With so many unknowns being thrown at us, it’s wonderful to see how small business owners are not only adapting, but finding creative ways to make social distancing not so anti-social via online marketing.
In the spirit of helping you to come up with some ideas for your business, and in sharing some bright spots to lift your day and your hopes, here are some of the businesses that exemplify the “never say die” attitude of small business owners around the world.
Let’s face it, small business owners have to be creative in order to get through all kinds of ‘tough times’. Our favorites are the ones who do so by thinking outside the box while still managing to keep their sense of humor.
The following are businesses who are either coming up with completely new ideas or are finding fun and interesting ways to present operational changes to their customers:
Restaurant – This family-owned business is not only offering pick-up service and adult beverages to go, but they also created this fun video about how they’re keeping their staff and customers safe. Read our article for more about how this restaurant responded to the COVID-19 situation.
The Cheese Shop
Gourmet Foods – As a gourmet cheese shop and deli, some may have not thought of them as a need — pre-COVID-19. However, The Cheese Shop has made some adjustments to their business model and are now providing much-needed (and wanted) grocery items, fresh sandwiches, and full family meals. Keeping their shop open as a ‘sanctuary of normalcy’, they’re sharing mouth-watering videos on Facebook, posting daily specials via social media, and using email campaigns to announce weekly “Friday dinners to go”. In addition to all of that, they’re offering curbside pickup and reminding everyone that they ship.
Violinist – After having to cancel her tour, Gaelynn Lea decided to hold virtual concerts online for her fans and supporters. During the in-home concerts, viewers can make donations to help offset some of the losses she is incurring due to canceling her regular tour. Besides the virtual concerts, she’s constantly finding new ways to bring her music to her fans. To see what she’s doing next, check out her event schedule.
Gift Shop – While the owner, Marie, has chosen to temporarily close her stores to the public, she is offering something she’s calling “Virtual Shopping” where Marie uses Facebook Live & Facetime to ‘walk’ customers through the store so they can see the items she has in stock and order directly from her. Using this method allows Marie to maintain the personal shopping experience that her customers know and love. Once an order has been completed, Marie offers both “no-touch pickup” and delivery.
Dine-in Pizza chain – Since dining-in is not currently allowed, Sal’s has added online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery by DoorDash. In addition, Sal’s is offering special pricing on cheese pizzas, participating in #PizzaWithAPurpose, and even created make your own pizza kits that his customers can take home to make a fun night in.
A Better Garage Door, Inc.
Home & Building Services – With the emphasis on restaurants being hit hard, they’re reaching out on Facebook to let people know that the service industry is being hit as well and that now is a good time to get some work done on your house because business is slow and it’ll be easy to get an appointment. They also point out that many home services (like garage door repairs, air conditioner servicing and even roofing repairs) can be done with little to no-contact — keeping you and your family safe.
Above and beyond
Some businesses and organizations are not only making changes to adapt for the good of their own businesses and nonprofits but are also doing good for their community at the same time.
Here are some of our favorites:
Gifford Cat Shelter
America’s first free-roam, no-kill animal shelter – Besides continuing to hold their annual online fundraiser, the “Cutest Pet” photo contest” where participants donate a dollar to vote for the cutest pet (the winner gets a $50 gift card), in their most recent newsletter, “The Scoop”, they announced that they are expanding their mission to include a Cat Food Pantry to help members of their local community who need supplies for their cat(s).
A Gift Card & Store Credit Solutions Provider – While this small business doesn’t have a shop or store that’s being affected by COVID-19, they’re aware that the small businesses they work with are. Desiring to help out where they can, they’re offering all Shopify members a 90-day free trial of their gift card program.
Bistro – These guys are pulling out all the stops to drive traffic and cheer up their community. They started by offering takeout and delivery, then they sent out a request for kid’s drawings to hang up in their windows. Now, they’re partnering with Be Like Henry, a charity organization, to send meals to a local Doctors and Nurses at a new COVID-19 testing center.
Saratoga County Chamber
Chamber of Commerce – Always supporting their local businesses, this Chamber of Commerce sent out this email announcing the launch of their “first-ever ‘Take Out Week’” in support of the many local restaurants, retailers and breweries that are now offering take-out services in lieu of dining in.
How is your small business adapting?
If your business has come up with an inventive way to adapt and overcome COVID-19 and social distancing, please share it with us and other small business owners on either our Community discussion page or our Small Business Support Kit Forum on Facebook. Or better yet, share it both places to help even more small business owners like yourself.
Need some help? As this coronavirus situation changes the way we do small business marketing, we’ll be sharing additional guidance for small business owners. For starters, check out our Small Business Support Kits (there’s one for nonprofits too!) with tools, resources, and support to help you navigate these challenging times.
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