Some businesses are thriving (mostly because  ad impressions cost about 20-35% less right now ) but there are many more — particularly local, small businesses — who are struggling.

Here are a few things I’m doing for/advising my clients to do:

Step into leadership and build a list of potential customers

I’ve been listening to  this podcast for chiropractors  to learn more about the healthcare niche. Particularly to learn how in-person businesses are dealing with these new social distancing measures.

The conclusion?

Unfortunately, there’s not really much you can do about direct revenue. But this is the perfect time to step up as a leader in your local or online community. This is the time to add value, establish authority, and build a list of contacts who will be raring to work with you when you’re ready to reopen your doors.

Specifically, I advise you to…

Run marketing campaigns that message the moment

One of the people I follow closely is  Gary Vaynerchuk . I went on a binge of his content this morning to learn about how to market to people in this time. Here’s what he advises:

  • If you have a B2B or high-ticket B2C business,  build a following on LinkedIn  then use that to drive traffic to an event like a live webinar. (I’ve avoided LinkedIn for my own business for the longest time but I think it’s time to take Gary’s advice and try it.)
  • If you have a local B2C business,  start learning Instagram  and use that to build relationships with people in your local community who have small, but engaged audiences (~1,000 - 25,000 followers).

Then “message in the moment”: focus on how you can creatively help your target audience as they experience isolation, cabin fever, fear, and and uncertain future. Kinda like how these restaurants in Austin are doing  remote cooking classes  - you schedule a class, pick up the ingredients from the restaurant or from the grocery, then participate in the class online. (H/T to Nat Eliason.)

Practice productive paranoia

Here’s how Jim Collins describes productively paranoid top performers in his book, Great By Choice:

“Even in calm, clear, positive conditions 10Xers constantly consider the possibility that events could turn against them at any moment. With 100% certainty—turn against them without warning. And they’d better be prepared.”

I loved reading  ConvertKit founder and CEO Nathan Barry’s message to his team . Nathan became paranoid after losing a year’s worth of booked projects in the ’08 recession. When he started ConvertKit, he vowed to build a company that wouldn’t just survive, but thrive, in a storm. In the post he says,

Moments like this are when you build the company.
I have spent 11 years preparing for this moment.
Let’s take care of ourselves and our families.
Let’s take care of our customers and our community.
Then let’s f*cking go.

Nathan even included a screenshot of the company’s bank balance in the article.

Sitting tight might be the best productively paranoid thing for you to do right now. But if you have enough cash, you should invest in resources to learn an aspect of your business that you haven’t had the time to.

For example,  Common Thread Collective  ran a 2-week free trial for its  eCommerce paid ads membership community  to help small businesses affected by the pandemic. At first I signed up because it was free. But I also wanted to learn more about paid acquisition and Facebook ads. Surprisingly, their service turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for in terms of an advertising education. I know that this membership will benefit me and my clients so I’ve decided to subscribe to their $247/month membership, even after the trial is over.