Right now, we're all living in a stressful, unpredictable time...and it's putting small business owners (like you!) in a tough position.
Consumers are being encouraged to stay home to protect themselves and the public. So, instead of going out to dinner, hitting the gym, or window-shopping, people are staying in. Whether you own a brewery, a barre studio, or a baby boutique, this is a challenging time to be a small business owner.
Here, we're highlighting seven things you can do right now...to help yourself, your customers, and other small business owners.
- Encourage customers to buy gift cards now (and use them later)
- Offer curbside pickup
- Offer contact-free delivery
- Stream virtual classes
- Clearly communicate how you're cleaning
- Give back (if you're able to)
- Support other small business owners
1. Encourage customers to buy gift cards now (and use them later).
Customers can purchase gift cards from your business now, so you'll have some cash flow (even if you can't fill tables or book appointments). And when the world gets back to normal, you'll have customers excited to come back in.
This approach works for so many industries: restaurants, salons and spas, fitness studios, boutiques, bakeries...you get the idea. Make sure customers know that they can purchase gift certificates online and over the phone so they can support you and keep a healthy distance.
2. Offer curbside pickup.
Beyond food and drink, this pickup technique works for all kinds of small businesses. Maybe a customer put a dress on hold at your boutique a week ago, and is now hesitant to come in. Or you have a bouquet of flowers ready for a customer's birthday, but they're diligently practicing social distancing. An easy solution? Offer drive-up pickup for prepaid orders, and bring their purchase right to them.
3. Or, offer contact-free delivery.
Whether you're delivering a box of doughnuts or a case of wine, let customers know that they can have their order left outside their door...no contact needed. If you already offer delivery services, get customers excited by reducing delivery fees or expanding your service area.
4. Offer online versions of classes.
Right now, many schools are turning in-person lectures into online courses - and this is an approach small business owners can take, too. Whether you teach yoga or kickboxing, culinary arts or graphic design, use this opportunity to get virtual classes up and running on your website. Or, maximize social platforms like IGTV and Facebook Live to stream live classes.
5. Clearly communicate how you're cleaning.
Ease customers' worry by sharing what you're doing to stop the spread of germs. Beyond frequent cleaning and sanitization, we love easy solutions like single-use menus and touchless transactions.
6. If you're able to, give back.
More than ever, it's time to stand with your community. We've been inspired by restaurants offering discounted meals to other service industry folks and free meals to children who depend on school lunch.
7. Support each other.
Supporting other local businesses and makers doesn't have to take place IRL. Use social networks or online communities (like Slack) to stay in touch with other businesses.