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Making a comeback

What you can do now to help your business recover from the coronavirus.

Story by Lucy Rosen

As we all continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s definitely not business as usual for companies throughout the world – including here in the Lowcountry. While it’s likely that your business (as well as countless others) is facing significant challenges and has probably taken a serious hit, there are things you can (and should) be doing – now – to ensure that your business stays on track during this unprecedented time in history – and help you plan for your company’s recovery.

1. Practice sensitivity

There are people in our community whose loved ones are sick, or they are suffering themselves. Refrain from posting “funny” memes, tweets, or articles about the coronavirus. Instead, spread words of support and factual information only. Also avoid running coronavirus sales and specials: people won’t buy anything, and probably won’t come back. People will remember how you and your company responded to this crisis. Make sure that your business doesn’t suffer longtime collateral damage due to any messages you put out during this time and practice sensitivity at all times and throughout all of your social media and communication to your customers and the entire community.

2. Keep your employees safe

Now seems like the time to have all hands on deck, but prioritizing your employees’ health actually will increase efficiency in the long run. Place bottles of hand sanitizer around the office and encourage healthy habits. If they have the option to work from home, send out spreadsheets, set deadlines and establish clear lines of communication.

3. Be flexible

Crises are unpredictable by nature and might require some dynamic thinking on your part. Your short-term goals and recovery strategy might need to change at a moment’s notice if the situation worsens or improves.

4. Strategize

Most business owners have a to-do list longer than the line at a concert ticket line. Add a pandemic into the mix, and it can feel like you’re driving a car without brakes. If there were ever a time to delegate tasks and evaluate your priorities, it’s now. Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis to determine which aspects of your business need immediate attention, then develop a strategy from there.

5. Review your finances

If you’re worried about your bottom line, make an appointment with a financial advisor. Even if you’re in the black, there are still things you can do to save a little extra cash: buy in bulk, speak with phone or internet service providers to make sure you’re getting the best rates possible, and look at your subscription-based services to see if they are all still needed.

6. Keep in touch

This goes for employees and clients. Address the situation with facts, not fear. Notify all parties of any immediate changes to your normal operations, then continue to post digital updates as needed. This will help boost your reputation as a dependable source who cares about keeping people in the loop.

7. Set your sites

When people are stuck inside, they tend to spend a lot of time online which likely will increase e-commerce business. When appropriate, promote your products on social media – and make sure to update your website often (in fact, now is the perfect time to do that refreshing of your website that you’ve been meaning to get to, and is a positive step you can make in preparing for recovery.) Review sales pages and payment links to make sure everything is working. You might generate more sales online than you would in-store.

8. Amp up your brand

There’s no time like the present to refresh your brand – beginning with social media. Map out your content strategy for the next six months, revisit your bio lines, and tweak various sections of your LinkedIn profile to reflect your recent accomplishments. Review old content and explore how to repurpose it. Again, you also might want to update the copy on your website to reflect where your brand is going.

9. Strengthen your partnerships

You don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to current partners for inspiration and advice, or forge new relationships now that hundreds of businesses are on common ground. Collaborating with other companies builds brand traction, expands your outreach, and allows you access to additional resources and talent. Make a list of people you’d like to collaborate with, then use this time to have connection calls to see how you can strengthen each other’s communities and companies.

10. Support current consumer trends

One of the best ways to increase revenue is to give people more of what they want. Even if you can’t order new products on such short notice, get creative with the services you offer.

11. Stay calm

Panic isn’t productive, which is why you should make time for yourself amidst the chaos. Make time for reading, podcasts and inspirational videos. Redecorate your office. Start writing your book. When you’re energized and focused, you’ll have a better sense of the big picture. LL