Business in the New Reality
This is the third post in the series of Designing your Post-COVID reality, I am sharing about how to create the life, business, and family you want in this new reality. Today I am going to share what business will be like in the new reality, and how business is going to change in the post-COVID era.
I don't even know if there is a post-COVID. But we're living with COVID. Everything is reopening and moving forward. So what does that mean for business?
Predictions for business in the new reality
I'm going to share some of my predictions having 20 years of experience working in business and seeing downturns and other kinds of things happen during those years. You remember 9/11 and what that did for business. This has been a much longer period than 9/11. I remember the economic downturn in '07, '08, or '09.
Business trends going forward
I'm going to share what I think the trends are going to be in business going forward. What's going to stay and what's going to go. When businesses go through something like this, they start to think about what they learned. As a business owner you need to ask:
- What did I learn from this?
- Did I do anything to adapt?
- What do I want to keep?
Think back to how your life changed and how the businesses around you adapted or didn't adapt when everything shut down.
In Connecticut, where I was for most of the pandemic, a lot of businesses offered curbside pickup. And a lot of boutiques started doing Zoom or FaceTime sessions. You could sign up for a session and schedule a meeting where they would help them pick out a gift for someone. Lots of service providers were doing quotes virtually.
Schedule meetings virtually for your business in the new reality
If you are a service provider, and I recommend this for my bookkeepers, if you're driving from meeting to meeting to meet clients, it's very time-consuming. Whereas if you do these meetings on Zoom, you out of one meeting, and hop into another meeting. You can even keep the same link all day and have a waiting room. You can tell your clients that your next meeting is in the waiting room. It helps you move from one appointment to the other. It's much more efficient and time-saving to do your meetings virtually.
I think you are going to see a lot fewer in-person meetings and more zoom meetings. Especially since Zoom is such an easy platform to use.
Digital business will still be a thing for business in the new reality
You are going to continue seeing a lot of digital business and digital signatures. And I think that technology is only going to get better every year. Delivery will get better each year.
I think one thing that restaurants will continue to do is family-style meals. I believe this trend will continue. When we moved to Florida where things are much more open, we still see a lot of that here. Family-style meals are one thing that's wonderful that came out of COVID.
Virtual conferences for business in the new reality
In the conference space, I think we're going to continue to see the virtual ticket as an option. Promoters and people who do conferences have realized that there's a large market out there of people like moms that find it hard to get away but would love to be able to participate. So to have that option to allow you to attend live or virtually is fantastic. And I believe that that is going to continue. We're seeing that with a lot of conferences, even conferences that are booking into next year that are giving that option.
Advanced child tax credit
There is a lot of pent-up income right now. And with the advanced child tax credit coming this month, I think we're going to see more money going out there. So there's a lot of pent-up demand and spending. I think we're going to see a rush and then we're going to see a pullback. Especially if the child tax credit advances stop in January, we're going to see a pullback after that.
And even in business, we're going to see people wanting to go out, see people and spend money. Initially, we are going to see a big push of money come into the economy. And then we're going to see a little bit of a pullback. And I don't know if it's going to be a recession-sized pull back.
If you don't know what I'm talking about with the advanced child tax credit, which you can go to my Facebook page and watch the video. That money coming into the economy is going to make a huge impact on the economy.
Entertainment with business in the new reality
Travel, amusement parks, and hotels are seeing this huge pent-up demand all coming at the same time. Once people get that out of their system, then I think there's going to be a pullback.
Local businesses in the new reality
Local business is going to continue to do well as long as it keeps serving its customers and what they want. Many local businesses adapted well and upped up their social media game. But if you are thinking that with everything opening up again, that you don't need to do the social media game anymore. You're wrong. You have got to stay in the social media game.
You've got to keep inviting people into your store. Reminding people that you're there. Keep doing the videos that you were doing, and those updates.
