What is 22nd Century Business? 

Unless you’ve been living under the rock or in a cave for the last months, the entire world has shifted drastically in more ways than not. Among the biggest shifts is essentially moving to virtual/remote. Unless you’re considered an essential business in most parts of the US, Canada, and across the globe, your business is closed. Sadly, this has literally decimated many of your businesses—local small businesses are getting hammered right now. No one has ever seen something like this—no one is ever prepared for this crisis.

There’s a couple of things that you can do:

You can basically do nothing and let everything kind of happen to you and kind of go with the flow. However, as you continue to do that, things are going to continue to gravel around you. 

You can attempt to build the motor around what you do have or you can get creative—think a little bit outside the box. And that really is the main focus of this particular episode. 

I wanted to share a few stories and just various things to kind of start to inspire you a bit. So here is kind of what I’m seeing—a couple of stories of businesses that have rapidly pivoted to not just working in a virtual environment, but more so communicating. That is basically the bigger picture I want you all to see. The reason I am more interested in that more than anything else is that I am a straight shooter. My aim, as always, is to give you one piece of advice information tactic every day with no other kind of fluff around it. 

Let’s be realistic—this is not going to be a great time to make a lot of money in most local small businesses. So, the chances are pretty high that you’re spending more of your time looking at the SBA loans, financial assistance, or insurance claims and getting your savings in order. You crack your brains out just trying to figure out how to survive, rather than how you can generate more orders to your restaurant? You are not thinking about how you can sell more sets of Invisalign or how you can book out more landscaping jobs. I’m not saying that everything has come to a standstill, but if you’ve listened to some of the past episodes over the last two weeks, you’ve got to keep in mind how you’re framing things from a call to action standpoint. From there, you’ve got to make sure you’re calling out their fears and you’re communicating in a way that’s appropriate for the time being.

There are a few small businesses that are doing a great job going virtual and ensuring that they are connecting and communicating. They’re finding some unique and interesting ways to have a virtual experience. Let me give you some examples. 

The first one is local tutoring. If you were having a tutor, you were used to going into a center. But, obviously, that has pivoted to virtual lessons now and using tools like Google Classroom to emulate that experience. My daughter’s dance class this evening has a session and that session is with a couple of classes. They gave you directions to how you’re going to set the camera up. You’re gonna make sure you’re wearing proper attire and they’re going to have a 30-minute fun session. They’ve been doing those once or twice a week. The great thing about these virtual lessons is that they’re not charging for them. If people want to pay, they can and it’s more of a donation. Most importantly, they’re continuing the communication. 

If you look at childcare centers—they are moving to offering virtual classrooms, remote learning, and virtual lesson plans. 

I see auto dealers that are kind of going through and showing the inventory that they have on their lot. They are not necessarily doing a live auction, but they’re showing the vehicles and answering questions live. 

If you haven’t noticed, the company Carvanha has insanely ramped up their marketing. Because their whole pitch is to order a car from your phone that is delivered to your doorstep. If you don’t like it, you have seven days to return it. Absolutely perfect time to be marketing that business—couldn’t get any better time for them.

The biggest question now is, how would a local auto dealer compete with that? Well, exactly as I just said. If you were relying on the hard clothes and getting people in now, what can you afford in terms of a monthly payment and then all that shenanigans of “you got to talk to the manager and all of that”. Have a fun experience, where you’re showing the vehicles that you actually have on the lot and if people are interested, you find ways to make it happen—hundred percent virtual experience.

I’ve seen local comedy clubs that decided to then take what they were doing online, having a closed-door Facebook group and literally have the comedians coming in there. And, if people want to make donations, they can make donations. The donations are not lining the owners’ pockets, but rather going to the team members, the people, the waitresses, and the waiters that relied on all that business that’s now closed. 

You’ve got to really think outside the box of what you can do virtually. How can your business stay top of mind so that when this thing is over, that your prospects and your customers return back quickly, and they return back to you versus the other business down the street that they decided to continue to double down or triple down on what they were doing. Leverage on tools Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Classroom, Google Meet, FaceTime, or Skype conferences. You can leverage a tool called Loom and you can record fun little videos and send those to your clients. For example, just say, “Hey, we miss you”. 

You can use a tool like BombBomb and send video emails. If you’re stuck at home doing nothing, how fun would that be if a doctor, a dentist, or a chiropractor, who never had to do things virtually send 60-second of BombBomb videos saying hello and that you’re thinking about the person. 

Think outside the box as to how you can continue to stay top of mind in a non-threatening way. Keep your brand visible virtually, be of some kind of service to your clients, and just get yourself out there. That’s the biggest message for today. 

Looking forward to hearing any thoughts, comments, questions, and seeing you back here tomorrow. 

Get out there, make a change, and take some action.