If we look up when we are down, sometimes opportunities appear we didn’t see before.
Like many times in the past, the human spirit has shown that in the wake of challenge or tragedy, it is fiercely resilient. There are always those who will choose community over self. Those who will help a neighbor or give of their resources freely. We are already seeing this in the community today. We commend and need you.
As your Chamber of Commerce, we are here to help your business succeed. We are open, taking calls, and responding to emails in an effort to best serve you. We’ve also come up with a list of creative ways to keep your business strong and overcome these challenging times, while also being supportive of the highly-encouraged social distancing guidance, so together, we can fight this common threat and restore business as usual.
Take It to the Screen
With today’s accessibility, almost any business can find ways to sell their product or service online, host a meeting, share a screen, or hold a video conference through other channels than face to face.
You can use tools such as Facebook Live, Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Skype to run an online meeting, event, live chat, demonstration, or educational class. Other options are also available. Each platform is different so choose what works best for your needs.
Businesses also have the opportunity to leverage digital media and showcase how-to videos on their craft. You can either charge a nominal fee to participate in the class, host a free class to create brand awareness, or even sell your products necessary to complement the video. Schedule the class, take online orders, and snail mail or deliver your products! Magic!
- Host an art or music class
- Present a cooking class
- Conduct an educational lesson
- Host a reading and craft session
- Provide an instructional video
A little bit goes a long way. In an effort to keep business going by reducing social interaction, here are some ways to keep your doors open by adding conveniences to the shopping experience.
- Provide delivery services
- Offer curbside takeout
- Ship items free of charge
- Start or elevate an e-commerce section on your website
- Package do-it-yourself crafts, meals, games for families to do at home
Virtually shop, call, or–through conveniences noted above–support local businesses as much as you can rather than choosing a big box store.
Purchase an online gift certificate from a local shop to send to a friend or family member to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. Small businesses may be able to match the conveniences of Amazon during this time by offering free shipping.
Another way to support local is to think of others who may need our community support. Local healthcare professionals are about to go into overdrive. And as our first line of defense, they need all the motivation and encouragement we can give them. Send them a gift certificate for a local coffee or meal to make them feel appreciated and energized.
Ideas for Various Industries
Local gyms and fitness studios: Offer member and drop-in online workouts. These online workouts can come in many different shapes and sizes—a live class feed, a video, family workout ideas, or even outdoor-focused fitness themes. You can even package a pre-recorded subscription service for the next month that sends a workout per day.
Flower and gift shops: While this industry may be used to foot traffic, it has unlimited potential in challenging times. Sending flowers and gifts to people who are sick, healthcare professionals, and missed family members can be a great way to stay connected and offer a ray of sunshine.
Coffee shops and bakeries: While we are all craving connection and our perfect cup of coffee, businesses may encourage customers to take their orders to go or offer curbside assistance. How great would it be to implement daily pre-orders and venture out on morning deliveries to leave a sweet treat on customers’ doorsteps? You may also consider hosting an online baking class for a fee on how to make donuts or the perfect birthday cake. Create do-it-yourself packages for families to make at home. The list goes on…
Professional Services: Work from home and stay connected with clients and employees through phone and web conferencing. If you need to send them something, email it or snail mail it.
Retailers: Have you been meaning to update your website or post more pictures on social media about your products? Well, now is your chance! Do you know how many people are decluttering right now, organizing and rearranging their home? Do you know how many people will be in front of their screens with more time to shop online?! Clothes, furniture, art, decorative, houseware stores take heed. Make it easy for customers to buy from your local shop by having an online presence.
Restaurants: We all love going out to eat, but curbing our appetite for social interaction is important, but so is eating! Restaurants may opt to start lunch or dinner delivery and curbside pick-up services, and encourage customers to take meals to go. Why not host an online cooking class and teach customers how to prepare a special meal or cocktail at home? You can pre-package the ingredients for families to take home and make together. Put together a 2-week virtual cookbook to sell and download online. The possibilities are endless…
Hotels: Offer discounts to pay in full at the time of booking for future reservations. Start marketing hotel and holiday specials that are months away to get people thinking about future vacations after travel returns to normal.
There’s no better time than the present to support local business by being creative with how customers interact with your products and services. Do good things. People will remember how you showed up in times of need and will visit your business tenfold when the spread of coronavirus is no longer a threat, and we can all return to business as usual.
If you have any questions on how the Chamber may support you during this time, please reach out. We are open, taking calls, and responding to emails in an effort to best serve you. We are happy to share your business news and highlights through our newsletters to give your business extra visibility during this time.
If you have an online event or a unique way of looking up when things are down, share it with us, and we’ll share it with the community. Email Bonnie Zappacosta with your story at email@example.com. Bonnie is the Chamber’s Content Writer and can help you strategize creative ways to keep business strong through social distancing.