As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease, have your customers kept up?

As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease, have customers kept up with the changes your small business has made? Call it a ‘pivot’ or a reinvention, if you are one of the thousands of small businesses who have adapted in order to survive, it’s important to let your customers know that you’re working on new ways to keep your business going and that you need their support.

Perhaps people haven’t been able to engage with you daily on their way to work as they once did (hello to baristas everywhere). Perhaps your shop has been closed, unavailable for those less frequent products and services. Are you getting the most out of major changes you have made over the last couple of months? Your followers on social media and mailing lists may be in the know, but what about new customers? 

You can start with that often undervalued marketing tool, Google My Business. If your business has been affected by COVID-19, update your profile to provide the most accurate info for your customers. You can change your hours or add a temporary closure notice. You can also add more details to your description eg. if your food biz has changed to takeaway or delivery only. The updates will show on Google Search and Maps. Hit this link to learn more.

An alternative way to search has been created by advertising agency MMR. With their own slowdown came the time and expertise to provide a solution. OPEN FOR BUSINESS is an online directory for Australians to find up-to-date information about small businesses.

Using the platform is easy with alphabetical categories matching products and services with suburbs. Clicking on a thumbnail match takes you to an ‘about’ page with all the details you need to decide and engage with a local small business. This is an added voice for small operators to gain work, sales and income, outside of their regular client base.

Within days of launching OPEN FOR BUSINESS, there were over 400 businesses onboard. For some, this is the first opportunity beyond their own individual efforts, to promote a new business structure. Delivery and takeaway options now exist for services and products that were previously only available with a trip to the shops. Online services have exploded in ways not thought of before. Make sure potential customers are aware of the options and aware that you are ready and waiting. Businesses can create their own listings or use the contact form on the website to have the MMR team upload a listing free of charge. All business types are welcome.

A hope for this new platform is that shopping local will become a permanent shift in the community that goes on beyond these times of lockdown and restrictions.

Take the first step to self-employment with free NEIS training. NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat. Many NEIS providers are delivering online training during the COVID-19 restrictions.

For the latest health information and advice regarding COVID-19, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website, which includes coronavirus resources such as a home isolation and care fact sheet.


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