Small Business Survival Strategies in the Days of COVID-19

Posted by melissa kandel on March 24, 2020 in small business | No Comments

You’re a small business shifting strategies. Doubling down on free shipping. Reinvigorating your subscription service. Hosting virtual open houses, Instagram live barre classes. Every day adjusting, iterating and making this work.

Or maybe you’re not quite there yet. If you’re a small business and aren’t sure how to pivot, here are two types of communications resonating now:

Free or at-cost services. One of our clients just offered at-cost relief structures to the medical community, providing temporary hospitals and testing sites for as low a price tag as possible. If you sell beer, skinny your margins. The benefits are twofold as a small biz survival tactic and a way to help a financially stunted society heal.

Social responsibility. If you can’t do free, carve out a percentage of sales to donate. Find a reputable charity (food banks are always a good start) and create an execution plan to donate X% of all sales from now until DATE. Incentivize consumers with the authentic allure of altruism.

OK, you’ve got your news hook. At this point you can use a service like Business Wire and send a release nationally or regionally; a one-off national release costs about $1,100.

Tight budget? No prob. Here’s where to “release” the news:

  • Your website. Post it on your homepage, blog or on a dedicated URL e.g. bakery100.com/COVID19response
  • Publish an article on your personal LinkedIn account. Important eyeballs are on that platform right now, reading how business leaders are responding to this crisis. Be the thought leader people need to help guide them through this crisis. Share the news to your company page and if you have employees, encourage them to share, too. Text ranks well on the LinkedIn algorithm but you can also create a custom, branded image (sized 1200 x 628 px) for your employees to post.
  • Twitter. Everyone’s got something to say in the days of #COVID19. Respond to threads or start your own.
  • TikTok (maybe). Honestly, if it feels on brand, why not dance?
  • Instagram. Publish the news on your feed and in your story, tagging any accounts you might want to receive a share from. Create a story sized (1080 x 1920 px) image with a succinct summary of your news and encourage followers to screenshot and share. One Instagram story can change the world these days.
  • Email. Ah the old, reliable 1-1 comms platform. Email is still one of the best ways to communicate, algorithm-free. Send an e-Blast (segment and customize if you can) with a summary and link to the news. Attach your Instagram story image, encouraging recipients to help you spread the word. Your overall message should be magnanimously tinged; this isn’t about you, this is about what you can do to help others.

Final step? Breathe. You’re doing it. Stay focused and keep marching forward, even if it feels like you’re moving in place, in your living room with your dog. Movement is progress and progress doesn’t have to be perfect.

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