No matter what kind of online business you have, right now things might feel uncertain in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. Will your sales take a hit? Should you still launch that product? Does it make you a sleazeball to sell products during a crisis like this?
You’ve worked hard on your business to get to this point, so you don’t want to just give up. OR maybe you were just ramping up that side hustle when all of this caused things to change so fast. You’ve got plans to be a work at home mom and this business is going to get (or keep) you there. So what can you do to protect your online business during COVID-19?
In this article, I’m going to give you 5 tips on how you can move forward with your business (and not stick your head in the sand as tempting as it sounds) during this crazy time so your online business doesn’t have to suffer during this pandemic.
Focus on how you can serve others
This is the number one thing you can do right now (and anytime) in your business. Ask yourself how you can serve your audience. What are they needing most from you right now? How do they need you to show up?
This doesn’t mean you have to give away the farm for free though. It could be doing Instagram or Facebook live a few times a week to just connect and coach more. It could be that you create a new product or offer a new service to help them solve a problem they are facing right now.
Coming from a place of service is going to not only legitimately help your people but in the long run, it will increase your value as a business.
Selling things is good
This is a big controversy right now: is it good or bad to sell things during a pandemic? I think it really depends on what you feel called to do and where your intentions are.
Some people feel like they need to help and give back by giving away something for free or offering a free service or class. While others are showing up like this by giving large discounts on their products. I don’t think either way is right or wrong. But I do want to say that if you feel like you want to sell things, then you shouldn’t feel bad.
Stu McLaren talked about this on his podcast recently (episode 162: How should you adjust your Marketing Amidst COVID-19?) and he did a great job. He mentioned that one of the perks of selling things right now is that we are continuing to fuel the economy. Not only will money continue to be circulated but people really value things they pay for so giving something away for free can help but it often means that buyers won’t take it seriously. They didn’t invest in it so they probably won’t feel compelled to invest their time into it either. Just how people work.
So with that, it feels like it’s actually a good thing to continue to sell things in your business.
Of course if your intentions are to sell things in a shady way during this time, then that’s not good. Don’t be the guys that went across the Southeast buying up handsanitizer by the truckloads so they could resell it for a jacked up price. I know that’s not you and you wouldn’t do something like that. And honestly, the fact that you’re even concerned with it being “good or bad” to sell means you’re not trying to take advantage of people. You’re serving them by offering your products and services.
Create a plan for how your business can show up and serve
Right now, so many people are online. While some may be hesitant to spend money, there are lots of people that are actually seeking out ways to spend money. Either they just want to support others or they are legitimately seeking ways to fulfill their own needs.
Maybe they normally work so much that they haven’t had time to declutter their kitchen like they’ve been meaning to. Now they have the time so they’re looking for some help with how to tackle that project.
Or maybe someone has been wanting to learn how to paint but could never find the time. Now they are looking for online classes to learn.
So knowing that your people are online, they’re in need, and you have something to offer, how are you going to show up for your customers?
Create a plan for that. I bet you know exactly what you would love to create or offer them but you’re nervous about putting it out there.
Maybe there’s a class idea you’re thinking up or something that feels super obvious, but you’ve been holding back on it because you felt uneasy about selling right now. Don’t.
Create it. Don’t be insensitive to the issue at hand of course, but show up from a place of service and offer your thing. Let your people know that you know it’s tough right now, and that’s exactly why you’ve created this product for them.
Pivot your business as needed
During a pandemic like this, there may be parts of your business (or maybe all of it) that feel like they’re not relevant right now. But I want to challenge you to think of how you can pivot your business to fit and serve your customers.
One industry that’s been hit hard is the travel industry. If you’re a travel blogger, you might feel like you have nothing to talk about right now, but what if you just shifted your thinking?
Your readers are travelers. They love to explore the world and now would be a perfect time to start going on those trips, but they can’t. How might they be feeling right now? Are there things they can do now to better prepare for a trip later? Or what about refunds and such for trips that were already booked but canceled because of all of this? Showing up for your people where they are makes all the difference.
Another example might be that a part of your business is negatively affected while another part is very relevant right now. For instance, on my site, I had planned to focus on helping moms start an online business so they can quit their jobs. But now, with people getting laid off left and right, I had to pivot my messaging and content. I can still talk about online business, but now it’s from a place of needing to make money from home because we’re all stuck at home and may have lost a job. So I had to pivot or it would seem insenstive to talk about quitting a job voluntarily when others have lost theirs involuntarily.
You can see that business, as usual, might have to pivot a little, but if you keep your customer’s needs in mind, then you can come up with alternative ways to create products/services for them. Every business knows: those that refuse to pivot get left behind.
Don’t operate from fear or panic
This one is really important and sometimes is easier said than done.
Things are crazy right now. It feels chaotic and out of place for so many.
It’s really easy to start to feel panicked about the fact that you’ve lost income due to job loss or maybe your business has taken a hit because of COVID-19. Maybe you’re an essential worker and right now you really wish you weren’t because of the risk to your family and yourself.
It can feel like you need to start your business NOW and get it profitable NOW so you start to take action (which is great), but it’s from that place of fear and panic. This isn’t helpful for you, your family or your customers.
Just shift your perspective.
Maybe this is the chance to work from home you’ve been praying for. You’ve been working on your side hustle for a bit, but never had the time to really scale it or the courage to actually quit. Now, you’re in a situation where you can work on it more.
Show up for your customers, serve them, and take things one day at a time.
I’m not saying that you can’t be worried, anxious or any of that. Of course we’re going to all have those moments and cope differently, but our thinking is the number one contributor to our feelings. So if you’re feeling panicked, worried, etc, check your thoughts and shift them into a positive direction to keep moving forward.
This pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever experienced. There’s bound to be a lot of uncertainty especially for entrepreneurs, but I hope you’ll take these points and implement them in your business. Taking back your power and control in your business starts with how you think about the situation at hand and how you show up and take action. The biggest thing is to serve your people. You can’t go wrong with that mentality.
How are you coping with the current situation as an online business owner and how has it affected your business? Share your thoughts in the comments!