Published on: 27-Apr-2020
Last week I provided 50 suggestions on what you can do to keep your business viable before you reopen. Next month, on May 4, I will list suggestions for reopening.
I polled my extensive network for feedback on these two questions. What follows is not my opinion, but rather some responses from 184 entrepreneurs opining on what steps you can take now to remain relevant as a going concern.
Hopefully, some of these ideas will apply to your business and help sustain you until you can open up again.
These suggestions are in no particular order. I have numbered them 51-100 for your convenience and included contributors websites and or email information.
Isaac Hammelburger; Hammelburger Search Pros; searchpros.com
51. Reach out to consumers and find out what they care about. Then create relevant content for your online outlets. Content marketing provides a path to your audience’s heart.
Oksana Chyketa; BreathTheWeb.com; breatheweb.com
52. Create unique problem-solving content that can help your readers to succeed professionally during this challenging time.
53. Adjust variable expenses and reduce overhead.
Austin Shong; Blip Billboards; email@example.com
54. Increase advertising to capture market share.
Matthew Ross; The Slumber Yard; myslumberyard.com
55. Eliminate items and vendors that are unnecessary.
56. Redeem credit card points for cash in order to pay bills.
57. Offer your customers discounts for early payment.
Dustin Fox; Pearson Smith Realty; foxessellfaster.com
58. Send personalized sales letters with a stamp through U.S. mail. Your mail will have a higher open rate with a real stamp (not an indicia — the more eye catching the better). If your envelope looks like a personal letter, it will demand attention.
Stacie Heaps; WriteAway LLC; firstname.lastname@example.org
59. Treat your employees, vendors, and clients like gold. Be proactive rather than reactive.
Morgan Taylor; Let Me Bank; letmebank.com
60. Build a “lookalike audience” on Facebook. A lookalike audience is a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they are similar to your existing customers.
Shira Plotzker; Shira’s Place; shirasplace.com
61. Consider a crowdfunding campaign to raise money.
Robin Samora; robinsamora.com
62. Research the 10 top events in your industry that have been canceled. Offer virtual presentations as an alternative to the event.
63. Create a LinkedIn group for your industry and hold virtual networking meetings to stay connected.
64. Use this time to update your website and social profiles, write content, create a course and/or create a podcast.
65. Re-evaluate your business priorities and shed dead weight.
66. Personally connect with top clients and see how they’re doing.
Andrew Taylor; Net Lawman; netlawman.co.uk
67. Create a plan that allows you to be operational throughout different stages of change, from complete lockdown to gradual opening-up to ramping up production.
68. Niche down. Focus on your audience and ensure that you are meeting their needs.
Brittany Nevels; BE Different Designs; email@example.com
69. Think outside of the box. Brainstorm and determine what you can do to keep your company top-of-mind.
David Stevens; founder, Jet Gift Baskets; JetGiftBaskets.com
70. Use automated lead machines because lead generation remains an essential factor in getting more clients. Tools like LeadBox can help you get new leads.
71. Rely on fewer people and automate by installing systems that are more reliable.
72. Focus on markets that have served you well.
73. Convert services to products as people currently need products more than services. Example: Produce e-books that show customers how to do specific services on their own.
James Robinson; Iconic Genius; IconicGenius.com
74. Keep your company’s digital channels up to date including your website, blog, social network profiles, and Google My Business listings. Then, enhance your digital channels: beef up SEO, social, online advertising and influencer marketing efforts. Recognize what is working and use your resources and budget as applicable.
Katherine King; CEO, InvisibleCulture; invisibleculture.com
75. Form the team. When shifting from physical to virtual workplaces, the transition can be similar to when new teams form. The group dynamic changes. Therefore, define everyone’s roles clearly. Some personalities are best at organizing, others at accomplishing tasks. Bring out the best in each individual and navigate the transition effectively.
