Oh what a change a month can make. Like everyone in the world, I have been watching the pandemic unfold with horror and anxiety. Besides worrying about my elderly parents and the health of my own little family, like most, I have had other unexpected challenges to contend with. We are sheltering in place, my daughter is now being homeschooled, and my small business has almost completely tanked. On top of all this, my husband is a healthcare worker and will likely be on the front lines of the pandemic in the very near future. Worries and strife abound. With today’s post, I do not mean to diminish any of the real world safety and health issues we are all dealing with. Instead, I want to place a spotlight on the hurdles small businesses face during a pandemic and offer up some concrete solutions to tackling them. That is why I am happy to partner with GoDaddy to share my tips and tricks in their forum, Open We Stand, on how all of the entrepreneurs can survive during this trying period.
At the beginning of 2020, I took my small business into the next phase of growth. I had been working as a commercial food and drink photographer for many years, but now I was expanding to take on brand’s overall social media management. In January, I upgraded my website to add new services and organize resources in preparation. In February, I started networking and cold-calling in the hopes of customer conversion. And at the beginning of March, I started signing on new clients. And then we all know what happened by mid-March. The world was upended and everything faded away. My new clients, understandably so, canceled their services. From a business standpoint, I was gutted and worried about helping to provide for my family. And that’s where I currently stand.
So it was a bit of a relief when I was contacted by GoDaddy a few days ago. Not only did GoDaddy want to help support a small business, like mine, by partnering up for this post, they also wanted to offer me resources to help get me through this trying time. GoDaddy’s #OpenWeStand microsite offers connection, inspiration, and resources to help entrepreneurs during COVID-19. I immediately got to studying every corner of the site and digesting the information. With the help of GoDaddy, here are some actions I am taking right now to adapt my business during the pandemic…
Offering Unique Promotions
One of my favorite features on the GoDaddy Open We Stand site is their How-To tutorials. Through one of the videos, I came up with a great idea to offer my past clients gift cards for future services at a discounted rate. They can purchase the gift card now at a steep discount and then hold onto it to use when their own business picks back up. The tutorial also gave me the idea to offer amended service packages where I throw in my photography services for free. This takes the burden off content production for advertising, as all of the restaurant industry moves towards an almost exclusive online ordering and social media model. Local restaurants have enough on their plates, so I’ll take care of the images and posting online.
Lead Generation by Offering Free Services
On the Open We Stand Entrepreneur Digital Forum, I read some great discussions about unique ways to gain new customers during crisis. One way to keep your business going was to give back. So I jumped into action by immediately supporting other struggling local businesses and offering my services for free. With my food content creation and social media strategy business in mind, I am visiting local family-owned restaurants and purchasing their items. Then, I am creating content using the food and offering the businesses the images for free for their own advertising purposes. I am also conducting free social media audit and strategy consultations to help the restaurants regroup to online ordering and delivery-only options. Not only am I giving back by shopping local and offering free services, I am also gathering some customer leads and introductions for the long-term.
Connecting with an Entrepreneurial Community
The thing that has helped my sanity the most when dealing with my tanking small business, has been staying connected to other entrepreneurs. In the Open We Stand Community Forum, there is a place for small business owners to connect, share ideas, and support one another. People are trading services to help each other get by, teaming up to save businesses in creative ways, and simply offering an empathetic ear in this time of uncertainty. Participating in the community not only makes me feel less alone in the struggle, it gives me hope that we will all rise above it together.
So, if your small business is currently struggling, visit GoDaddy’s #OpenWeStand microsite for resources, inspiration & connection to other entrepreneurs during COVID-19. Please, protect yourself by protecting our healthcare workers… stay home and practice physical distancing. And support small businesses however you can. If we stick together and help one another, we will get through this. Wishing all of you health and safety!