Coronavirus Pivot

This virus is no joke.

Everyone from civic leaders to individuals working the gig economy is weighing public health impact against financial concerns with every decision, every interaction, and there’s new information to consider every day.  It can be overwhelming.

I hope the information below will make some of your decisions less overwhelming and more doable. My goal, as always, is to help your small business be a sustainable, good organization that enriches our community for years to come!

“My product/service could totally be sold online, but I’m not technical enough to stand that up quickly.”

Can’t Stop Columbus wants to help. Fill this out!

“I was so close to launching something new that would work during this crisis, but with no new cashflow, I have to put it on hold”

Who is the #1 customer of this new thing? Could they be convinced to pre-pay? One organization doing a great job rolling out pre-pay options is Wild Goose Creative. Even pre-corona, they used a kickstarter to help fund their second location (Would a kickstarter/indigogo work for you?) Now, they’re offering nice discounts on bookings for events in the future.  Both tactics are great ways to get cash flowing into your organization months before product delivery, just make sure to account for your claimed offers in your financial projections.

“I can’t do my (normally successful) regular business, but I still have bills to pay”

If your business was doing great before coronavirus, your regular customers want you to survive this too. Think of ways you can reach out to them now, and what you can offer them. Try a new membership program (one free dinner a month, early access to new products, or a virtual gathering place for all the members to discuss common interests). Don’t skip considering old school methods, either, phone calls are amazingly effective!

“I could make this work, but I’m understaffed / don’t want to ask others to take risks by working”

Make your customer an employee.  I’m talking about instead of full-service dinner, a delivery meal kit and access to an online how-to video &/or recipe sheet. Instead of a wall painted in their home, a 1-hour how-to online session to kick off their project with optional support calls as they DIY it. Get creative! Most people have a little extra time on their hands these days and may see the extra “work” they do for themselves as a bonus. And don’t worry, people will still pay for the full-service version when all this is over, they’re crunched for time (& less crunched on cash) later.

“I’m fine, but my employees…”

Here are just two of the ideas I’ve seen so far: Cameron Mitchell established an Associates Relief Fund (funded by online gift card sales), Eight & Sand set up a gofundme for their employees.

“Ok fine, now I have an idea, but I don’t have the skills to do it alone”

I want to help. Can’t Stop Columbus wants to help. This whole amazing community we call Columbus, pretty much all of it wants to help.  Now is the time to reach out and ask!

I hope you found a practical next step to take, but if not, add your question or specific challenge below (or on Facebook), and I’ll do my best to answer!

And once you’re feeling confident again, I hope you take a minute to pay it forward.

Recommended Reading: The One Thing

If there were only one book I would recommend to business owners, “The One Thing,The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” is it.

This book clearly walks through what focus is, why it is important and how to achieve it in practical terms. As a bonus, it’s a quick read!

The specific questions laid out in “The One Thing” aren’t exactly the ones I’ve used through the years, but they are good and the entire approach is so similar to what I’ve found works through the years, that as I read it, it made me wonder if the authors had been inside my office (or mind).

I read it on loan from the Columbus Library, but of course “The One Thing” is also available from Amazon. (I have not been compensated in any way for my review of this book, and those are regular links, not affiliate links)

20 Tips for Starting an Online Business in 2018

Starting your e-commerce business in 2018? Download this presentation that online payment processing veterans Melissa and Rachyl put together, featuring 20 tips for avoiding many common mistakes made by first time online businesses.  Then set up a time to go through it one-on-one with Rachyl for more detail!