Covid-19 Small Business Survival Checklist
Over the past few weeks we have helped many of our clients get ahead of the curve by putting in place a few suggestions we consider fundamental for any business looking to be proactive with their Covid-19 response. As part of these efforts we have developed a checklist that we have sent to all of our clients to help them get organized and we would like to share the same checklist with you.
Step 1 – The Basics:
1. Add a blog post to your website with specific information you’d like to share, especially how you are responding. This information should include:
- What your customers should expect. For example, are you working remote? Can you do virtual meetings? Etc. If you are doing virtual meetings, let them know which service you are using and reiterate how easy it is to use those services. Provide a link to that service and give brief instructions on how to download it. Our favorite is Zoom.us
- Explain which services you are continuously providing and how you are able to provide them.
- Explain how you are helping stop the spread of the virus.
- Explain if you have revised business hours. We have actually extended ours.
- Explain how you are able to communicate with your customers (phone, email, ticket system, chat, text messages, etc). If you are going to offer text messages and you don’t want your customers to have your personal cell phone number, consider SMS apps like ClickSend.com
IMPORTANT: If anything changes, make sure to update the post. You can keep sending customers to the post for reference instead of having to field individual questions.
2. Add a simple message banner to your home page, linking clients to the blog post. You may also want to look at your analytics and see which other pages people enter your website through, and then consider placing the banner on those pages as well.
3. If you are a brick & mortar store, add a second message to your contact page letting folks know you are working remote. This message should stand out. People don’t like to read things, so assure it can’t be missed.
4. Send an email to your current client list announcing the highlights of your response. Don’t put everything into the email. It won’t be read. Make it short and sweet. Then ask readers to visit your blog post for further information. If you don’t have an email list developed, now is a great time to do so. We recommend mailchimp.com to all of our clients.
5. Get on social media and let folks know you are being proactive. If you have an update to your Covid-19 response post, assure to announce it on Social.
6. Offer a pre-purchase discount or add-on to entice customers to buy from you now. This will keep cash flow coming into the business and assure your current employees that work is rolling in. Make sure to put this on your blog post as well.
7. If your business is seeing an influx of work due to the virus, especially medical offices, make sure to send a message to your webmaster to assure your website has adequate bandwidth to handle the influx in web traffic. The last thing you want is for your website to have a “meltdown” in your time of need. We have set all of our medical client sites to unlimited bandwidth at no additional cost.
8. Finally, update your post when needed.
Looking For Advice with your Digital Marketing? We’ll Happily Jump on A Call with you. Just email Stephan personally at [email protected]
Step 2 – Triage Emergency Loan Programs (if needed)
Here are two great emergency loan programs designed to help Florida businesses through this crisis:
1) Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
On March 16, 2020 Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. This Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.
These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources.
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail [email protected] The application period opens March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8, 2020.
For more information, visit FloridaDisasterLoan.org
2) SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan for Florida Businesses
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
For more information, visit https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
Step 3 – Getting Proactive
Once all of your housekeeping is out of the way, it would be a great time to do the following:
1. Review your marketing strategy:
- Have a web meeting with your digital marketing company to discuss future plans.
- Work on your brand message. We implement our client branding based on Donald Miller’s Storybrand. (A great audiobook btw.) Here is the link: storybrand.com
2. Refresh your website
- Refreshing your website with that new design you’ve been looking for.
- Review and rewrite stale website content.
- Update your images
3. Do a competitor analysis.
Here are some ideas of what you could compare:
- Look at your competitors Google Business listings.
- Compare their reviews to yours and set a goal for improvement.
- Review your competitor websites and see if they are doing anything you are doing.
- Use a tool like siteliners.com to run comparison tests between your website content and that of your competitors.
- Ask your digital marketing company to run a keyword gap analysis between you and your competitors and see if you’d like to add any keywords to your marketing lineup.
4. Spruce Up your email signature. So many people see your email signature. Take your email signature to a whole other level with a service like wisestamp.com.
5. Review your analytics. Spend some time in your Google Analytics just to see if there is anything your Digital Marketing Company can improve on.
6. Pre-write your blogs for the rest of the year. We recommend at least one per month.
7. Make a video for your website that explains to visitors why they should hire you. Here are some examples of videos to help you craft your own video.
8. Ask for Google reviews. Ask existing customers to write a review for you on Google. While some companies frown on it, we always recommend our clients to offer a small gift card as a Thank You.
Bonus: Tell your digital marketing company to create a review page on your website like the ones we make for our clients https://www.ladanlaw.com/review/. That way your customers can choose where they want to leave the review.
9. Write a Press Release. We always advocate press releases. Not only do they help your website ranking, but it builds credibility for your brand. We recommend prweb.com
10. Add engagement features to your website. These features tend to help you get more leads
Step 4 – Making it Personal
1. If you can provide quality advice, or give something away for free, do it. Folks will remember that you paid it forward.
2. Reconnect with people you haven’t connected with and use this down time to talk. Setup a call or meet online.
3. Look at Masterclass Online Classes for your own personal enrichment. Watch courses taught by hundreds of highly successful people on all sorts of subjects such as:
- Bob Iger, Disney CEO – The Power of the Disney Brand
- Chris Voss, FBI Hostage Negotiator – Life is a Negotiation
- Sara Blakely, Spanx – Guide to Entrepreneurship
- Jane Goodall, Conservationist – Climate Change
- Bob Woodward, Investigative Journalist – Uncovering Watergate
and hundreds more……..
4. Employees are obviously scared in times like these. They worry about job security. Thus open communication with them is also key. Some of our clients have gone beyond just email updates. If you have more than 50 employees and want to get messages out fast, use twitter or direct text messaging apps to stay in touch.
While these are incredibly difficult times, this too will pass. There is always a silver lining. The worst of times always bring out the best in people. We hope that some of these ideas will be helpful to you. If you have any ideas or would like to share your thoughts regarding this post, please email me personally at [email protected]
Your Get The Clicks Team
– Assure you post a link of your blog post on your Google Business Listing. This will assure visitors who only see your Google Listing are also informed. Keep in mind that these posts expire. Thus you want to plan on reposting them periodically.
– Some of our clients have been working on their referral marketing. We think this is a great idea and felt it was important to add to this post.
– Take a look at some of the interesting (and ingenious) ways some of our clients have started handling remote sales and client meetings:
– Business interruption insurance may be an option if you have considerable business losses as a result of Covid 19. Ask your insurance agent about business interruption insurance. It may not cover this emergency, but you’ll be better prepared for the next time your business suffers similar economic losses.
– Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program are now being accepted. This is $349 Billion in forgivable loans to small businesses. Here is the Fact Sheet: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP–Fact-Sheet.pdf
– Who Can Apply? All businesses – including nonprofits, veterans organizations, Tribal business concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors – with 500 or fewer employees can apply. Businesses in certain industries can have more than 500 employees if they meet applicable SBA employee-based size standards for those industries.
If you are helping in the community, let others know, We are finding some of our clients who are helping in the local community are getting press play.
Several of our clients are taking extra steps to stay in front of their customers through social media, email and phone calls. This has actually developed into a referral marketing strategy for some of them. We highly recommend this to anyone who wants to add referral marketing into their overall business development plan.
Even though Zoom has been getting some bad press-play over the past few weeks, we are seeing several new security features added. We can’t say if these features will stop all of the recent malicious activity, but we are seeing great success engaging with our clients. For anyone who is still concerned about Zoom, consider calling into the meeting or using Google Hangout.
You need to add video meetings into your line-up of client communication moving forward. We feel you should even offer it on the website.
At this point, we are telling clients to make a final determination to pivot or double-down on their business model.