I’ve been absolutely inundated over the last few days with messages from small and medium business owners who like many of you have had their income cut virtually overnight through something that’s nobody’s direct fault. It has left many people worried, anxious and stressed about finances and the future of their livelihoods.
I’ve sat down over the last few days and really pulled apart different industries to really think about which ways they can implement other revenue strategies in their business to generate an income. Obviously these aren’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme and are just ideas that may help save your business if you can implement them properly and get your current community behind them.
If I think of any other ways over the next few days I’ll keep adding to my suggestions so please bookmark this and check for updates. If you follow my social channels I’ll let you know if there’s been an update.
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Bars and Restaurants
Look people need to eat to survive so don’t panic. If they can’t (or won’t) come to you, you go to them. It’s as simple as that. Think about your regular clientele what are your most popular dishes? Can you take pre-orders for say Sunday Dinners and deliver these within a 5-mile radius on Sunday. Or perhaps do a pie night on a Tuesday. Look at what food you can deliver and maybe slim down your menu to one dish a day that you’re going to deliver. Take payments over the phone, get yourself on Just Eat or Ubereats in the interim and only offer a small easy to manage menu.
Sidenote: If you have leftover food why not advertise it at a cut-price for collection (as long as people can possibly come out) on TooGoodToGo.
Example businesses doing this well are:
Cookery boxes and classes
What about your best selling dishes, why not deconstruct them and box them up, sell meal boxes similar to Gousto and Hello Fresh with the correct ingredients for the portions each customer orders. Then get yourself in front of a camera and record a step-by-step how-to video ‘Cooking with the Chefs’ this now turns your delicious dishes into a completely immersive and enjoyable experience PLUS your customers will build a rapport with your chefs and feel even more part of your community. In addition to this, you’re going to build a bank of content for your social media channels (don’t forget YouTube) and this will further help build a community.
Create a downloadable cookbook
Your favourite (easy) recipes, can you put them together and create an eBook – you can make these on Canva for free that you can add to your website and charge a fee for?
Turn your location into a whole foods greengrocer
If you have commitments to your suppliers, what about turning your bar or restaurant into a greengrocer with the food you’d be using to cook for customers you can now divide these down into portions and sell to people looking to buy great local produce. Create a whole foods marketplace.
Host virtual pub quizzes
Run a weekly pub quiz? Who says that has to stop? Use an app like Zoom to see those participating and still charge the entrance fee via Paypal or your website. You can also use Eventbrite. You can even use real-time quiz makers such as Slido with short countdowns to avoid cheating and you can easily pay the winners via Paypal.
Example businesses that do this really well are:
Offer virtual personal shopping
The first diversification suggestion here is offering to do Facetime personal shopping experience. You can have your customers call up via Facetime (or any other video messaging) you can ask them what items they’re interested in and then guide them through the products showing them visually. This way they’re not buying blind. Take payment over the phone and have the items delivered. Depending on your financial situation think about offering FREE delivery (especially in the local area) or a cut-rate delivery price.
Businesses doing this really well are:
Push your website sales
Ramp up your website. You should all have a retail store or an online retail outlet like Etsy for example, push this as much as you can for essential purchases you think people may need to buy, again offer free or cut-price delivery. If you don’t have a website, use this time to create a website you actually don’t need any knowledge in ‘website development’ if you use Shopify (my favourite and best rated eCommerce platform) as they guide you through it step by step.
Create digital products
What can you create that’s digital? Can you make any digital products that you can sell? Such as eBooks, courses, training programmes or even a magazine about your niche. These are virtual products that don’t require any handling or shipping and your customers can receive instantly.
Gym & Fitness Industry
For gyms and the fitness industry, the main thing here is to ensure that you’re providing your service even if your doors are closed. The best way to do this is to provide at-home fitness classes online. If your business has the capability to add online classes via a portal where you can upload the content and gym members log in with their unique membership details then this is a perfect place to add daily workouts that don’t require the use of any equipment. This will not only boost morale but will also help retain gym subscriptions.
Sell online gym passes
You can also at this time market to a wider audience and sell online only gym passes, this can be on a class or monthly rolling subscription and a great business model to carry through after this period.
Example businesses that do this really well are:
Create downloadable training/nutritional plans
A further add on you could offer here (depending on availability and obviously demand) would be to add a nutritional plan upsell or a complete fitness programme with nutritional information and set exercises – of course, this guide would need to take into account the accessibility to food and that all exercises are done at home
Example businesses that do this really well are:
Salon Based Businesses
Hair and beauty salons, nail technicians or even dog groomers all fall into this category. As a lot of these businesses require being in close proximity to each other then these businesses seem to be one of the most affected.
Offer online education
Can you offer online training such as ‘how to paint your nails properly’ for a small fee? If we go into lockdown and people can’t go out, they’ll become bored and need to be entertained. Showing them step-by-step and in a chatty setting using Zoom or Patreon will not only show them a basic skill (they will still come to get it done properly afterwards) but will give them the feel of being in a salon setting with the chat and banter.
You don’t need to do this 1-on-1 you can teach a group for more interaction people will value this more than watching a YouTube video as you can help with any queries. Same goes with showing basic makeup application or how to do a ‘bouncy blow-dry’ for hairdressers. Dog groomers can teach basic maintenance like ‘how to trim feet pads’.
This is a broader spectrum of businesses so perhaps won’t apply to all of you who run a service-based business but some ideas can be adapted.
Offer online consultations
Have potential customers video call you to show you the scope of work so you can create estimates and price up jobs without leaving your home. When agreed, ask for a 10% confirmation deposit and make sure you keep a record of the jobs coming in so that as soon as safe to do so you can complete jobs and get paid the remainder of the customer groundwork you’re doing now.
Are you a painter? Why not create a course or a step-by-step eBook to show people how to properly paint a wall. Using Zoom you can show them how to do complete DIY tasks and answer any of the queries they may have. Whilst YouTube may be the answer for many, a lot of people aren’t confident about going it alone.
For example, you’re a plumber and can’t get out to work, chances are people will be doing more washing staying at home and therefore more washing machines may need to be repaired. Why not offer virtual call outs with video calling to see if you can see what the issue is and guide the customer to fix the issue through your guidance and explanations. Do remember to email a contract to cover your back here and record all of your video calls for your own peace of mind.
I genuinely hope that these ideas have been of some value and together we can get through this, don’t be ashamed to tell your customers and community if you’re scared or if you’re struggling they may help drive sales or somebody may help suggest a wonderful idea that people can really get behind. It’s okay to be vulnerable, we are all in this together! We will get through it and your business will be more resilient on the other side of it because you’ll appreciate that diversification is key.
If you have any tips for your industry that you could offer to others then please do share them in the comments section below. If you are struggling and need to just have an honest non-judgemental conversation with somebody drop me a message on social media or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org I’m all ears and we can have a (virtual) coffee or wine together! I genuinely mean that from the bottom of my heart. And finally, as always, if you’ve found this of any value please, please do share it with other worried business owners as it might just help them sleep a little easier at night.