There’s a lot of uncertainty right now regarding coronavirus and how best to adjust our lives. As small business owners, the impact of this has been great. For example, we know that several Jade District businesses have seen fewer customers as a result of fear and the precautions people are taking. And as more and more people are considering avoiding public spaces, we thought we’d share some tips that may be helpful in reaching your customer base. There are, of course, best practices to employ as you work to keep your business clean and germ free. But there are also some steps you can take to reassure your customer base that it is safe to shop and dine with you. Our friends at Venture Portland recently shared a few tips and suggestions that may be beneficial to you and your business.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Business Tips
Demonstrate to your customers that you are cleaning the heck out of your shop! Take pictures of your employees cleaning surfaces, spraying down door knobs, and wiping down merchandise. Hand sanitizer is a hot commodity in Portland right now — if you’ve got some and it’s available to your customers and employees, use your social media platforms and post pictures NOW. These visuals may go a long way in making your customers feel confident about coming in to shop with you!
Stay informed and SHOW IT. The Oregon Health Authority has a wealth of COVID-19 resources and the latest updates for developments in our state. Share what you learn with your customers. Consumer confidence is yours to gain and keep. Showcasing your care and concern allows your customers to see how serious your business takes health and safety.
Show your customers other ways they can support your business during this difficult time. Do you sell gift certificates or gift cards? Remind your customers that they can call in, email, or go to your website to purchase gift cards. It’s okay in the midst of COVID-19 health concerns to let your shoppers know that their purchase of gift certificates helps your cash flow TODAY. Remember to assure them that you will honor the gift cards and gift certificates through at least the end of 2020.
In an effort to assist small businesses, local business owner Sarah Shaoul is spearheading an effort to inject money into the local economy through a gift certificate purchasing campaign. The idea is for business to offer gift certificates at an 11% discount in hopes of getting cash circulating into businesses now while there’s a slow-down. Here’s what she’s looking for from you:
1. Choose to opt in to a universal offer of 11% off gift certificate through the end of the month. (This may be extended, and yes, you can offer a greater discount if you choose.)
2. Make a commitment to purchase at least 3 gift certificates from other participants.
3. Spread the word through all your channels (although, wait until we pull the graphics together. could be as early as tomorrow). Right now focus on your pivot and how you can get creative with your business.
4. Optional: Contribute $50-$150 if you can for the women who are working on the graphics, advertising and overall promotion.
If you’d like to participate, contact Sarah Shaoul at email@example.com. Please note that due to the high volume of communication, response may not be immediate.
Lastly, please be sure to take care of YOU! As a small business owner, self-care is often the first thing to be back-burnered, but, as mentioned in this linked City Lab article, “Besides washing your hands frequently, what’s most important is having a healthy life: getting enough sleep, not drinking too much, not smoking, and exercising. And if you’re lucky enough to be considered low-risk during this outbreak, it’s a good time to think about neighbors who aren’t.”
We want to hear from you. What tricks and tips is your business trying during this uncertain time? How are you handling employee sick days? What impact has COVID-19 had on your business so far? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram.