A Few Things to Do While COVID-19 Affects Your Business
Now that the COVID-19 virus has reared its’ ugly head in the U.S. we have just begun to feel the effects, grocery stores are out of most everything and now have limited hours. Restaurants are limited to take out and curbside pickup. Kids are now out of school for weeks and counting. But how will it affect your business? Conferences have been postponed or canceled, people are being home shored for a few weeks while the crisis passes, and now it looks as if many spring vacations may be canceled. With all those cancelations our businesses may take a financial hit. So what can you do?
- Hopefully, you have some money squirreled away for a rainy day. You may need to make ends meet for a short period of time with some of that savings. One bright spot in all this, gas is at a couple year low and with less appointments you’ll be driving less. Take some time to clean out your car.
- Plan an email campaign, tell your clients, “Hey I’m still open for business, I practice extremely hygienic practices now and always by thoroughly washing as I arrive and leave. (You may consider disinfecting door knobs, garage keypads too, use disposable gloves or better yet do both, and let them know you’re doing it) something a quick note/email saying I value your patronage and would love to service your pets during this time.” Especially if you now have openings in your schedule let your clients know, perhaps even those who generally use you just for pet sitting may ask you for a dog walk especially if you can offer “curbside service” to those who are home. Don’t be afraid to let them know you really want the work.
- If you don’t have an emergency plan in place establish one, what if one of your clients is quarantined during their travels, will you be able to service them beyond the scheduled time? I asked clients to purchase extra food, litter etc. in case they’re stranded somewhere and I need to continue visits. Also, what if either you or one of your sitters is out sick for a period of time, will you be able to cover their sits or who will cover yours. Make a plan now before you need it!
- Use your time off wisely, take some time for yourself but also take some time to get out there and volunteer - NAPPS does committee ZOOM meetings or go out and market your business, if you’re like many of my sitters who are normally too busy during the day to stop and meet the local pet supply owners use this time to get to know them and introduce or re-introduce yourself. Drop off some brochures, re-stock the business cards if you’re practicing self-quarantine make a phone call or send a nice handwritten note, no one does that anymore!
- Review your client cancelation policy. If you have one in place great! Decide if you’ll be lenient with your policy during this time. If you don’t have one, you may want to consider implementing one but probably once the crisis has passed, it won’t look good to implement something for people you already have scheduled. Compassion for your clients will go a long way at this time of uncertainty and you’ll create more loyalty by showing understanding.
- Take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Wash your hands, take your vitamins, eat well, rest and get some exercise and understand this will pass, most airlines, hotels etc. are allowing people to reschedule their trips so you may have some down time now but rest up for when they all head out at the same time. In the meantime I’ve enjoyed watching the families come together and spend time in the parks or out on the trails, flying kites, riding bikes or playing ball. It’s the perfect time to re-connect with family or old friends, pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to recently catch up and enjoy connecting with humans. It will lift your spirits and allow us to focus on the good things in life.