5 Ways to Promote Your Business During COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has hit small businesses hard. In Southern California, small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. Nearly 80% of all jobs created in the state over the past decade were in low-end service businesses. Now, almost 90% of companies say they have been severely affected by the pandemic, and half have seen their revenues fall by at least 50%.

Many of the businesses that are struggling were forced to close during the lockdown because they weren’t deemed essential. Other companies have lost significant sales and profits as people have turned away from their services.

Small businesses have had to make some significant changes to promote their offerings. In a recent Nola.com podcast episode, local shop owner Bill Floyd discusses the changes he has made to his quick lube shop, Lucas Oil Center, to survive this crisis. It’s a great listen for any business owner. Here are a few of the main takeaways you might want to try for your own business.

  • Be aware of your customer’s needs. Bill shares how one of the first things he focused on was the health and safety of his employees and customers by putting into place proper sanitation and health practices. Then he made sure to promote what he was doing to his customers and employees. One specific example he shared was his point of sale system. Many of his customers expressed that they felt uncomfortable scanning a credit or debit card at the machine, so he made sure to offer touchless payment transactions. It helped bring peace of mind to his customers and showed them that he cared about their health and safety.
  • Be transparent with employees. Bill’s business has been affected by the pandemic, and that has had severe economic consequences. He’s done his best to mitigate the damage by looking for ways to cut back his budget and expenses but sacrifices still had to be made. Many of his employee’s hours had to be cut back, as well as store hours to reduce costs and to keep everyone safe. Throughout this challenging process, Bill stressed that he has tried to be as transparent as possible with his team. It hasn’t been easy, but his transparency has helped his team understand why these changes were necessary for his business.
  • Show the value of what you do. As a quick lube business, Bill struggled at the beginning of the pandemic because his company wasn’t declared an essential business. The closure was tough as Bill felt that making sure his customers had reliable service for their vehicles was necessary. He worked hard to showcase to his customers how essential proper vehicle maintenance is and the value of the service he offers. Using social media to promote his business has been a crucial part of his strategy. If your business is struggling, it may be an opportunity to focus on the value that you can offer customers. Use social media platforms to educate your customers on what you do and why they need your services. Everyone is tightening their belts right now as the economic consequences of COVID-19 continue to take a toll. You have to make sure that your customers think your services are worth it. Make sure you also use social media to promote any changes your business may be experiencing, such as a change in hours or the need for customers to wear cloth facial coverings.
  • Look for help. There is help to be found if your business is struggling. Research available government assistance programs or talk to your financial institution if your business is struggling to make ends meet. There is no shame in asking for some help during these unprecedented times. Seeking assistance may be the thing that makes the difference between your business staying open or having to close. Do everything you can to keep the lights on.
  • Be creative. No one knows how long this pandemic will continue or what the long-term effects of it may be. We do know that how we interact with one another is changing. Contactless options and online sales may be here to stay for a while yet. Customers are changing their habits, and we can’t expect to go back to the way things were before. Bill has found that being creative and willing to try new things is a vital part of pivoting your business during this crisis. If you work hard, you may just find that there are opportunities for your business to succeed in different ways. Be willing to try new ways of doing things, offer promotions to your customers and new services.

As a family-owned business for over fifty years, we’ve seen a lot of changes and difficulties. The crisis facing our community now is one of the most difficult. As a community, we need to band together to support local businesses so that they can survive this difficult time.

Many of our customers are small and family-owned businesses that support the local economy. We would hate to see them close. If your business is struggling, try some of these tips. If you are fortunate to be surviving this crisis, do your part to support the community by shopping local and promoting your favorite local businesses to family and friends. Together we can make it through this.