Santa Clarita Coronavirus Resources: Local experts share 15 things small business owners can do today, during quarantine, to prepare for the rebound.
As a community, we’re no strangers to emergency situations. Whether it’s a wildfire, earthquake or public safety threat, this community shows up to support the people and families who’ve been affected.
But right now, COVID-19 is a new kind of threat. We haven’t yet dealt with something like this as a community, state, country or globe. Many areas of our lives have suddenly become uncertain – from health to business to basic needs like food and water. And as we’re all quickly learning, nothing’s scarier than that.
We get it. We’re scared, too. We’ve had to make tough decisions, and we continue to look ahead with more guesswork than is comfortable.
But here’s the thing: Amidst all these new unknowns and fears, there are still some things we can be certain of. There are some things we can still count on. So instead of continuing to focus on the unknowns, let take stock of the things we do know:
We know how to show up for each other.
We know how to get through tough times.
And we know how to stick together.
You can already see these truths playing out in our community right now. Our local government, institutions and businesses are responding with caution and care. Families are staying home to take care of each other, and friends are connecting online to figure out creative solutions. Together, we’re all figuring out how to support each other from a distance.
And that’s the kind of community strength we know we can count on.
Yes, these might be difficult and uncertain times, but we’re in charge of how we react to and handle the situation that faces us. It’s more important than ever to stay on our game as business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals – because what we do now may define how we rebound later.
That’s why we want to do our part by continuing to provide support and information when it comes to marketing your business.
Santa Clarita Coronavirus Resources For Small Businesses
On Tuesday, March 17, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a live webinar that gathered our community’s leading authorities in local government, healthcare and the business world to discuss “COVID-19 & Business Continuity.”
All the speakers shared incredibly valuable information that helped businesses better understand the scope of the illness, how they can be prepared to handle it, and how to pivot appropriately.
Brian Koegle, Partner of Poole Shaffery & Koegle, spoke about timely topics in employment law, including the legalities of sick leave, working from home, workplace screenings, furloughs and more. Every business owner should brush up on these laws and stay up-to-date on changes to these laws as we progress in a state of emergency.
Paul and Lisa Raggio of One True North, a leadership and business coaching firm, shared useful tips on how to safely continue working and prepare for the rebound. Their common-sense steps and valuable insight was reassuring in a time of chaos, and their tips are an excellent place to start as we all figure out how to move forward.
It’s no longer business as usual, and for that reason, we wanted to share …
15 Things You Can Do For Your Small Business During Quarantine To Prepare For The Rebound
Communicate With Your Clients & Community
In this time of uncertainty, it’s crucial that you lead with clarity, honesty and transparency – by communicating often. Consider setting up a crisis communication team that dispatches regular updates and handles questions.
When speaking to your employees, tell them exactly how you’re going to proceed and secure a stable future for them and the company. How are we going to get through this? Map it out for them.
When speaking to your clients and community, recognize that this is an opportunity to reinforce your mission and core values. Who are you as a company? What’s important to you? How can you demonstrate those values with your response to a crisis?
Lead From A Place Of Abundance
Once you’ve communicated to your employees, clients and community, there’s one tip we think is more important than all the others – because it’s a mindset that will see you through any crisis.
“It’s important to adopt a growth versus scarcity mindset,” says One True North. “Stay confident, positive and decisive. Demonstrate control.”
If the current crisis is changing business as usual, you need to change your mindset as usual. Break away from your old way of thinking and get focused on the mission at hand. Pivot. Bob and weave. Adjust accordingly. Do whatever it takes to keep moving forward – and do it with energy. You have to believe you’re going to get through this if you want your team and your customers to believe it, too.
Make Sure Changes In Operations Are Legal
This isn’t the type of crisis most small businesses have planned for, so many business owners aren’t informed about the effects of their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Make sure you talk to an employment and labor law attorney, like Brian Koegle of Poole Shaffery & Koegle, if you’re dealing with the following changes in operations: written procedures to limit communicable diseases, extended sick leave, worker’s comp claims, employees working from home, reduced hours, furloughs or lay-offs, workplace health screenings or tests, and more.
