As of this writing, we have not come out of the COVID-19 crisis yet. In this article, we’ve collected the best COVID-19 ideas for your small business.
There isn’t a single industry that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19. From music streaming services to retailers to restaurants, everyone has had to find a way to adapt to the current crisis. Some businesses, however, have managed to pivot their focuses and operations to adapt during the pandemic.
Businesses have to be ready to adapt to sudden economic changes and now is no different. By prioritizing what the consumer needs in a time of crisis, many companies are not only adapting, but finding new development opportunities.
There are some basic steps to consider to survive during the pandemic, including how you communicate with your customer base. Consider how accessible you have made information regarding the necessary use of masks and social distancing practices in your location. You also need to consider how you talk about these changes with your customers, keeping your tone hopeful and seeing the situation as an opportunity to provide them with new services.
Here are 10 more COVID-19 ideas that businesses have made that are helping them adapt.
1. Create a Crisis Marketing Strategy
Crisis plans aren’t just for large enterprise businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted small businesses that weren’t prepared for such a shocking shift in demand.
Shift your and your customers’ mindset from “having to change” to “having the opportunity to try something new.”
Tips to Try
- Provide Coronavirus-specific messaging, and keeping your clients up to date with your daily status, you can maintain your connection.
- Update your Google listings, with your most current hours
- Create a “Crisis Plan” that addresses a variety of “failure modes” such as internet going down, shutdowns, new sales channels. etc.
2. Utilize Your Space
Amazon has shifted the use of many of its Los Angeles and New York stores to become “dark spaces” or fulfillment centers. Customers are still able to get the groceries that they are used to, from a company that they trust, without having to enter a store or find other options.
Tips to Try
- Perhaps you can open-up your spaces to help out in the community. Think of this as a sort of PR and a way to get your name out while times are tough.
- If you’ve been seeing clients face-to-face, you might want to create a “Zoom-ready room”
- Take this as an opportunity to re-design your work-space to keep both workers and customers safe.
3. Adapt to New Demand
Originally Spotify wasn’t concerned about needing to change its business model, but it quickly became evident that consumers were listening differently during the pandemic. Spotify noticed that Podcast consumption doubled in the first quarter. So, one of their COVID-19 ideas was to push listeners to an offer that included increased exclusive podcasts with celebrities from Michelle Obama to Joe Rogan, rather than relying on the free access to music as they had before.
Tips to Try
- If you aren’t sure how demand has changed, reach out to customers and simply ask how your business can help them.
- Look at using your products or services to create new product or service bundles to meet new customer requirements.
- Offer a free trial. CreditSafe is doing something no credit reporting company has done in offering a free trial. They launched this early in the pandemic and while they took a hit at the launch of this campaign, but since then, new leads have been pouring in.
4. Virtualize Your Live Events
From large scale events to fundraisers, individual performances, and any marketing or fundraising initiative that centered around live events, the organizers for these events have had to adapt quickly to gathering size restrictions. One of the most valuable changes that companies have been making is creating virtual events to replace live ones.
- Put yourself out there by using live streaming services from Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, YouTube and others.
- Webinars are back! Use webinars as content marketing and educate your audience on a topic. Or, use webinars as a lead generation tool. You don’t need hundreds of attendees to make a webinar successful.
5. Honor Frontline Workers
Using your platform and voice to bring attention to the frontline workers who are caring for patients and attempting to prevent the virus’s spread has been a crucial decision for many businesses.
Mattel has taken this idea and run with it, producing a line of coronavirus hero action figures.
- Create specialized services and products that focus on bringing attention to nurses and doctors, you can create a new point of engagement while establishing a position of support.
6. Address New In-Home Concerns
With both employees and students working from home, many companies are pivoting their focus from general home-care to a more specific set of needs.
Many interior design and furniture companies have begun focusing on the needs of families who are newly homeschooling their children, retaining their customer base, and making themselves a relevant resource.
- Are your customers using your products or services in a different way than they used to? Feature those new uses with your community.
7. Offer Solutions to Remote Workers
The hospitality and tourism industry has been hit hard as vacations and casual travel are canceled or postponed. In a bid to support the sudden need for remote work, Red Roof Inn has started offering day rates for people who need access to the internet and quiet, professional surroundings. Red Roof COVID-19 idea is to offer much-needed support to a workforce that is having to adapt quickly to new circumstances.
- Explore remote working platforms such as Zoho Remotely
8. Partner with Other Services
In some cases, developing new partnerships can be the answer to your COVID business concerns. Retailers like Target are seeing a huge surge in the use of their apps and ordering services.
Many are now partnering with delivery companies to provide a mutually productive relationship, and to help them fulfill the sudden rise in online ordering. Target recently set a record with over 53,000 downloads of their app in a single day, and their partnership with Shipt, is helping to provide fast, smooth service to clients while improving the numbers of both companies.
- You don’t have to be as big as Target to partner. You can partner with local businesses in your town to sell to your community
9. Offer Basic Necessities
Taking a look at not only what products you have available, but what basic needs can be offered has been an important shift for the restaurant and fast-food industry. As eat-in restaurants have suffered from not being able to provide in-person dining, they have begun to offer groceries alongside their take out options. Subway, California Pizza Kitchen, and Panera Bread are just a few of the chains that have implemented this tactic and are seeing great success.
10. Make Your Services More Accessible
With the sudden spike in unemployment, even the most dedicated consumer may not have the same financial resources available to them anymore. CVS has addressed their responsibility of providing testing while making it accessible by providing free testing and telemedicine services. Reduced rates for certain groups of clients or providing more opportunities for price deals can help retain your customer base while supporting their needs.
As businesses across every sector find ways to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, they are having to find new and inventive ways to adapt. This is a difficult time to retain even the most dedicated clients, but companies that can be flexible and adaptable are not only surviving but building new brand loyalty and accessibility into their processes and campaigns.
Adapt What Big Brands Are Doing To Your Strengths
I gave a lot of big brand examples in this article. One reason I did this was to show you what was already working. Just think — these brands have invested millions of dollars in research to get to these strategies.
Now that you know what works, how can you adapt what these big brands are doing to your small business. Remember, they can’t make changes as quickly as you can — and they don’t have the relationships with the community that you have. So use your strengths and pair them up with these big brand ideas to get past the COVID crisis.