This past year, small business owners were especially impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many had to make the hard decision to shut their doors to keep themselves, their families, their employees, and the community safe. In doing this, owners were struggling with how they will pay rent, wages, and even their expenses.
Nevertheless, small business owners got creative and found ways to stay afloat when the odds were against them.
Small business owner of the City Room Cafe in Nashua, NH, Terry Wade, was just one of many affected by the pandemic. Last May, Terry closed her cafe doors to keep her employees and the community safe during a trying time. While she was closed, Terry made the most of her time thinking of new ways to adjust her business to the “new normal”. She decided this was the ideal time to renovate her cafe. She painted the walls, bought new tables and chairs, as well as new equipment for her kitchen. Not only did she renovate her cafe she also redesigned her menu and created a social media platform where she could stay connected with her customers during a difficult time. Terry was constantly updating the community on the renovation and when she was expecting to open her cafe again. Her customers were eager to be back and see the new changes. Terry was once again able to open her cafe doors in July and people were lining up to eat at their favorite breakfast spot!
Many small businesses like the City Room Cafe chose to get creative during a tough time. According to Kathy Gurchiek from SHRM, “43% of small businesses have started rethinking the way they do business since the coronavirus pandemic began, 32% have found a new way of delivering existing services, and 22% have asked employees to learn new skills to support changes in the business”. Below are a couple of ways for businesses to get creative:
- Social media. Many businesses are using social media to further promote their products and services. However, it’s not enough to simply create a social media presence. You need to create content that people care about. Think about the mission and values of your company and why people keep coming back. Then think of how you can use that to create content that people want to see.
- During a time when many people are working from home, social media has become ever so popular. Businesses can take advantage of this and create a platform where they can stay connected to their customers as well as new ones. A social media platform can regularly update customers and keep them hooked to the product or service they once enjoyed.
- Communication. During an uncertain time, staying connected with customers is extremely important. It’s so easy to think a business isn’t open during this time if they are not constantly letting their customers and the community know the hours and days they are open. Posting this once a week to a social media platform can increase the amount of customers you are getting.
- Digital platforms. For the businesses currently closed, digital platforms are a way to promote your product or service from home. For example, a yoga studio could provide live stream videos of their workouts for customers to join in on. The customer could pay for a monthly subscription and the business is still able to make money remotely. Another example would be a coffee shop that may not be getting as much business because of people working from home. Creating a digital platform where customers can buy your coffee beans, syrups, or teas would provide revenue for the business and the customers will benefit from it.
Thinking of creative ways to make money during this difficult time can be hard. However, many people in the community want to support their local businesses, so offering them a way too can be beneficial to both the customer and the business.