We are all wondering how long this Covid-19 pandemic will last especially us small business owners. If you’ve been in business for several years, my hope is that this is when your emergency fund kicks in to continue paying for your business expenses as well as support your family for the next few months. If it’s not something you’ve been able to do yet, we now know how important it really is because we never really know what the future holds. Natural disasters, sickness and illness, and unanticipated events are things that we can’t foresee but are ultimately inevitable. This is when preparation is key and is something we must work into our monthly budgets.
But while we are all sitting at home during this time figuring out our days, we can keep our businesses moving in the right direction. I’ve compiled a list of things we can do to work ON our businesses. Our day-to-day is normally filled with working IN our business. Let’s use this time to do those things that always end up at the end of to-do list but truly are important. Right now we have the time, so let’s all get working!
- Go over your monthly expenses and prepare your budget. Are there subscriptions that you can cut that aren’t necessities? Have you been buying too much of something in particular? Go through and see what your biggest expenses are and evaluate those as well. Are their expenses where amounts can be lowered? Perhaps a different provider could help lower that amount. Maybe by reducing or cutting some of your current expenses, you might be able to add in that emergency fund amount if you don’t have this in there already.
- Work on your brand. Yes this could be a new logo, but more importantly what is your brands story. Why do you do what you do? Use that answer to evaluate if the things you are currently doing directly correlate with your why. Don’t forget that the product you create is a reflection of you. Re-evaluate anything that deoesn’t align with your business brand story.
- Thoroughly audit your website. Now is the time to update photos, create new copy, work on your SEO, repair broken links, etc. Have a few friends go through your website for you and give you some critique, then update!
- We ultimately should want our businesses to run themselves. Nows the time to work on creating templates of emails you always use and automate them. If you have a Customer Relationship Management software, you can work on perfecting your processes such as email marketing sequences for inquiries, info emails for before and after the appointment, and tweaking questionnaires with information that is more beneficial for your sessions and for better story telling on social media after the fact. If you don’t have a CRM, get one it’s a life saver!
- Create a video series to share on your website, social media accounts or YouTube. This can be about why your business is different, your processes, behind the scenes, etc. Think about how your personal experiences can also translate to your business or brand story and how to incorporate video about yourself.
- Plan ahead and schedule your social media content. Go through old images that have never been used, reuse images and content, or create new ones! Consistency on social media is key.
Engage with your audience by doing more LIVES on social media. This can be about your everyday, or just like the videos above, about your business.
Learn how to market on Pinterest. Pinterest is one of the largest website traffic drivers in the world and if you haven’t learned how to properly use it for your business now is the time.
You may not be able to spend the money on ads right now, but knowing how to structure and run Ads on Facebook and Google is valuable for the future. Learn the ins and outs of how to properly set them up for the best success.
Work on client guides and other marketing materials. Bought a template a long time ago? Work on it now. These are important touch points that help push those key elements of your business to your client and future clients.
Create blog content that is beneficial to your audience. This could be about your processes but it could also be about other information your ideal client might be looking for. Key is learning who your ideal client is and what they like.
- Be a guest blogger on someone else’s blog who also targets your ideal client. Use your knowledge to expand into other peoples markets. Not only will their clients see you but it helps with backlinks on SEO.
Education is absolutely priceless. Watch classes and workshops that were purchased but never watched. There is always something to learn.
We all realize as entrepreneurs that having multiple forms of income is important. Use this time to create a class or write an ebook. What topic are you constantly talking about? What topic do people want to pick your brain about? This answer is what you want to sell.
Create lead generation materials to build up your newsletter and email list and then create the marketing campaign sequence for once you get that newsletter subscriber. An email list is gold when your leads are down. This helps let people know about current news in your business and even specials you are running. It can be a constant touch point for you to stay fresh in their minds.
If you haven’t already, plan out the rest of the year. What promotions will you be doing? What are you focusing on? Use this information to create content that will help promote those things. This info can also be used to create those future newsletters and social media content ahead of time.
Learn a new skill or technique within your industry (for photography: off camera lighting, strobes, etc). Maybe this new skill can expand your business.
Strengthen a weakness. Have a hard time doing a certain technique? Practice. Practice. Practice.
Sell old equipment, props, and furniture that is no longer needed. You may be able to make some extra cash!
Use the time to do some reorganizing and get things clutter free. Organize your documents, office supplies or redecorate your office.
- Organize your computer. This includes photos on desktop and hard drives, moving old files to externals and deleting unused documents and downloads. A clean fresh start never hurt anyone and may make your machine faster too!
Order new samples if your vendors are still open. Work on new designs for album samples, wall galleries etc.
Swap branding photoshoots with another photographer (preferably if you can do these outdoor at a distance).
- Blog old sessions. It’s never too late to show sessions that never made it out into the web.
- Photograph your products, studio, and/or props and create new stock images for your website and social media.
- Start a project. Could be a daily or weekly photo project documenting your family, a self portrait project. These projects can not only enhance your skills but can also be beneficial to putting more of “you” on social media.
- Learn a brand new skill such as calligraphy, painting, knitting, sewing, or crafting. Who knows, maybe it strikes up a second business!
Support other entrepreneurs during this time. Share their posts, leave reviews, and/or purchase products or gift cards.
Take a much needed REAL break and recharge. We all need a break sometimes and this is the perfect time to do it.
sally salernogreat ideas!
TamsenSo many great ideas Isabel! I was immediately overwhelmed thinking about all the things I needed to do during this time and having it all listed in a notebook by my computer and numbered according to priority really helped me to find my focus!
AllysonWhat great ideas! I am already working on a few of these. Excited I now have a few more ideas. Thank you!
Nicole BieleninLove this!! And it reminds me- I have a couple courses that I’ve purchased that I need to watch!
Amanda MildebrandtWhat a great list!! I have been working on a few of these but definitely adding a few more to the list now.
CristinaThank you for putting these together! I live all of these recommendations. Can’t wait to start diving deep into the why behind my photography business and help others as well!
Halleigh HillSuch great advice ! I am using this downtime to try a hobby I have always wanted to do but never had the time. Also learning all about SEOs haha
MelissaThese are all fantastic – thanks for sharing!
kathryneThis is great!!!
ReneeThis super helpful! I see lots I can do 🙂
KristinOh my goodness thank you for these amazing tips! So many things I need to be working on!