General & Others
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting • Education • Finance and Insurance • Funeral • Real Estate Rental and Leasing • Transportation and Warehousing • Wholesale • Others
THE NEW NORMAL
What Has Changed?
Customers are concerned that shopping outside will increase their likelihood of getting infected by the coronavirus.
Customers will likely continue to spend less time in-store and more time at home even after restrictions are lifted, favoring online shopping and curbside pickup instead.
Heavy Demand Drops
Due to the economic recession, many businesses across all industries are suffering from a reduction in demand and sales.
Drastic Model Pivots
To compensate for the reduction in demand and consumer changes, businesses are pivoting to curbside pickup, takeout, online and home delivery, and other new strategies to sustain revenue—models that were only a fraction (if at all) of revenues.
Supply Chain Blocks
Businesses are experiencing increased costs, delays, and shortages in materials, food, and other goods. Many are turning to local alternatives to mitigate risk.
To reduce the risk of infection, business owners have asked employees to work remotely. Some are considering “work from home” or remote work across different states as a long-term option.
Businesses across all types of industries are joining in the effort to see how they can help battle COVID-19 impacts. Companies are manufacturing critical medical supplies such as hand sanitizer and masks, providing food and gifts to healthcare workers, gathering donations for hospitals and frontline workers, and raising awareness on social media.
Businesses are working together to sustain effects from the crisis. Companies are partnering with suppliers, distributors, and wholesalers as well as businesses within their own industry and competitors to share information, devise pivot strategies, and merge customer segments.
How Should I Recover?
Build a business strategy
- Analyze new industry trends post COVID-19. IBIS World reviews in-depth insights on the effects of the pandemic by industry.
- Collaborate with SCORE, a non-profit organization that provides free mentors that specialize by expertise, industry and location for the best fit, as well as no- or low-cost business training workshops and other free resources designed to help small businesses.
- SCORE created a set of small business resources tailored for coronavirus-related challenges.
- Work with a SCORE mentor to help with pivoting strategies, marketing ideas, as well as finance-related challenges to address debt.
- Hello Alice offers free step-by-step guides, expert information and community resources tailored for the needs of small and minority-owned businesses, and has generated a tailored resource for COVID-19 impacts.
Know your new customer
- Select markets to target and craft a marketing strategy around their needs. Motivate those who are willing to go outside to come in and offer alternative purchasing methods and services to those who prefer to stay inside.
- Follow through with the post-purchase customer journey. Send personalized thank-you notes, special deals, coupons, and products.
- Create an online website detailing the company’s mission, products and services, as well as ways to contact the business.
- Establish social media channels and the goals and purposes of each.
- Consider hiring a university student or recent graduate to help build or improve a website. Due to COVID-19, many college students are looking for internships and job opportunities to replace those lost due to the pandemic. Post a job offering on Handshake.
- Take advantage of free software and technology resources for small businesses.
Grow network for partnership opportunities
- Explore the local and national Ascend network for partnership opportunities, sharing information on new trends and data, supply chain, wholesaling and more.
Ensure safety procedures
- Follow federal and individual state guidelines for reducing risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Ask employees and customers to sign waiver forms to reduce risk of litigation prior to visiting offices, stores, and shops.
Adopt new business models
- Open an online shop on the business website.
- Try curbside pickup, home delivery (local), and/or “buy online, we ship” models.
- Install appointment scheduling software tailored for the business’ specific needs and industry. Integrate signing waivers into online scheduling. The most popularly used ones include: Appointy, Square Appointments, 10to8, Acuity Scheduling, and, Setmore.
- Enter e-commerce platforms. Register on the platform that best fits the business’ products and brand. Popular options include: Google Shopping, Amazon, Wish, Etsy, Shopify, and Faire.
Create new sales strategies
- Create bundled products.
- Package products along with services.
- Try “Do-It-Yourself” kits for products. This can increase customer engagement with the products as well as save costs on packaging, shipping and delivery.
- Offer special promotions.
- Partner with subscription and monthly sampling boxes such as: Ipsy, FabFitFun, CauseBox, and Explore Local Box.
Know your customer
- Work with online data analytics software such as Google Analytics to learn new trends in customers. Utilize search engine optimization, keyword bidding, emails, newsletters and other marketing campaigns to track changing customer behaviors.