76. Be flexible. Working from home makes social agility and cross-cultural understanding harder.
77. Confirm, confirm, confirm. Recognize the limitations of virtual communication. 80% of communication is non-verbal; therefore, communication done primarily by email may result in lost context and could cause misunderstandings.
Mansur Khamitov; Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University; blogs.ntu.edu.sg/mkt/
78. Be mindful of any signals or displays arising from communication efforts which may be viewed as encroaching or compromising fundamental safety and security of customers.
79. Help people stay positive, optimistic and forward-looking.
Patrick West; Be The Machine; themachinenyc.com
80. Market on a local community level. Promote business offerings on community-centric services like Nextdoor.
81. Make local contacts because there is a great opportunity to work with your local city or county on initiatives.
82. Don’t provide deposits and don’t pay up-front expenses. Pay when products or services are delivered.
Gems Collins, MSC, Online Course Creator and Business, Coach, CEO and founder of Gems Collins LLC; gemscollins.com
83. Provide valuable freebies — continue to share value, stay relevant to your clients and do something solely for their benefit.
Brian Shaw; partner/co-chair, Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice at Fox Rothschild; foxrothschild.com/brian-l-shaw/
84. Prepare a revised, forward-looking cash flow analysis that conservatively takes into account factors such as: loss of customers, disruption of supply chains, extended payment periods from your trade creditors, defaults or extended payments from your customers.
85. Understand what it means when your business is in the zone of insolvency, and what that means for the rights and duties of the company’s board of directors, officers and equity holders.
Eric Quanstrom; CIENCE; firstname.lastname@example.org
86. Analyze sales across industry segments and eliminate new activity from segments unlikely to be viable near-term (e.g. restaurants, airlines, hospitality, travel & tourism, etc).
Jennifer Thornton; 304 Coaching; 304coaching.com
87. Create a talent strategy (the team) to match your new business strategy. Help clients reorganize their workforce to match their new business reality. Move from a dysfunctional and costly in-market team approach to a virtual center of excellence that will support all markets.
88. Define what is a must-do and will maintain or increase current or future revenue. Nice to do is work that complements and adds additional value to revenue but isn’t the first line driver. Eliminate everything else.
Paige Arnof-Fenn; Mavens & Moguls; mavensandmoguls.com
89. Get your employees together online after work for virtual happy hour/beer/cocktails when they have more time to chat.
90. Choose high-impact activities that work for you and play to your strengths. For example, content marketing and thought leadership are great ways to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients/customers.
91. Contribute regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you. Put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts.
92. Be on LinkedIn so that you can be found. It adds credibility and transparency when you know the people you are meeting or working with know people in common.
93. Look at the groups you belong to (industry, trade, neighborhood, alumni, women, hobby, religious, non-profit, etc.) and support/buy from each other directly. Refer business proactively to each other.
Jessica Del Virginia; founder, Insite Strategy; email@example.com
94. Ask customers to leave reviews for you on Yelp, Google or other social media.
Mark Chambers; English Blinds Solihull; englishblinds.co.uk
95. If you’re experiencing supply chain issues but still attempting to fulfill orders, keep customers appraised of this. Do not accept orders that you may have to cancel or delay later on. Advise customers that there may be shipping delays.
Dionne Morrison; dionnemorrison.com
96. Activate or create a disaster plan.
Randi Levin; Transitional Life Strategist; RandiLevinCoaching.com
97. Meet people where they are. Show up as a human first, as a business person second.
98. Be solution-focused.
Laura Fuentes; Infinity Dish; infinitydish.com
99. Create a virtual storefront that provides all the information that people would get by coming into your store, if there is a physical location.
Meredith Noble; Seneca Works, LLC; learngrantwriting.org
100. Contact potential partners, clients, customers, blogs, etc. to find opportunities for backlinks. Backlinks are when another website links to your website, giving Google proof that you have a trustworthy website.
Source: Herald-Tribune, 27 April 2020
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