The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world hard and fast, and taken a significant toll on businesses. Across a wide variety of industries, business owners and managers are struggling to maintain their operations as the virus continues to spread. It can all seem very overwhelming and we get it, but there is hope.
Aside from stress, crises bring with them the opportunity to grow and change the way we all do business – and this can include growing your client base by exploring new opportunities as well as new ways of working and communicating.
We’ve put together our four top tips to help you grow in the face of #COVID19:
1. Approach businesses who need your help and offer to help
Many businesses are struggling right now, and rightfully so. Times are getting tough and ever-changing health restrictions are making it harder to do business. But if your company offers a unique service that can benefit fellow operators during the pandemic, reach out to them. You might come to an arrangement whereby you do pro bono work for that business for a set amount of weeks and if you see initial success then that new relationship could lead to ongoing paid work in the future. And if that success is profound, that business, which is no doubt very grateful for your help, could refer your services to others businesses or individuals, further increasing your client or customer base. It’s the old saying of ‘give a little to get a little’. Plus, it never hurts to be kind. We do pro bono PR work for SA not for profits including Treasure Boxes, Walk for a Veteran and I am Worthmore and find it really rewarding to support great people working to benefit others – this has lead us into other paid work via their referrals which has been a great added bonus.
2. Find new opportunities
While capitalising on the COVID-19 pandemic might not seem like a nice idea, this situation could be beneficial to your business and its growth. If you are implementing never-before seen safety measures for your staff and customers, adopting new ways of delivering your services, branching out into new areas and using new technologies to work around the virus, and these benefit your business and customer base, it is worth sharing these stories with the media. You can find new opportunities to promote your brand on both traditional news platforms and on social media.
For example, we have worked with some retailers via Pick a Local Pick SA who promote our independent retailer in SA – they have fruit and vegetable stores that have been selling produce in-store only for the past 20 years who have now made the shift to online sales as a way to overcome complications from COVID-19, promoting changes in your processes like this in the media is a great way to drive people to your website and, in turn, boost your sales.
3. Upskill your team
If you’ve been thinking about expanding your business and offering new services, now you could have the time to upskill yourself and your team. The silver lining of social isolation is the opportunity to invest time in online courses and webinars (many of which are free or heavily discounted at the moment), reading textbooks and other materials or watching video content that will equip your team with the tools to begin offering new products, delivering your services in alternative ways and bringing added value to your business.
We are loving using Zoom more to keep in touch with clients and are using the opportunity of remote working to trial Microsoft teams to streamline our communications – what’s something new your team could try?
4. Use public relations to effectively convey your messages
When you have developed your “Survive and Thrive amid COVID-19” plan of attack for your business and are ready to execute, it is important to communicate these changes with both your team and customers as well as potential new customers. This is where public relations and communications come in handy. If you have a PR firm on the books, ask them to assist with creating a captivating campaign to help share your new business plan with your internal and external audiences. You should include key messages about your purpose and desired outcomes, and aim to utilise several platforms to get your message out – think social media, internal comms, traditional media and your website or blog.
We launched our new brand the Monday after COVD-19 was recognised as a pandemic (When many would have hesitated and lost). We launched as it’s the right repositioning for us and we did it knowing that we would have a captive audience. The feedback (and the business generated) from clients and the media has been really positive.
The take home lesson? Don’t let a virus rob you of your time to grow and shine.
At Profiler PR we are experienced and passionate about positioning businesses for growth via targeted public relations. If you need help with how to put yourselves in the position to shine amid COVD-19, reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org