Get Creative with Your Business During a Shutdown
Whether you run a brick-and-mortar business or your company exists in the digital sphere, there’s a good chance that your business has been affected by the global shutdown. If you’re finding your business has slowed down or come to a complete halt, you’re not alone.
Here at Namecheap, we recognize that it’s a difficult time for lots of small business owners who may have experienced significant changes in their workflow or might have needed to put their business on hiatus.
Here are some ideas for things you can do right now to keep building and improving your business, even if you have to take a temporary break.
Before you start, take a quick look at the offers we’ve created especially to get you inspired in our #CreateFromHome sale.
Redesign — or Build — Your Website
This is probably a perennial item at the top of many small business owners’ lists. If you’re like many people, you’ve been meaning to work on your website for months—or possibly even years, but never have managed to find a good opportunity to do it.
Well, there’s no time like the present!
The good news is that there are many inexpensive and easy-to-use tools to make website building much simpler than it used to be. Here at Namecheap we really like WordPress, and offer affordable managed WordPress hosting to help you get a site up and running fast. For those who want something different, you might check out our Website Builder. But whichever way you go, this is a great time to dig into the site and update your content, take some new photos, and give the whole thing a makeover.
If you’re new to website design, we also offer a detailed tutorial on building your first website.
Expand Your Social Media Presence
Maybe you’re happy with your website as it is. If that’s the case, maybe instead you could beef up your presence on social media. You could set up a Facebook page or group for your business, create a Twitter or Instagram or TikTok account, or dive into other social media.
If you already have a presence on one or more of these sites, now’s a great time to create new header images for your profile pages as well as schedule a number of social posts to go live over the next few months. Doing some quick design work is a great way to keep your business in your customers’ minds. You can style some quotes from famous people in your field, or use free tools to display your products in a tantalizing way. That way when you open your doors again people will be waiting!
Try the design-creation site Canva to create stunning graphic designs that you can use all over social media. If you need free stock images, Unsplash and Pexels offer a wide range of images for free.
For more help using social media for business, we have a number of articles that might inspire you:
- Where Should Your Business Be on Social Media?
- Why Social Media Should Be Your Secret Business Tool
- Want More Eyeballs? Social Media to the Rescue!
- How to Create Your Business Fanbase on Facebook
Write a Book
Why not? If you have a successful business, you must have a lot of experience and knowledge that you could share. For example, if you’re an accountant, you might write about how to prepare for tax season throughout the year. If you repair cars, you can talk about top things someone can do to keep their car running smoothly. A web designer might write about how to create an effective website for a small business, while a retail shop owner could talk about their experiences with purchasing or dealing with customers.
When you have a book out, you’ll be able to make passive income on book sales, which can be a nice bonus, but that’s not the main reason that you’d want to go down this path. Instead, think of your book as a marketing tool. By having a book out, you’re telling the world that you’re an expert. It also helps you get your name out there to new potential clients who may never have heard of you, but who were wanting to learn more about the kind of work that you do.
For more on this topic, you might want to review my previous article, Why Writing a Book is Good for Business.
Create New Blog Content
Maybe a book is too big a step for you. What you can do instead is create a blog on your business website, or write new content if you already have one.
Blogs are beneficial for many reasons.
- You will help potential customers learn more about you, which can make the difference between them choosing you and another business.
- A blog can help educate them about your products or services. If you’re a graphic designer, you could write articles about how to brand your business, color choices, logo design, and what goes into an effective website.
- A blog establishes credibility. Just like a book…
- With all the additional relevant content on your website, your search engine ranking will improve considerably. Google prioritizes websites that feature new content on a regular basis as well.
- Once you have a number of blog articles, guess what? You can then turn them into a book! You can use each blog as the basis of a chapter, or combine articles on similar topics. If this seems daunting, you can hire a freelance editor to help you organize your content and figure out where might still have some holes.
To read more on this topic, we recommend the following articles:
- The Business Case For Blogging
- How to Generate Blog Ideas Your Audience Will Love
- How to Find Your Perfect Blog Niche
Design Something New for Your Business
What is at the heart of your professional skill or knowledge? Could you use that expertise to create something new using your skills to enhance or expand your business offerings?
These could be things like creating an app or mobile version of your website that allows people to use your website on the go, a new menu or list of services, a brochure or handout, or a sign for your shop. Maybe you can come up with new recipes, paint the chairs in your waiting room, or make new art for the walls.
This is an especially good idea if your business is temporarily on hold. You can be building something behind the scenes that you can launch as soon as things get back to normal and you’re open for business once again.
For a little nudge, here’s an article that might help get you started: You’ve Got A New Business Idea – What’s Next?
Set Up a Tutorial or Webinar
If you can’t get out there to sell your products or services right now in person, why not do it virtually? After all, teaching is always a great way to build your business!
Lots of people, from musicians to yoga instructors are offering free classes on Facebook Live to keep going through the shutdown. Many of them will ask for tips to help support their work.
But you can go beyond the simple video tutorial. Why not create paid webinars or online classes? With so many people stuck at home (and their kids!) there is a great opportunity here to teach what you know to others. Whether you’re a writer or a makeup artist, a baker or a software developer, there are probably people who would pay you to learn the basics of what you do.
Search Engine Journal has a great article on how to get started with webinars — or try this podcast with Amy Porterfield, one of the foremost experts in creating successful webinars.
And be sure to check out our article, Building a Business by Teaching Others.
Build a Digital Portfolio
A digital portfolio is simply a way to display your accomplishments. If you’re an artist, web designer, or writer, what you would include in a portfolio is pretty straightforward. But even if you’re a restaurant owner, an engineer, or gardener you could build a portfolio. Show off photos of your work, talk about your history, display your awards and other recognition, or talk about the kinds of gigs or volunteer projects you’ve worked on. The sky’s the limit here! And when you list out all of the stuff you’ve done, it will help future customers or clients better understand the kind of work you do and why they should choose your business over your competitors.
For some ideas on building a portfolio, check out two of our previous blogs:
Make a New Logo or Business Card
While you’re working on your new services, your website, webinar or book, you’ll need some fresh branding. Why not consider a new logo design and business cards to match? You can hire a freelance graphic designer to redo your branding, or you can try Namecheap’s Logo Maker and Business Card Maker to handle all of your design needs.
What Other Ideas Do You Have?
If you’ve been stuck at home, have you come up with ways to improve your business that we haven’t mentioned above? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.