The last few weeks, and especially the last few days have been downright scary. I’ve felt all of the emotions and feelings humanly possible. I’ve had good nights, sweaty nights, restful nights, and restless nights.
But, the one thing I keep repeating in my head to bring me back to a good headspace is: “There are things I cannot control, but what I can control is how I respond.”
This is a lesson my Dad taught me when I was struggling a few years ago with a difficult family member. It’s a mindset my Mom reminded me of again in 2018 as I dealt with a not-so-pleasant client experience. And, then once again, this morning via FaceTime, whilst talking through my fears of income, savings, and a retirement fund.
Plant seeds for future success
This week has made me realize more than ever that I have the right to be scared. I also I can be resilient, resourceful, and level-headed no matter what life throws at me. Continuing to keep my business afloat during Covid-19 is just one more challenge I am up for.
“It’s okay to be scared. Legitimizing fear is one of the keys to helping people avoid or overcome denial. And a crucial part of legitimizing fear is expecting people to be able to bear it, act sensibly in spite of it, and come out the other end of the adjustment reaction into the New Normal.”Peter Sandman
Right now is the time to start planting seeds for future success. That way, by the time we come out on the other side of this pandemic, we will be ready to take control and know we will thrive and prosper in the months and years ahead.
Maximize your online presence as more people shelter in place
As a business owner, one way to ensure success is to solidify and maximize your online presence. Millions of people will be sheltering in place.
The exponential growth and global spread of Covid-19 has “prompted cities and areas everywhere to take action, ordering quarantines and lockdowns in an effort to keep people indoors and curb the spread of the coronavirus.” As a result, the way consumers engage with your business will shift for the forseeable future –– much of that shift will take place online.
Here’s a look at four ideas to help manage your online presence as more people stay connected online during the Coronavirus outbreak, a global health emergency.
1. Social media: Get creative with Instagram stories
At this stage, a good majority of your customers and general audience are cooped up at home (or will be soon). Without a doubt, pretty much everyone is increasing their social media screentime.
Full transparency, my screen time was up by 10% just in this past weekend! While browsing through Instagram Stories isn’t necessarily the same as visiting your online or brick and mortar store, Stories still provide a great opportunity for you to connect.
From polls to Q and As and online flash sales, you can engage people while they shelter in place. Stories are ideal because they don’t overwhelm followers the way frequent posts to your feed will overtime. They allow you to post anything you want without disrupting your main feed. Now is a great time to experiment and have some fun!
2. Collaboration: Uplift businesses near you in solidarity
Unless you own a business that produces artisan hand sanitizer, like many small businesses, you are struggling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
While this is stressful, it simultaneously opens up space for collaboration and solidarity among other small business owners. For example, I’ve been reaching out to other businesses in my community and talking through their immediate needs and goals.
I’ve made plans to cross-promote with other local busineses on social media and I am already seeing others follow my lead. This simple action has connected and re-connected me with fellow business owners. It reminds me that we are all in this together!
3. Email Marketing: Communicate with hope and compassion
It’s a good idea to send out a reassuring, compassionate email to your mailing list. Our inboxes have all been inundated with emails about COVID-19 cancellations and concerns from tons of companies and organizations. I choose to set myself apart from the rest, by sending out supportive and uplifting email messages.
If needed, by all means, send out an email with comprehensive information about your plan of action, but be human, be candid, and if you’re able, consider using a tone of tasteful, on-brand humor.
Reassure customers that you’re not going anywhere and that you will find creative solutions to move forward in the midst of chaos.
4. Communication: Don’t leave your audience and customers hanging.
Carefully consider your communications amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Your customer base will remember how you respond during this unprecedented time in history.
This probably goes without saying, but when a customer reaches out, reply promptly and comprehensively. Provide compassionate, informative answers to their questions. At the end of the day, even if your products or services change in response to this global health emergency, you want your audience to know you’re not going anywhere and that you’re stable enough to weather the storm. The relationships with your clients and customers are now more important than ever.
Ren Lenhof is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based serial entrepreneur, owner of Studio 29 Photography and the House Fur lifestyle blog. She takes photos that make people ‘feel something.’ Her blog shows readers the best ways to live with the happiest houseplants and spoil their ‘good’ dog. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Huff Post, Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, and more.
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