"Calm in the Storm"
Fear, confusion, uncertainty, relief and gratitude; these are all emotions some of us may have experienced in the last few weeks or may still be feeling. Not once in a million years could we have imagined our current situation, except maybe as the script in a suspense movie. In comparison to a few weeks ago, when Coronavirus updates started taking over the news, so many things have changed. I would say for the most part, that is when the fear and concern may have kicked in. The next big change was the Stay at Home Order that many of us are affected by. We immediately started doing research, reading articles, and government orders to confirm that the Pool & Spa Industry was considered essential. I can speak for the PEP family in saying that we feel fortunate to be an essential business. Hearing from an employee that he is the only one of his five siblings still working, and how relieved he felt to have the ability to help his family should the need arise, confirmed my sense of responsibility and pride to support and serve our trade during these times.
What's the next step for small business owners? It's hard to say for sure as the situation is continually evolving. I would like to suggest that if business has slowed down or you find yourself with free time on the weekends, you use this time to focus on developing your business. Start by writing down your accomplishments, including detailed steps you've taken to succeed and also list improvements or changes you would like to implement. Do research, expand your knowledge and take advantage of online classes or webinars. Revive any projects or ideas you've had on hold due to time constraints. Now is the time to brainstorm and focus on bringing these items to light. Organize your completed project pictures, along with before/after comparisons, now is also a good time to update or create a plan for designing a website or social media front. The goal is to be prepared when business picks up and trust me, it will.
It's important to stay in contact with current and past customers. I recommend contacting them via phone call, text message, e-mail and social media or even a mailed note or card. Your customers love you, so don't be shy to ask for referrals. Your community will be happy to support your business. Since most of us will be spending more time at home this summer, pool owners will want to make sure their pools are up and running. Upsell if possible, offer existing customers goods and services. Sell new accessories, replacement equipment, repairs and maybe even ambiance items like landscape lighting. You're not trying to take advantage of the pandemic, just like your customer you are coping and trying to adjust to the situation. Connecting with your customers will remind them that we are all in this together.
Remember that as business owners we set the tone. We need to remain calm, optimistic and sufficiently informed during these fluctuating circumstances. Employees and customers will react based on your actions. UNITED, we will heal America.