The pandemic has changed the way everyone does business, from customer communications to virtual meetings and online delivery of services. Now is the time to curate the highlights from this experience and set your business up for success in the post-Covid world.
In May, Pepperlane CEO & Co-Founder (and serial entrepreneur) Sharon Kan hosted an event to help mom business owners imagine what comes next for their businesses. She proposed several key areas for a business owner to examine:
What are the trends right now?
EVERYTHING changed during Covid: how we connect, how we eat, how we manage our homes, how we use transport, and how we consume goods and services...to mention a few. There was a significant uptick in self-care, home economy, and luxury items. People engaged in online services that they never expected, such as counseling, health care visits, or personal training. It comes as no surprise that online shopping saw unprecedented numbers, particularly for high-income earners and millennials, and is expected to increase. Change consulting agency McKinsey & Company reports, based on consumer feedback, “even discretionary categories such as skin care and makeup, apparel, and jewelry and accessories show expected customer growth of more than 15 percent.”
Pepperlane member Shabranae Patton reported an increase in her customers’ online shopping; since her company includes a non-profit element of sending care packages to safe homes, she suspects that customers were even more driven to support a service with this component.
McKinsey & Co predicts certain shifts that occurred will continue post-Covid - think contactless activities such as food and grocery delivery and curbside pickup. As we move forward, it's critical to examine the trends that have changed, what is here to stay, and how your model might incorporate them.
What will your target customers spend money on?
Take a look at your target customers and consider what has changed for them specifically. What problems do they have now? What is going on in their lives? What is stressing them out? What is top of mind for them? How are they consuming? Dig into where your target customers are right now and think about how you might need to shift your messaging to best serve them.
What worked well during the pandemic that you can continue to use to your advantage?
There were occasional positive outcomes during the pandemic, even for some small businesses. Many business owners were able to get creative and think differently about how they provided services. Pepperlane member Kat Bright reports that she has now found her online trainings provide a higher value to her clients. She enriched and broadened her video content, enabling her to go more in-depth than she may have time for in an in-person session. Instead of sending emails, Kat also started recording video messages to her clients in the moment and she reports that her clients love it: “They feel like I am right there with them.”
Is a hybrid model right for you?
Do you need to be in-person, or can you use a blend of live and virtual services? While the virtual model can pose some challenges for different business models, there are also huge productivity wins across the board. Take a look at your overall model and determine where the ROI lands for both you and your customers based on what can be virtual and what should be in-person. Perhaps it’s possible to develop a model that prices your services differently based on the perceived value for the customer.
Pepperlane member Sandy Yukes noted that as a Havening practitioner, she successfully taught her clients to use self-touch for healing during Covid, but now that the world is reopening she plans to offer in-person services at a premium price. For some of her clients, the perceived value of a practitioner's healing touch is high. For those who offer services that are not dependent on in-person interaction, the perceived value may not be impacted and a virtual model may be sufficient. What are your customers looking for right now?
What boundaries might you set?
As eager as we may be to return to life as we knew it, we know there are some considerations that are part of our new normal - if not forever, certainly for the near future. If you decide to engage with customers in person, consider the guidelines that will not only protect your customers, but that will protect you and your loved ones. Some choices may include wearing masks, discussing vaccination status, providing hand sanitizing stations, etc. Regardless of the measures you take, the key is clarity in communication. Stay ahead of any potential questions your customers may have. Create a document that you can share beforehand that clearly lists the precautions you will be taking, and any requests you may have. Have that document posted on your website and in your venue, if applicable.
Communication is a critical component of building trust with you & your customers, and your customers will crave trust now more than ever.
How can you reengage your customers post-Covid?
Show them that you can bring them even more value now than ever before! Your customers’ concerns and needs have likely shifted...how can you speak to them and let them know that you are ready to meet them where they are? As a small business owner, you have an opportunity to create a high-touch, personalized experience for your customers that they may not get elsewhere. Let your customers and former customers know how much they mean to you!
Here are a few suggestions of ways to reestablish connections with former customers so they know you are listening:
- Send a survey to determine their current needs
- Utilize your newsletter to announce any new offerings or changes
- Consider a time-limited special for former customers
- Launch a fun contest to reengage former customers
- Maximize your email list: send 1:1 personalized emails to your former customers to check in on them
If you are looking for a community of mom business owners who have been where you’ve been, we’ve got you. Click here for a complimentary ticket to one of our 90-minute Boost mini-masterminds where you can get feedback and support from an intimate group of moms & women who understand the challenges (and joys!) of running a small business.