fbp
5 Lessons for Independent Businesses from the COVID-19 Crisis

Written by Bill Brunelle

October 22, 2020

This year has brought unprecedented challenges to Independent businesses. At the same time, it has also inspired a renewed enthusiasm among consumers and lawmakers for supporting small businesses. Through stay-at-home orders and supply chain interruptions, the coronavirus crisis has shown Americans the massive void that’s left when Independent businesses can’t do their part in the community.

As response turns to reflection, here are five valuable lessons that Independents retailers can take from the pandemic about their place in the market and how to preserve it.

1. There’s Strength in Numbers

Independent businesses are stronger when they work together. In addition to federal and state aid programs, many Main Street organizations have helped connect their members with local resources. These groups host informative webinars, organize local promotional campaigns, and connect businesses to community banks and credit unions.

 2. Plan Ahead

Strategic planning is one of those important tasks that can easily fall by the wayside during a busy season. While planning for a crisis as unlikely and unpredictable as a global pandemic might be impossible, developing a generic crisis management plan for your business can help it weather any storm that comes next. To get started, think about who in your organization is essential in a crisis and how you will effectively communicate updates to staff.

3. Adaptability Sets Independents Apart

Changing times demand changing business practices — and Independent businesses are in the best position to adapt. As you rebuild and prepare for future crises, keep your thumb on the pulse of the community to respond quickly to local needs. Whether you serve customers curbside or stock up on essential inventory, this flexibility can keep you ahead of the competition.

4. Relationships Matter

Will your customers remember your business after a crisis? Chances are, the answer depends on their relationship with the business and their experience in the store. Rebuild the relationship with your customers by welcoming them back in a memorable way. An in-store demo day, a generous return policy or a warm greeting can go a long way.

5. Stay Social

Speaking of relationships, keep your customers close during the downturn by engaging with them on social media. When customers can’t come to the store, these online connections are crucial to keeping your business top of mind. When you post, remember to make it a two-way conversation so customers have an opportunity to participate. Ask for feedback, respond to comments and share photos with permission. To get started, follow Independent We Stand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for indie-themed graphics and conversation starters to share with your network.

Independent We Stand is here to support your business as it continues the fight or reopens from a shutdown. Visit www.independentwestand.org for marketing materials, social media content and other promotional resources, all free to you as a Member of Nationwide Marketing Group.

 

Connect With Us!

More Podcasts

220: CW Technologies Owners Shares Unique Origin Story

220: CW Technologies Owners Shares Unique Origin Story

Carlos Warlick, owner of CW Technologies in Southern California, has one of the craziest AV industry origin stories out there. After getting his start by doing intern-like work at a big music studio, he found himself pimpin’ rides well before Xhibit was doing his thing on MTV. That parlayed into a successful and growing custom integration business that he runs today.

219: PROJECT: automate Founder Pays It Forward During Oasys Summit

219: PROJECT: automate Founder Pays It Forward During Oasys Summit

Josh Trevithick founded his custom integration company, PROJECT: automate, a little over two decades ago, but he just recently joined Oasys Residential Technology Group – and he’s already realizing the return on his investment. During the recent Oasys Summit, Trevithick sat down to talk about his early experience in the group and how he hopes to pay it forward.

218: Frank Sterns Chats On New Role and the Parallels to Previous Stops

218: Frank Sterns Chats On New Role and the Parallels to Previous Stops

Just a few weeks after being formally introduced as a consultant for Nationwide Marketing Group’s Custom Integration division, Frank Sterns was with the group in Austin for the second-annual Oasys Summit. There, we sat down with him to talk about his first in-person experience with the group as a part of the team, and we dove into his career history and his vision for the group.