COVID-19 has changed the way our lives have been led. But this may be the opportunity you didn’t know you were waiting for to take your business places you never knew you wanted to go.

1. Appreciate Your Customers Like Never Before

One of my favorite places is a coffee shop. The comfortable chairs, homemade chai tea, and the chocolate croissants initially brought me to the place (I admit the chocolate croissants brought me back at least once).

But what keeps me is the customer service – I get a free coffee when I vote, another on my birthday. I have a voucher card for free drinks, and though (thankfully) I don’t go in enough for them to have my order memorized, I am treated with respect and humor at every visit.

And during a crisis, your customer service is more important than ever.

This is a time when people are on edge because, as a species, we inherently are uncomfortable with not knowing the future. We turn to things and places which are a comfort to us. This is why everyone is baking again.

Step up your interactions with your customers. Check in with your staff and review your policies so customers feel like your business is genuinely looking out for their health and safety.

This is the perfect time to build brand loyalty by leading with empathy and compassion in your customer interactions.

2. Think Like A Guerilla

No, not the kind in the jungle (those are gorillas). We mean take advantage of the size of your business.

If you have 2 people, 10 people, or 50 people, you can pull everyone into a room and talk through changes much easier than a company with 1k, 10k, or 100k employees can. Basically, organizations who can turn quickly and adjust to rapidly changing environments will be more likely to thrive in the near future.

Be willing to toss out the “usual” for the “unusual.”

In the Kansas City area, where we reside, quite a few restaurants have offered “grocery shopping” to their customers. They assemble a package of produce – which would normally go bad – and allow users to supplement their necessities.

This worked fantastically because the commercial supply chain is different than the consumer supply chain. People were able to get meat, veggies, and the most coveted of all – toilet paper!

From marketing to business operations to service offerings, how does your organization need to quickly evolve to thrive in the reality of post-COVID-19?

3. Create Irresistible Offers and Email (or Text) Them to Your Existing Customer Base

As you begin to reopen your business, think of what your customers may need / want, and create irresistible offers around those products or services.

Are you a hairstylist? Offer later hours to allow your customers who work the day shift to get in. Or if you’re a coffee shop (who else has been dying?!) do a promo where the first 25 people on opening day get a free coffee later on.

Consumers are anxious to get out of the house and return to their favorite businesses. Let them know that you’re open, how you will care for their safety, and provide irresistible offers they cannot pass up!

4. Run Paid Advertising on Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn

Want to know the fastest and most affordable way to get people to know you’re open?

Paid advertising on Google, Facebook, and / or LinkedIn. In fact, social media can be a perfect way to build brand awareness and be discovered by new customers.

If you are already running ads on Google, they will soon be offering grants to existing Ads users.

5. Look for New Opportunities

In every crisis opportunities arise, so be on the lookout for those opportunities.

You might be able to provide a new service which may not have previously made sense. I know of a coffee shop who moved crepe creation from their dine in establishment to their drive thru only and OUTSOLD their highest sales number!

Or find amazing talent in the market – another company let go of their video production company, only to find out they had an employee who made amazing videos already on their payroll!

You might find potential acquisition opportunities or new partnerships which allow you to drive your business forward while helping another business grow.

6. Believe in the Power of Hope

In times of crisis, you can take two paths: the path of scarcity or the path of hope.

The path of scarcity focuses inward and on protection. A scarcity mindset guards resources as much as possible believing they will be fine if they are just able to survive.

Conversely, the path of hope resists the urge to simply survive and focuses instead on thriving. This mindset seeks to be generous, to be empathetic, and to believe there is a future and they will be a part of it.

In times of crisis, customers seek stability and to be assured their routine, and your business, will be there to serve them.

7. Collaborate & Partner

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington

As businesses grow, the environment tends to become a silo. But silos don’t allow for growth in any direction, except vertically.

Now is the time to break out of the silo and think of how to connect with and assist others. One way is to share your information / knowledge freely.

By sharing freely, you can build a community of people who support each other, which could lead to far more opportunities than by working alone.

This can also lead to an opportunity to identify areas potential partners could come in and bolster a segment of your business you didn’t realize you could build upon. Or to seek out those partners who could use your offerings to help them fulfill their promises or scale their business.

8. Express Your Brand

As a service-oriented company, we spend 95% of the work hours focused on our clients.

We want their businesses to excel and succeed, and I’m sure you are the same. The focus is on the service, and thinking about your business comes in 2nd, or 3rd, or sometimes a distant 28th.

This is the time to work ON your business, not just IN the business.

Work through those processes (website, logo, letterhead, whatever) which have been on your mind, but keep getting pushed to the side because another client email came in.

And, with people using Zoom or Teams for all their meetings, perhaps a branded background is one of the tactics to keep your name front and center.

9. Prepare for the Future

Many of us have learned critical business lessons as a result of this pandemic, and, in some cases, they were more epiphanies than lessons.

Whether you are still learning, or thinking through the epiphany, this is the time to strengthen your business by implementing the lessons you’ve learned and grow into the future.

10. Innovate & Lead

Maybe this is the time to change the essence of your industry?

Think through what your customers need considering how society has changed. Are there new products or services not on the market, but the consumers are there waiting for the solution?

What can you bring to the market before the competition but with quality, integrity, and excellence?

Overwhelmed with the possibilities? That’s understandable. There are a multitude of opportunities now available if you know where to look. We’re here if you need us, but more than that, we are rooting for you.

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