- Encourage customers to share their thoughts and leave reviews. Gather comments from reviews on websites like Yelp and Google Review and analyze the findings.
- Launch a survey to gather data in-house. Common tools include: Qualtrics, and Google Forms.
Strengthen supply chain
- Register as a producer or purchase from free online domestic supplier directories such as ThomasNet, Maker's Row, and Kompass. Many of these companies are looking for manufacturers of critical COVID-19 related supplies and equipment.
Rethink brick-and-mortar space
- Brainstorm ideas to utilize space for renting real estate.
- Consider mergers or partnerships with other companies. Stagger operating times with other businesses.
- Change the layout of the store to reduce inventory and instead include images of products and QR codes to purchase online. Customers can discover special coupons and deals while maintaining the shopping experience. Business owners can have more flexibility with inventory, and more space for customers to shop, reducing the risk of overcrowding and infection.
Adapt long-term digital business models
- With projections for a vaccine set at approximately one year to two years, many businesses are looking to adopt digital, “online-only” business models for the long run. Some are considering adopting remote workers permanently, working from other states across the nation and internationally.
- Build a business management structure for remote and “work-from-home” employees. Utilize technology and communication tools to maintain contact, track progress and manage work.
Partner with businesses and hospitals long-term
- Diversify client portfolio and supply chain to include local businesses.
- Collaborate with businesses that are projected to grow following the crisis, such as hospitals, the medical industry, e-commerce, entertainment, online learning, home improvement, etc.
Support employee childcare needs
- Consider subsidizing childcare for employees. This benefit is also tax-deductible for the business.
- Consider providing onsite childcare. This is a much larger scale solution, but it could provide an extra revenue stream from clients and increased employee satisfaction and morale.
- Launch a parent support group for employees within your business.
Keep ahead of supply needs
- The ability to move workers from home and back rapidly will be crucial. Create a strategy to rapidly resupply workforce in times of surging demand.
- Evaluate supply chains and develop a plan B. Localized spikes may lead to disruptions of supply chains in the near future.
Cole Palea at Novo Painting
Novo Painting is utilizing the power of the community through the Covid-19 pandemic. Learn how by reading the full story.SEE FULL STORY
Piroshky Piroshky: Catch 22
Seattle Pike Place’s Piroshky Piroshky launched Catch22, an online delivery platform for small businesses.SEE FULL STORY
Firoz Lalji at Zones
With experience during previous recessions, Firoz focused on his people, his customers, and his financials. He also uses this time as an opportunity to restructure and transform his business.SEE FULL STORY
Tools to Adapt
Mobile Payment Systems
Offer options to purchase and pay online or by phone. Square Pay enables customers to pay and tip via phone and processes credit cards, gift cards and cash. Other platforms include PayPal and Stripe.
Contactless payments that allow a customer to tap a debit, credit, or membership gift card on a payment terminal can enable faster transactions and reduced exposure.
Consider installing a self-serve kiosk for ordering. By reducing staff-to-customer contact, the risk of infection may decrease and can free up time to work on other tasks for existing employees.
Voice-Activated Ordering System
Try embedding new technology into the business’ ordering system by establishing voice-activated features. These are compatible with many home artificial intelligence devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.
Drones and AI for Inspection
Utilize drones to conduct on-site inspections. Analyze photos and videos with artificial intelligence to spot safety hazards and identify possible construction issues.
Useful Industry Resources
Find More Ways to Help You
SCORE Action Plan
SCORE released a general action plan to help small businesses reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic. Explore other eGuides on the website for specific industry sectors, including spa, salon, barber shops, fitness centers and more.SEE FULL STORY
IBIS World Industry Exposure Tool
IBIS World Coronavirus Exposure Tool demonstrates in-depth the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each industry in the United States and across the world. Industries are classified at a Low, Medium, or High Exposure scale.SEE FULL STORY
Lynda.com offers various online video courses for website development, software, business skills and other professional skills. Logging on with local libraries like the King Country Library System and Seattle Public Library cards offers free access.SEE FULL STORY
Hello Alice offers free step-by-step guides, expert information and community resources tailored for the needs of small and minority-owned businesses, and has generated a tailored resource for COVID-19 impacts.SEE FULL STORY
Facebook Small Business Resources
Facebook constructed a webpage of resources, grants and tools designed to help small businesses recover from the crisis.SEE FULL STORY