A few good takeaways to remember include: Employers cannot ask an employee about their health condition, and employee use of personal technology at home needs to be reimbursed. Additionally, some laws are in flux as governing bodies and boards respond to the current crisis. For example, the common cold or flu is not normally covered under disability; however, current conditions make these symptoms qualify. Therefore, if an employee contracts COVID-19 at work, it can be considered a worker’s comp case.
For more information, watch Brian Koegle’s presentation during the SCV Chamber of Commerce webinar: https://www.facebook.com/khtsradio/videos/637070473796696.
Know Your Numbers
Before you assume the worst, it’s important to know what that might look like. While it’s not necessarily a painless task, you need to make sure you know your numbers and have a good understanding of your cash flow. How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your revenue already? Where do you stand today? How do you expect it to affect your future projections?
There’s a lot to do when it comes to the numbers, so here are a few steps to keep you busy and, more importantly, on target.
- Get a clear and accurate picture of your costs, revenue, projections, savings and emergency funds. Consider the worst and best case scenarios.
- Look at the entirety of your business and find ways to become more agile, valuable and present in your marketplace.
- Plan on being on the defense through the third quarter.
- Revise your second- and third-quarter plans.
- Create a strategy to enter the economic rebound from a position of strength.
- Make a list of actions to keep your business afloat and healthy. Delegate what you can’t tackle quickly.
- If you expect to be cash-tight tomorrow, explore your lending options today.
Explore Your Options & Resources
Let’s talk a little more about that last one. New financial assistance options are quickly becoming available from multiple sources, whether you’re an employer or employee. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is processing economic injury loans now, and Employment Development Department (EDD) funds are available to subsidize wages up to 60%. Even Facebook has pledged $100 million in aid for small businesses, though we have yet to see what that might look like. And don’t forget, you can always talk to a business adviser for free through the Small Business Development Center.
For more information about these services and others, please visit the SCV Chamber’s website and click on the “COVID-19” tab, and check out the extensive resources on the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. (SCVEDC) resource page.
Revisit Your Foundation
Once you’ve assessed the situation and put a plan in place, use extra downtime as an opportunity to revisit your foundation or, as One True North calls it, “your business tool box.” If you have the following items, do inventory on what needs to be updated or revised. If you don’t have these items, use this time to create them.
- Documented resources, advisors and contingency plans for emergencies
- Standard policies, operating procedures and workflows
- Mission statement, vision statement, unique value proposition, core values, etc.
- Business, financial and marketing plans
- Unused photo, video, audio and written content backlogs
- Social media profiles, strategies, content, analytics, audits, etc.
Brainstorm New Revenue Streams
For some businesses, it may be necessary to come up with entirely new revenue streams or rely on your “backup” revenue streams more than ever before. In this case, think outside of the box. No idea is too big, small or off-the-wall. Consider your options carefully and be ready to pivot if needed. This is also a good time to find ways to support your business through passive income. Get your whole team together, virtually, and ask for ideas and suggestions, then repeat with clients, friends or community members to get a focus-group vibe. Choose low-risk, low-cost, high-yield ideas.
Provide Free Informational Content
If you have expertise that can help people make the most of their situation, consider sharing it for free online. Right now, we’re all looking for good content to watch at home and share with each other. Small businesses are searching for ways to adapt. And we’re all trying to figure out how to stay healthy and help out those who are vulnerable.
How can you lend a voice that’s reassuring, helpful or useful to people? What solutions can you provide? For example, if you’re a chiropractor, can you use Facebook Live to demonstrate the setup of ergonomic home workstations? Cleaning companies can write blogs about the most commonly touched surfaces or review the best antibacterial cleaning products. Hair stylists, makeup artists and manicurists can build brand awareness with YouTube tutorials to keep people busy. Fitness professionals can create at-home workouts or share health information via podcasts. Decide what you want to communicate, and then pick the best medium to share it. Get in front of people by solving their problems in a crisis.
Partner With Other Small Businesses
Better yet – work with other small businesses to provide free information and services to larger audiences at once. For example, a personal trainer, nutritionist and physical education teacher could talk about healthy activities to do together as a family during a Facebook Live. Marketing agencies could partner to host a free webinar about online marketing strategies for small businesses. If each business promotes the online event on their own channels, more people are likely to tune in, and you’ll be in front of new audiences.
