Want Your Small Business To Survive Coronavirus? Get Busy, Get Creative And Reopen Now

Posted: Jun 19, 2020

The other day, a local small-business owner gave me about a dozen reasons why he wasn’t reopening his restaurant. Not one of the reasons had to do with health. He complained about costs, worried about being sued, was frustrated with the city, didn’t trust his customers, and on and on. I’m not sure his business is going to be here next year. There’s always a reason to do nothing, but if you want your small business to survive, doing nothing is not an option.

Communities around the country are slowly reopening for business, and that means opportunities for your small business. But you need to be creative and step up your marketing. And you have to do that soon.

Sure, your income took a big hit because of the shutdown. And sure, the state of the economy is uncertain. But remember that a challenged economy also presents opportunities. A large share of Fortune 500 companies started in recessions. Why? Because customers, like you, look for new solutions and better value for their money. They’re more open to change.

When times are tough, smart small-business owners and managers discover opportunities among the obstacles.

During the shutdown and recent slow reopening, I’ve seen two types of small businesses:

The “take charge” type

An eat-in paella restaurant. They kept their kitchen open for takeout, but also got creative. They devised “make it yourself” at-home paella kits and pre-made cocktails in mason jars. They even sent their takeout paella home in a real paella pan. They didn’t say “what about the cost of our paella pans?” but instead came up with a solution: Require a deposit. Business was so good that they’re going to build a second kitchen just for takeout.

A local coffee house. Their business disappeared overnight. So they started marketing heavily to their customers, and through their app, selling and delivering groceries and specialty bakery items. They put up huge banners in front of their locations. They now have a branded website just for groceries and baked goods.

Nene Italian Market opens for outdoor dining Monday in Evesham as restaurants throughout the state begin to reopen.
A high-end Indian restaurant. When their city said they could take over parking spaces in front of their restaurant for outdoor dining as part of a summer pilot project, they quickly (overnight!) built an inexpensive platform, added inexpensive lights and movable barriers, and were packed with customers within days.

By Rhonda Abrams
June 17, 2020
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