Small business owners, we are living in historical times and uncharted territory. The world has never experienced a pandemic with the same restrictions people are facing at this time. Several Cutting for Business readers have asked me what they should do in these challenging times.
I took a few days to continue to gather new facts as they came in, and now I’m sharing some guidance with you.
I’ll be honest: The current situation isn’t good for small businesses. Locally, I’ve already seen several newer businesses closing and selling their equipment for pennies on the dollar. However, as most Cutting for Business readers are online only retailers – I see everyone coming out the other end of this relatively unscathed.
Let’s take a few minutes to talk about craft businesses – and how you can minimize the negative impacts to yours during this time.
10 Ways to Keep Your Craft Business Running During Uncertain Times
- If business has stalled, remember that you aren’t alone. Recognize that in times of hardship and disaster, people stop spending money on non essential items. Since craft businesses don’t sell essential goods, your business is likely to stall as well. Just know that you aren’t alone.
- Don’t sell your equipment. As I’ve mentioned a few times, consumers aren’t spending and you likely won’t get a good price for used equipment. Instead, hold onto it until this passes then decide whether or not you really want to sell it.
- Turn off your paid advertising campaigns. As I mentioned, the majority of customers aren’t buying anything outside of food, household supplies, and other necessities. There is no reason to exhaust your advertising budget when consumers aren’t spending.
- Do an expense audit to see what expenses you can cut. It’s simple: If your business isn’t bringing in money, you’ll want to cut out the amount of money leaving your business. Consider (at least temporarily) canceling any non essential subscriptions and programs.
- Turn to digital goods – and offer them deeply discounted or for free. If your products are digital like SVG cut files, fonts, or tutorials – now is your time to shine. Offer them free or at a deep discount to encourage sales. Why free? I strongly believe that if you take care of people in hard times they will remember your name and business during better times. If your business doesn’t have a digital component – there’s no better time to explore that than now.
- Go live or make a video to teach followers something. Similar to number 5, use your business’ social media account to teach followers something new. With so many people confined to their homes, boredom is a real issue. Keep followers engaged and help them learn something new. If you normally teach classes related to the Silhouette or Cricut in person, get online and start teaching.
- Don’t stop posting on social media. Keep your business name in front of potential customers by continuing to post to social media. However, be selective with what you post. Posting 10 times a day that you’ve got a sale going on isn’t likely to be well received. Instead, share what is getting you through this challenging time. Share how you are making the best out of life right now. Engage with customers by getting them to share with you.
- Look to things you can control – like your business. You can’t control the outbreak, the media, or the choices other people are making. You can control your reactions and your exposure. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of in media overload. So now, I check the news reports in the morning and only in the morning. Then, I get my day started. You can’t keep your business afloat without some sanity and self care. If the news is stressing you – turn it off or only check in once a day.
- Learn a new skill. Remember that time you said, “I’d love to learn XYZ but I don’t have the time!”? Well, you’ve got lots of time on your hands now. And many, many online course providers are providing free content. What about that website you’ve been wanting to start? Dig into some tutorials and learn as you go to create one.
- Get caught up or get ahead. Maybe your accounting is not up to date (guilty!), maybe you haven’t taken inventory in a long time, or perhaps your crafting space is a wreck. Again, you’ve got plenty of time to tackle some overdue business chores. Once you are caught up, get to crafting. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get all your Christmas products made, photographed, listed online, or packed away for the holiday craft show season? Get to it!
Lastly, while not included on the list: Take a break from your business. I’m being totally serious. If you’ve been working hard for years, take a break. Spend the time with your kids. Write down your thoughts and feelings as we navigate through this pandemic to share with future generations. Unlike regular times, closing your office door and simply taking a break is unlikely to affect much in your business.
Share in the comments – how are you making sure your business will sustain throughout this crisis?