DISCUSSIONS WITH DRUMMOND ST. – How to Rev Up Your Business Engine
I own a business here in Hoboken. It’s managing to do alright, but it’s certainly very slow compared to the pre-COVID days. What’s your advice on how to rev that back up?
– Jennifer J.
This question is really near and dear to my heart as 1) I went through exactly the same situation as you are in and 2) by most accounts, we haven’t yet seen the worst of our economic situation. Now is the time to plan ahead and work as hard as possible to prepare for harder times coming for our business community.
The first piece of advice I can give you is to really make sure all your financials are as tight as they can be. I’m a marketing person so, trust me, you don’t want specific direction from me on that subject. But I can tell you that working with a financial professional is some of the best money I have spent! I can personally recommend DeFalco & Co and, of course, there are many other great resources in town. If you have the budget available, now is the time to have a professional do an audit of your finances and give you guidance on how to use, or save, your money wisely.
The next piece of advice is that nothing works the way it used to. Covid-19 has changed the way we, as human beings, do everything. So traditional methods of reaching new customers just aren’t as reliable as they once were. And of course nowadays budgets are stretched thinner, and the stakes are higher, than ever before.
If you have money to put towards traditional advertising, great! But don’t count on it as you used to.
My approach to this problem was actually to sort of not approach it at all. Once it sunk in that everything has changed, and “normal” wasn’t coming back any time soon, I adjusted my own way of thinking about the problem. Rather than keep doing what I’ve always done, I took a fresh approach.
I decided to focus on the greater good. I began to volunteer my social media services for the Hoboken Relief Fund to help raise money for local businesses and residents impacted by COVID. That helped sharpen my marketing skills, even though client work had slowed down.
Another example of looking at this problem differently – a client of mine told me she invested in an annual pass for MasterClass to learn skills from unexpected places. Even if (especially if) the classes aren’t directly related to running a business, classes in art, or fashion, or music really help you get creative in the way you problem solve. And isn’t that what being a small business owner is all about? Without giving too much away for free – she was amazed at the entrepreneurial lessons she learned from David Sedaris talking about petting a monkey.
One final example to help illustrate my point: a local graphic design studio – Miskowski Design – wanted to help the COVID efforts by creating a logo for “Heal Hoboken”. I was proud to get on board with the initiative to build and launch the Heal Hoboken website as a central hub of news, stories and organizations to help people get involved in the various health, safety and economic efforts happening in Hoboken.
Since then, the Miskowski Design team has created partnerships to offer re-opening kits to local businesses (through MOD Solutions) and also raise money for the Hoboken Relief Fund with an exclusive line of t-shirts, tank tops and tote bags (in collaboration with Local Thread).
Finally, just know that it’s OK to have doubts. It’s OK to have anxiety about the state of your business. But, by taking the time to look for inspiration in unusual places, you’ll be better suited to survive and thrive.
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