How to step up when times are tough.

6 Minutes

Well that just happened. Seemingly overnight, things have gone more-than-a-little sideways in the world. For many businesses that means making some serious adjustments in order to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Here at Twirling, we’re very fortunate that we can work remotely. Our goal is to make sure we don’t miss a beat, and our clients don’t notice a difference in our quarantined service. But not every business is so lucky to be digital-based. So how can your business continue to keep its head above water during this global crisis? We have some ideas. 

But first, let us start by saying that the last thing we’d want to do is try to upsell to you in these turbulent times. That’s just not how we roll. Instead we want to share some high-level insights that could apply to your business and the way you communicate. That way, when things return back to normal in the coming month(s), you’re ready to hit the ground running. Having a plan can make a huge difference.

We hope you’ll find this helpful, and if there’s anything we can do to help (in business or as humans), you know where to find us (online, social distancing ourselves).

Share something valuable, not just informational.

Ok, so we’ve made it through the first major wave of corporate COVID-19 messaging. How many emails did you receive from companies talking about how they’re stepping up their cleaning and sanitation practices? Maybe you sent one, and that’s totally ok. What comes next is far more important.

People are online right now more than ever. So we need to think carefully about the messages we’re sending them. Communications should always provide real, tangible value, and that’s especially true now.  

The notion of value can take on many forms. It can be reaffirming stability and consistency with your B2B clients or investors. It can be providing customers with different ways to engage with your product or service online (see “Shifting to Virtual” section). Or it can simply be about making your followers smile, feel comforted or get inspired. 

It’s also worthwhile to consider the messaging within your company walls…er within the walls of your employees’ home offices. How can you keep teams connected and motivated to get things done? Let’s think of ways to rally our teams to stay physically active, healthy, and socially engaged in isolation.

We’ve found monthly wellness challenges are a great way to boost morale and keep in touch. A little friendly competition never hurts, especially when there’s a prize involved. This month, our challenge is around mindfulness. We figure if we all spend more time meditating and less time going down a rabbit hole of COVID-19 media, we’ll be more focused, calm, centred.

Shift your thinking to virtual.

There’s no better time than now to make a digital pivot. For many operations, a shift to more online sales is an obvious step. E-commerce, click-and-collect, and home delivery can all be powerful solutions. There are plenty of ways to continue to run a business online and engage with an audience who’s stuck at home.

Let’s take for example, a fitness centre. Clearly, in-person traffic will be impacted by what’s going on. Members are likely to cancel or put holds on their monthly memberships. But people still want to workout. How about virtual bootcamps, video personal training sessions, or a social feed full of the best at-home workouts and nutrition tips on a budget.

Or another example, a retail business that was planning an in-store event. Think about how this could be achieved and promoted digitally. A few options could include personal shopping sessions, a live stream showcasing the latest products, or an online ad campaign that promotes free shipping on online orders.

We’re already seeing some amazing virtual events being hosted by organizations in Kelowna. In fact, we’re helping out JCI Kelowna with branding for their Stay @ Home Gala. This virtual event includes guest speakers, a silent auction and dinner from local restaurants delivered to your door. It’s all about maintaining the spirit of a live event, while supporting local businesses.

It goes without saying that if you had any physical media planned or trade shows scheduled, it would be wise to shift resources towards digital media. SEO, online ads, and email campaigns all have major upside in reaching audiences who are spending way more time on the internet.

Be really flexible.

Businesses, including ours, need to have yogi-level flexibility in times like these. That means being more agile than ever. It means bending in order to not break. Chances are you‘ve already made some flexible moves to adjust to having your teams work remotely. But how have the needs of your customers changed? And how will you adapt?

Things are changing rapidly in the marketplace on a weekly and now daily basis. This more than likely affects the way your business operates. Whether it’s how you interact with customers, perform services, or receive payments, some short-term flexibility can go a long way.   

At Twirling, we want to make sure our processes and policies don’t get in the way of getting things done. Yes, we take great pride in our process which has evolved and been optimized over several years. But we’re open to new approaches that best suit this new reality.  If an e-commerce website needs to go up ASAP, we’re figuring out how we can make that happen faster than normal. If a client needs special terms, we’ll work with that too. We’re looking for ways to streamline things on a project-by-project basis in order to deliver quality digital products when they’re needed most.

Let’s face it, every company says they have exceptional customer service. Stepping up now with ultimate flexibility to support customers is an ideal way to back it up.

Positivity over panic.

Positive vibes can spread faster than a virus. Courage will always give fear a proverbial ass-kicking. Crisis can lead to remarkable creativity.

Of course, we know it won’t all be smooth sailing (callback to that ‘weathering the storm’ metaphor). It’s not going to be easy, and tough decisions have to be made. Things could certainly get worse before they get better. But for every selfish hoarding video, there’s a story of people acting selflessly to help out those in their community. And for every painful cost-cutting measure, there’s a potential game-changing solution for short-term survival and long-term growth.

Our social structure has evolved to thrive online – now is the time to lean into that reality. So, what can you do online today to step up for your customers, your employees and your business as a whole?