COVID-19 has had, especially within the business community.

As small business owners, we are all working through: concerns about lost revenue, ongoing expenses, and what the bottom-line may look like for businesses and organizations over the near term.

While we can’t tell you when things will return to “normal,” we’re confident that normalcy will return. To that end, we’d like to share some strategies and resources to help provide continuity for your business over the coming weeks and months.

COMMUNICATE CHANGE

  • Maintain your customer relationships by communicating effectively and efficiently with your customers and clients through proactive means via email and/or information directly on your website, social media sites and your Google My Business site.
  • In cases where events or store locations need to postpone operations, businesses should consider their long-term relationship with customers and know that a refund or reschedule could be a relief point for those who may experience stress or hardship during these times.
  • Update your business hours and description in your Google My Business profile. Aside from letting people know when they can stop by your business, you can also update your description to give more information regarding any additional precautions you are taking or if there are changes in services. These changes will update your business information on Google Search and Maps.
  • As you revise your business strategy to combat the effects of COVID-19 on business, revise your messaging on your website and offerings that provide future benefits to your customer base.

REVIEW YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY

  • If you have a brick and mortar store and have a website, direct customers to shop on your website. Send an email and offer FREE SHIPPING or a special discount. Be sure to update your inventory and product information for accuracy.
  • Update your business hours and description in your Google My Business profile. Aside from letting people know when they can stop by your business, you can also update your description to give more information regarding any additional precautions you are taking or if there are changes in services. These changes will update your business information on Google Search and Maps.
  • Keep your ads up to date.
  • Reallocate ad spend toward more effective marketing essential to your success.

CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT

  • Your organization may have insurance coverage that can help reduce the effect of the disruption (ask about coverage from “event insurance” or “business disruption insurance”). It’s certainly worth checking with your provider.

USE THIS TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE UPSWING

  • While things may be quiet over the coming weeks, this is a perfect time to start planning your next move.

EVENT INDUSTRIES

While your first reaction might be to cancel classes altogether, there are other options at your disposal that you may be overlooking.

#1: Don’t cancel, postpone

No one really wants a class to cancel. Not you, not the instructor, nor the students who were excited to attend. While they may be absent for the next few weeks during this crisis, their interest in class is unlikely to abate. If you can, consider postponing your classes instead of canceling, so that when things calm down, everyone can still get the class they were looking forward to. Postponing also allows you to keep more cash with your organization rather than refunding it all back to the student.

#2: Consider remote instruction

Follow the lead of many higher education institutions and consider temporarily shifting existing classes to remote instruction through video. Many classes and presentations can be live broadcast to attendees with affordable and accessible software solutions. From Vimeo or YouTube’s live streaming services to conferencing providers like Google Hangouts MeetZoom, and GoToMeeting.

For example, rather than cancel a show, one arts organization we follow is recording its spring youth drama performance and providing streaming video access to its ticket holders. A great, creative solution to the problem at hand!

If you must cancel

Here are some tips to help reduce the impact on your program.

#1 Use promo codes

Instead of refunds, offer customers credit for future classes to replace the class they’re unable to take.  As mentioned above, this helps your business keep cash on hand which is more important than ever when facing unprecedented circumstances.

#2: Convert to donation

Give your students the chance to donate the cost of their class to your program rather than take a refund.

#3: Increase your online class offerings

Consider adding classes to your program that are already designed for independent learning. For community education programs, ed2go offers a suite of excellent online classes you can resell at your program.

(via CourseStorm)

RESTAURANTS

#1: Offer curbside pick-up or delivery

#2: Encourage social distancing recommendation with limited reservations or seating.

If you do this, be sure to communicate the new course of business on your website and social sites and post a notice at your place of business.

#3: Communicate what precautions you’re taking

Update your website, send out an email or text message to your customer base, and post on your store.

TOURISM, TRAVEL and HOSPITALITY INDUSTRIES

If you are in the travel and tourism industry, things are changing by the day. The U.S. currently has banned travel to high-risk countries, and other nations have instituted similar bans on non-essential travel.

Still, interest in “cheap flights right now” has grown by 90% over the last 30 days, and “cheap flights due to coronavirus” has increased by 2,450%. (via WordStream)

Keep in mind that decisions made today don’t have to be final or absolute. It’s ok to make a decision that affects your immediate needs without trying to plan for the entire future. Use this opportunity to run an experiment and try something new. If it works, you may just end up with a new tool in your toolbelt!

If you have any additional sources, you’d like to recommend, please feel free to add in the comments below.

Have questions? We will help in any way we can. Feel free to post below. We have a fantastic community of individuals and businesses. Let’s support our Small and Medium Businesses and one another during this time.

While all this continues to unfold, we at Navarro Creative Group will be keeping our ears open for best practices and providing resources to help businesses make the best of a hard situation.

We genuinely care about your business and business community and will be sharing more information as we learn about them in the coming week.

Until then, even through social distancing, we will all be pulling together and adapting together.

Be well. ❤️

Wendy, Rick, and Saige – The Team at Navarro Creative Group

 

COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES…with more to come.

Small Business Administration:  Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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