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4 things to do for your business during isolation

Sideshow Sally podcast | Episode 2

The world is in the grip of Coronavirus. What can you do to help your side business after this hibernation? This episode covers 4 things you can do now to get your business ready for when we come out the other side.

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4 things to do for your business during isolation

As I record this podcast, in Australia we are in the midst of Coronavirus. There’s a lot of panic buying still happening, toilet paper has become the hottest commodity in town. We have just over 5000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country so far. People are having to self isolate, travel is banned and group gatherings just aren’t allowed.

Lots of businesses have shut down or gone into hibernation which means there have been lots of people lose their jobs too.

So it’s pretty fair to say things are bit scary right now and by no means do I want to downplay what’s happening, but this episode is going to focus on the flip side: what can we do during this crisis that will help position us well on the other side.

So, here are four things you can do right now to boost your sideshow during this uncertain terrible time.

1. Keep posting on social media

If you have less —or no— work right now, this is the time to really ramp up the marketing of your sideshow.

There are lots of people at home, bored, and wanting both entertainment and information to see them through. And what are they doing? They’re spending more time on social media.

You’ve got to give people what they’re looking for. I don’t think many people will be open for making big purchases at this moment because there’s so much uncertainty, especially financially. So unless you’ve got a product or service that will make life in isolation easier I reckon now is not the time to promote whatever it is that you sell.

Instead, I reckon now is the time to build more personal connections. Everyone is missing social interaction so now is the time to put up more posts of you and what you are doing behind the scenes. Now is the time to be yourself, to let your guard down, to be real and relevant.

In addition to that, humour is going to become more and more important over the next few months. I’ve seen some hilarious memes and videos doing the rounds, and we’re only in week two.

The best way to grow your audience now is to take a break from the promos. Even better though if you can just cleverly hint at your business while growing your business.

2. Start preparing for when the floodgates open

One of the words being bandied around right now is ‘hibernation.’ I think that’s a great description and approach to take to with your sideshow. Because really, it’s not the end, it’s a quiet period for sure, but we will get through it.

I saw a video on Facebook the other day of a massive flock of chickens being released and running free like there’s absolutely no tomorrow. I reckon that’s what people are going to feel like when we come out the other side of this crisis.

So the question is what can you do to make the most of this feeling when it happens? And the next question after that is, what can you do now to prepare for that?

The talk now is that we will be in hibernation for three months. To me that’s a perfect amount of time to get really stuck into the nitty-gritty and map out some ideas to come out of hibernation with.

  • If you sell a product could you have a fantastic offer for the first few people who place an order after the hibernation (like a free gift with purchase)?
  • If you’re a service based business, could you offer an additional service at a discounted rate for first [x] amount of new clients, or a free consultation?
  • If you’re in accommodation, what about a free extra night?

3. Get your systems in order

Many of us have got more time now to get our systems right, so when things pick up again the theory is everything should work more smoothly.

As sole traders, we get so busy working in the business that we don’t have time to work on the business.

So the first step is to identify all the things you usually don’t get time to do, and either do them or come up with an easier way to do them.

One really embarrassing example that I hate to admit, for me, is invoicing. I am really really bad at sending invoices out. I even went a few months once without sending any invoices out. I invested in the accounting software Xero. When I first got it, I set up all my invoices to be recurring for my ongoing clients and they get sent out automatically. It saved so much time and now I get paid on time.

For you, it could be your marketing that’s not systematised. So an idea here is to schedule in your posts for the week ahead. If you haven’t already, check out Facebook Creator Studio. It is free and you can schedule in both Facebook and Instagram posts.

Maybe for you, you just need to keep track of where everything’s up to. Things like:

  • Who you’ve been in contact with
  • What needs to happen next

I love using an Excel spreadsheet for things like this, but there are heaps of apps out there that can help too.

The point is if you use this lull to sort out your backend stuff, when the chickens come bursting out the gates you’ll be ready to handle it.

4. Upskill

As sideshow-ers and new business owners we have to do pretty much everything. So this time of hibernation is perfect for upskilling, learning about the other stuff you need to know to get your sideshow humming along.

There’s plenty of free YouTube videos and mini courses that can teach you about pretty much anything. But I prefer to have one comprehensive course when I want to learn something new, and I supplement that with freebies for all the little extra details that I need.

So one of the places I’ve done a few courses through is Udemy. I’ve found they’re great if you’re on a budget. I’ve done courses on presenting on camera, videography and photography and even more.

Each of those courses was only about $15. The courses take the form of videos that you can watch in your own time, and they even have an app so you can watch it on your phone. I recommend checking out their courses.

Joining Facebook groups is another way of finding out what you don’t know. I have found absolute gold from Facebook groups, just do a search for the topic and heaps of groups come up. Or you can find them through referral. I’ve found them really handy as well.

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