Business Downtime – What to do with your extra time
Over the years I have met a ton of awesome small business owners. I have helped some of them in various ways, building a website, setting up social media, building marketing funnels, etc., etc.
This past week, week and a half have brought out the good and bad in people, business owners, employees, and even myself. I will admit that I was sucked in by the “get what you can get” mentality while at Walmart.
As I continue to hear the stories of a business shutting the doors, even if only temporarily. I also hear the small business owners complain, stating that this is just the media overhyping the events. I am not a medical expert, and, in all honesty, I have no idea what to believe.
Here is what I do know. We all seem to have a little extra time. This time that we are given can be used for good or evil. I tend to think about using this extra time to do something.
This week I was supposed to take my family on a Spring Break vacation. We had our Hotel booked (still no refund), our bags all packed, and we heard that Disneyland was closed. What do we do now?
Well, this time, albeit only Tuesday has given me time to work on my side hustle. A clothing brand that I hope one day earns enough money to replace my income and donate $200,000 to kids in need.
The target market for this brand line was vacationers heading to Hawaii, Hawaiian Island Clothing. Let’s be honest. It is not the right time to start a vacation-inspired brand.
I can complain about the uncertain future, or I can do something about it.
In the past few days, I have been able to redesign the website, work on the writing and clarifying the brand story, and get a few new designs ready for production.
Here is the point. I get that your brand and business are going to take a hit. Restaurants, bars, events, and a whole bunch of other businesses are going to struggle.
It sucks. But let’s do something about it.
Here are a few things to do while we wait out the quarantine period. Spoiler alert, there is no hoarding on this list.
I got an email from my kid’s cheer organization. They have suspended all practice and events for the next few weeks. What they are offering is an online course to keep the kids learning and active.
Instead of the normally scheduled cheer practice, the instructor is doing a live stream/chat with the cheerleaders. This accomplished two things in my opinion. First, it keeps the kids practicing, even if they can’t do stunting or the full routine. Second, it keeps them engaged and when this thing blows over, they will come back ready to more eager to learn.
These are times that are going to make or break your business. You are going to have to innovate. Move faster than your competition and make sure that you push things forward.
Build a new sales channel
While a marketing consultant/agency, I would talk with many business owners that wanted to grow. However, there was always an excuse to not put in the work.
“I know I need to do social media, but I don’t know where to start or have the time.” – Excuse
“My website is not getting enough traffic, but I don’t know how to blog.” – Excuse
There is no excuse now. You have the time. Start to build your new sales channel. There are plenty of them out there. Just know where your ideal customer likes and how they consume their content and go for it.
That new sales channel is yours for the taking. You are never going to build it without doing it. So, do it.
Clarify your story
You are putting in the hours for a reason. Maybe it is because you really have a passion for your trade, maybe it is just to feed your family. Whatever the reason, take the time and really explain why you are doing what you are doing.
Your story matters. Use your extra time to explain it. It will take you pretty far.
Learn something new
Finally, go and learn a new skill or how to use a new tool. The extra time is going to give you the time to finally learn about that CRM and marketing automation tool. The time is going to allow you to learn how to produce Facebook ads that convert.
Use this time to learn that new skill that you have been putting off. It is going to serve you now and in the future.
Business Downtime Conclusion
I have seen a few tactics that seem to be in desperation. I get it, business is hard. I have received more emails over the last week with discounts, angry posts targeted at government officials (not good for your brand), and behavior that is just downright alarming.
Again, as a business owner, make sure to take care of yourself and your family. However, if you are a one-trick pony, you are going to have to change your routine to stay alive.
I hope this post helps you. We are all in uncertain times. We all have a little extra time. Remember, we will get through this. It is going to be up to you on how you come out of it. You can come out of it stronger with a new offering that takes your business to the next level or you can use this time to complain on social media and purchase every roll of toilet paper on the planet.
The choice is yours.