Don’t Stop Marketing
In addition to your free informational content, please don’t stop your regular marketing! Use this time to increase your audience, which includes maintaining the efforts you’ve already been making. This is the time to ramp up, not slow down. We will come out of this at some point, and probably sooner than we think. You want to be at the front of the line when people start shopping and reaching out for services after weeks of containment.
“Those who continue to market and sell weather the crisis far better than those who come to a halt in their panic,” One True North said.
Educate Your Audience On Your Products & Services
An easy way to increase your marketing is to simply educate your audience about your products and services. If you’re an upscale restaurant, for example, do a video wine tasting of the reds on your menu and suggest food pairings, then sell the bottles with your curbside takeout service. Maybe you sell boutique home goods or specialty paper goods. Talk about the quality of your products and where they’re sourced from. You can even offer home delivery if the price is right. If you offer a service that comes with a lot of questions or misconceptions, spend this time creating content that explains what you do.
Engage Your Social Audience With Games & Giveaways
This is a great opportunity to ramp up your social media content and build your following – because so many people are spending time online right now. Choose a social media platform and create some form of incentive for people to follow your business. Create a trivia game by sharing information about your business and giving prizes to the winners. Do the whole thing on a Facebook Live. Or simply do a giveaway for follows. Again, partner with other businesses to really go big.
Refresh & Deepen Your Industry Knowledge
Look for free resources to learn something new. Get up-to-date on the latest developments in your field or industry. Deepen your knowledge in a weak area, or expand your skill set to diversify your offerings. If you’ve ever wanted to take that course or get that certification, now is the time.
We have plenty of educational blogs that teach the basics of visual marketing for Santa Clarita professionals, as well as videos on SchlickArt TV. We also offer a free Visual Marketing Presentation that teaches the basics of using your smartphone to create beautiful photography and video. The purpose of this presentation is to go over the basics of being on camera, as well as using the camera for visual marketing purposes.
We’re excited to be releasing the SchlickArt Visual Marketing Presentation as a Video Series in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more information by following our social media channels.
Repurpose Old Content
If you want to increase your online presence but are busy with other pressing issues, you don’t even have to invest a ton of time and energy into your content. Simply repurpose old posts that have performed well over time. Take a blog and chunk it down into social media posts. Use a set of blogs as scripts for a video series and launch with all the prep work done for you already. Start with a video and use a transcription app to create a blog version. Share positive reviews or testimonials by visiting your own Yelp page and creating a graphic to highlight your customer’s positive experience. Sometimes the answer is to get creative – not busy.
Tell Your Story
Finally, remember the power of storytelling, especially in difficult times. We’re all searching for connection right now, and sometimes the best way to reach people is to simply show up and share. If you’ve overcome a time of panic in your industry before, discuss your lessons. Or use this time to reflect on your “why” and tell the story of your business. Everyone’s in the mood for a good story with a happy ending right now.
Share your passion. Share your insight. Share your solutions.
Now is the time to remember why you started, while simultaneously keeping your eye on where you’re headed. There’s always a good story in that kind of conflict. Find it and let people in on your journey. We have a feeling this community is about to become more united than ever.
Santa Clarita Coronavirus Resources: Visual Marketing Tips In A Digital World
We’re providing tips and resources from other local businesses and organizations, as well as sharing our best thoughts on how to move forward with your marketing during these trying times. We’ll do our best to answer your questions or point you to the right person who can.
Visual Marketing In Santa Clarita
At SchlickArt, we offer more than photography and video services to the Santa Clarita area and beyond. We do our best to provide our clients with marketing expertise and direction every chance we get. We know you need your images and video to help grow your business — that’s why you invest in them, and that’s why do, too. Please take a minute to search through our blogs to find the visual marketing information that will help your business, or give us a call. We’re happy to help!
About Our Quality Video Marketing in Santa Clarita
With years of professional experience, Brian not only has an eye for crisp visuals and engaging shots — but also an ear for powerful storytelling. In his vision, marketing video should communicate the why behind your business and present it to the world in the most compelling visual format possible. With a camera in his hand, Brian can turn a vision into reality and business-as-usual marketing videos into an opportunity to connect.
About SchlickArt Photography and Video
SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.