How do you operate a business when all but one of your revenue streams has been closed?
Several non essential businesses are reopening today in our state. Ours does not fall into any of the categories, but even if we did we would continue to hunker down for not only our safety but also the safety of others. Right now both the numbers of new cases and deaths are still increasing daily. For us, the most responsible thing to do is to continue to limit our interactions with people until the numbers start to decrease and the medical professionals advise that it’s safe.
So what does this mean for our little business? How are we going to get through this?
Honestly, much of that is unknown, which is the scary part. But I can tell you what we are doing, what we can’t do, and ideas we’re thinking about.
As most of you know by now, when we lost all sources of income we decided we should at least do what we could to help others. So we started making masks to donate to medical professionals. It was truly never our intent to sell them. As a matter of fact I was very outspoken that they were not for sale. Then the government said we should all wear them when we’re out in public. I’ll skip all the back and forth conversations we had internally about it and fast forward to today: we’re now selling masks to the public, and also still donating to medical professionals.
As uncomfortable as I still find it at times, we are going to continue to sell masks for as long as they are needed. I’m grateful for the sales. It’s paying our bills and keeping us fed. But I know this is temporary. At some point everyone that needs or wants a mask will have one (or several). Then what?
Ugh, that’s the unknown scary part. My fear is that we won’t have festivals at all this year, which is where we get the bulk of our sales. I think the boutiques we’re in will reopen in the next few months, but I worry that their sales will be down because of the public’s fear. And to be 100% honest, until we started selling masks, we did not have that many online sales for the little nest.
I own that. We did well at festivals, so I put all of our eggs in that one basket and didn’t invest in or try to grow online revenue. Those chickens have come home to roost. So what now? How do I fix this? Hell, if I know. Below are some things I’m toying with:
- Reopening our Etsy site.
- Going live from time to time with special offers.
- Actually using our mailing list.
- Learning how to make our website more user and mobile friendly (it looks totally different on a computer screen)
- Offering pre-sales for bodysuits. All of our inventory is listed online. Lots of sizes are sold out. We have to place minimum orders to get blanks. It’s something we can’t afford to do right now without the money upfront. But is there even enough demand for our bodysuits to warrant a presale?
I’m totally open to any and all of your suggestions. Send me a DM on social media, email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). I feel kinda bad that this is not an upbeat, cheerful, or even remotely funny post. It’s just not where I’m at right now. I sincerely hope that we all get through to the other side of this.
I know I’ve said this many times, but here are ways you can support your favorite small businesses right now:
- Make a purchase, but if you can’t (and trust us, we get it) then
- Like, comment, or share their social media posts.
- If it’s possible to leave them positive reviews (on their site, yahoo, yelp, google), please do so.
- Tell your friends and family about the business and why you love it so much. Get others excited about supporting them, too.
We will be sending out a news letter on Saturday that will have a coupon code listed in it (though I don’t know yet what that will be). So if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter below.
Y’all, please stay safe & well,