We keep hearing that life is “on pause,” but actually, this is a time to thrive. You don’t need to put yourself or your business on hold just because you can’t operate how you once did (two months ago). There are ways to recalibrate your business model and your thinking so that you can set yourself up now for success in the future. Here are some tips about how to keep kicking ass in this new normal:
Do the Unexpected
Like all non-essential businesses, Bel-Aire Diner in Queens shut down during the pandemic. Now, it’s a drive-in movie theater. Most restaurants and bars around New York are offering takeout, delivery, and even creating pop-up windows for alcohol. But Bel-Aire did something completely out of its norm. And yet it works. The drive-in spots have filled up. And by offering a menu for moviegoers and asking for a $20 donation, they’re bringing in money while also providing a fun and safe way for people to get out of the house. Don’t just think about what services you’ve provided in the past. Look at the skills and products you haven’t offered before. Just because something isn’t currently in your wheelhouse, doesn’t mean it can’t be.
Go Above and Beyond
Perhaps you own a boutique and a client calls to order a dress and asks it to be couriered to her apartment—but you don’t do deliveries. Well, start delivering. This isn’t a time to be a stickler to your business model if it’s holding you back. Furthermore, your clients won’t forget that you did them a favor during the pandemic. They’ll be grateful that you shifted gears to help them and make them feel comfortable. Go above and beyond for your employees and your customers. This will give you a better retention rate and it will remind people about why they want to work with you.
Ask for Help
We’re all in vulnerable positions right now, so our first instinct might be to overcompensate and act like everything’s okay. And yes, you should be confident, but don’t be afraid to tell your customers you’re struggling. Being honest with them will not only help them connect with you on a personal level, but it might encourage them to help you financially—whether that’s buying a product you sell or giving a donation. Remember the cliché “No news is good news?” If your business is struggling but you don’t share this information, your customers will assume you’re staying afloat. If they know the real situation though, it will actually encourage them to lend a hand. Sympathy and support can go a long way in helping you thrive.
Take a Cue
It’s time to take inventory of what and who is thriving during the pandemic. We’ve been in the lockdown long enough to understand what is working (Netflix) and what isn’t (barbershops). Figure out who has gotten a handle on coronavirus—maybe it’s a makeup blogger or a bookstore owner—and learn from them about how you can pivot your own strategy. A successful business offers a good or service that no one else can in the way you do. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t learn valuable lessons or take note from others. Look at what others have done before you and follow their lead.
We’re all craving human contact right now. And we’re on our phones a lot, too. If you don’t have much of a social media presence, now would be a good time to get on board. Keep your clients and employees informed of your business by posting updates to Instagram Stories or Twitter. You’ll connect with them on a deeper level and they’ll get to see and know the face behind the brand. And if you’re already thriving on social media, think of ways you can be even more personal. This is important for fostering current relationships and broadening your base. By telling your followers funny stories about how you’re spending quarantine or how you’re feeling lonely on Friday nights, you’ll build your business under lockdown.
It’s hard to say how long life will be “on pause” or whether we will incur another lockdown in the coming months. But like I said, being “on pause” doesn’t mean stopping altogether. In fact, don’t think of being on pause at all. There is plenty you can do to keep kicking ass during Covid. It might seem scary or odd to do work you wouldn’t normally do, but that’s the new normal.
A version of this article was originally published on SoFi.