Amazon informed its workers that they would be out until October 2020, nearly five months from today. Captial one told 40,000 workers that they will be out through Labor day, possibly longer. Running a business during COVID 19 this way doesn’t seem possible.
Google and Facebook told their employees on Thursday that they could stay home until next year, 2021. Nationwide Insurance is shutting down offices around the country and having its 4,000 employees work from home permanently! As of this writing, Twitter announced some of its workers can also work from home permanently. And more announcements are sure to follow.
What you can learn from a big company during the COVID 19 pandemic
Could your company extend the work at home rule like these? I would assume its possible, but most of us running small businesses have little in common with Amazon (23.6 Billion Valuation), Google (632 Billion Valuation), or Capital One (51.6 Billion Total Equity).
Money aside, for one, they have established vast networks, where they can easily communicate with their customer base. And they have secure brand recognition. Take Google, for example, who the heck can compete with these guys head to head? Still thinking, I have got the answer. No one!
We pretty much can say Google is in a class of its own, with no direct competitors. Amazon, flush with cash, can pretty much weather a downturn; in fact, Amazon profits have not gone down but have climbed during the first quarter of 2020.
Big companies have a massive database of customers. Emails addresses, phone numbers, social media connections, etc. And they have the marketing budget and staff able to reach their audience consistently.
So can you, just on a much smaller scale. If you have not been diligent in this area, start now by asking for emails and engaging your customers on social media. Over time you will build an audience.
Now is the time to get your house in order, especially if you able to sell goods and services online.
Online retailers are seeing Black Friday-like sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business.
According to new data from Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, U.S. e-commerce jumped 49% in April, compared to the baseline period in early March before shelter-in-place restrictions were enacted. See this Techcrunch article for more information. Running a business during COVID-19 for some online companies has been a boom.
How to compete with the big boys?
It does not matter if you are a b2b or a b2c business; these same principles apply. You have to make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Running a business during COVID-19 or not.
Make it convenient to do business. Start with your website.
Make it easy; check out Warby Parker’s site: Try frames at home!
Make it fun. This is a pretty cool website! The dollar shave club.
Make it an informative Sharpshaft
Make it quick. Buying from Hyperlite (like Amazon) is fast.
If you are not continually evolving your business or service to be as convenient as possible—especially now—you will get left behind.
When it comes to satisfying your customers, it’s a level playing field; there is no reason a business, no matter which industry, should not strive to make its customer lives more comfortable. Need help? Contact us.
Communicating that your business is alive is the key. If your website is old or outdated, you need to improve it; if you have not been on social media, you need to get there. If you do not have an email list, you must start one. These are all startup tactics, but I like to call them re-start tactics.
Some businesses work well remotely – can yours?
Insurance companies, like Nationwide Insurance, whose offices will be closed permanently by Nov. 1. are betting they can. Employees will be telecommunicating with their offices and customers– for good! Here too, we are reminded of how much money insurance companies spend to reach their customers; how many times a week do you hear the Progressive commercial? To me, it is mind-numbing and excessive! Insurance companies have a robust online presence, and their employees can operate remotely. They surely have the resources to do so.
Facebook and Google made internal announcements Thursday that most employees could telecommute until the end of the year but also said they would reopen offices this summer for employees who need to be there. Source NYTimes
It is no coincidence that tech companies are in the front ranks of the stay-at-home movement. Their software promotes working at a distance. As for us, Slocum Studio, our customer base is nationwide, so we have been telecommunicating for years. Not only while Running a business during COVID-19.
If you are choosing to work from home during this trying time? Or asking your employees to consider this, it is hard to remain motivated or innovative sitting in your living room.
That is a fact. I concentrate better at my office than I do at home. And I find that it is more challenging to communicate with employees when they are working from home. So to help, you might want to invest in some tech tools.
Tools to consider for your business if you have employees working from home.
Can the service industry work remotely during COVID-19?
Hairdressing salons, Chiropractors, and Physical therapists, all needing face-to-face interaction with customers, have no such luxury of working remotely. Here too, you have to be creative. Think of how you would feel walking into one of these businesses yourself; what could you do to make yourself feel comfortable– maybe ask some of your customers and friends for suggestions. You might find this article helpful regarding a nail salon that reopened have installing protective barriers.
What about Companies selling products or manufacturing?
I was thinking about casinos over the weekend. What would I do if I owned a Casino to make people feel safe? I, for one, would not feel comfortable going into rooms with crowds of people jammed around poker and craps tables. So what is the casino owner to do?
Think like a startup, and evaluate your business through the lens of safety to your customer. This process might conclude that plastic columns should be placed between stations that separate customers. The same could apply in manufacturing if stations are closer than six feet apart. See the service industry article above regarding plastic barriers.
The testing of workers weekly might be another consideration. We are seeing testing information from the CDC.
While it is a tough and stressful to rethink your business strategy, this period offers an excellent opportunity to look at how your product or service fits into your customers’ lives.
The Business Insider reported, according to a recent survey of more than 2,000 retailers on their business responses to the coronavirus, that inventory reduction was one of the top-ranked priorities for concerned companies.
- 63% of retailers plan to cancel on-order products
- A majority expect to reduce their next season buys by 25-50%
- ⅓ of store owners expect to delay vendor payments by more than 60 days
Specifically, the study found that retailers are generally evenly split among four main focus areas — increasing online sales, cutting operating costs, reducing inventory, and discounting existing industries. READ MORE
Nothing is normal anymore; we have to adapt and figure out how to conduct business so that our customers and employees feel safe. The sooner you get to work on this, the better chances you and your company will survive during the time.
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