Many people took this opportunity to see if they liked the service providers they are working with. Or figuring out if they want to work with somebody else. They see all the social media posts and they are reminded of all the services out there. People might make the switch and never come back.
Social is more important than ever. Through the pandemic, people realize that they have a lot of options out there now. They may not have realized it before.
You don't realize how many salons are in your town until somebody in the moms’ group says, "Hey, I'm new to town and I need a haircut." And then the flood of recommendations starts coming in. As you look through the Facebook pages, you see what's out there, and then you pick on based on what you see.
During the pandemic, we saw people rushing to social media to connect to local Facebook groups and things like that. I've talked to some moderators in Facebook groups and they say that local groups have grown tremendously during this process. People wanted to stay connected to their communities and what was going on and what was open or not open.
Many people are relocating around the country and they want to connect to their new area. And so that means growth in Facebook. This also means that it is important for you as a small business owner, to make sure you're connected to your local groups.
It's a great way for you to connect with new and existing people, and to be a part of your community.
If you're not on Nextdoor, that is a phenomenal place to be if you're a business owner. Because it allows you to connect with people. Nextdoor is almost like a giant local Facebook group. And just by putting in your address, you get connected with the neighborhoods around you. It's not a good national networking tool, but if you want to network locally, Nextdoor is fantastic.
I also know some people who are having good luck with Alignable as well, which is business-to-business networking. And so that might be something that you want to check out as well. With Alignable you can more national.
Online networking is still here, and it's not going to go anywhere. But I think that as things continue to open, you're going to see more people wanting to network locally.
I'm starting to see meetup groups that are popping up. If you're on Meetup and you haven't been on in a while, go check it out. There are lots of new groups popping up as people are craving connection.
Local Networking for Business in the New Reality
I'm hoping that the civic groups use this as an opportunity to recruit. I know a lot of the civic groups were struggling before the pandemic hit. When I talk about civic groups, I'm talking about Lion's Club, Out's Club, Kiwanis Club, Silva, Tan, the Jaycees, which is a Junior chamber of commerce.
Now they are trying to figure out what their memberships look like. A lot of these groups that have buildings are selling them because they just couldn't sustain the membership. If you are younger and looking to meet people, or you've got a group of friends that are looking to help out in your community, go check out one of these groups.
There is a lot of business owners in these groups. And there is a lot of knowledge in these groups. It's a natural mentoring situation. And, it's a great way to help your community. They do lots of fundraisers and good things in your communities.
Go check out your local civic groups and see what's available in your area because they do so much good behind the scenes that don't see. And unfortunately, these groups are dying out.
Chambers of Commerce
I'm also interested to see how chambers of commerce come out of this. Because a lot of chambers just kind of sat there and waited. They did not do a good job supporting their business members during the pandemic. And it'll be interesting to see if the businesses continue to support them because I know a lot of people did not feel supported by their chambers during this. If you've got a great story about your local chamber, I'd love to hear it.
Millennials and business in the new reality
A lot of millennials who are very entrepreneurial are wanting something different and exciting. They want something to teach them and help them grow. The problem is that many of the chamber events teach outdated things.
Millennials need new strategies. They need to step up and show people how this all works.
There is much better technology out there. So we need millennials to step up and give better guidance.
Online service providers
Online service providers such as bookkeepers, virtual assistants, online business managers, need to put themselves in front of local people. You need to show them how you can help them, and help them understand what you do.
You also need to show them that they aren't hiring an employee. Explain to them how you can help them in a way that they can afford. Because most people are thinking if they get a bookkeeper, it's going to cost thousands of dollars a month. They don't understand that they can hire someone coming out of Bookkeeper Training School for a couple of hundred dollars a month that will help them with their bookkeeping. And getting everything caught up every month so that they have numbers to work with.
If you're a business owner and you just want to get a bookkeeper for a couple of hundred bucks a month, we have a hire form. Click here to fill out the form. We'll connect you with QuickBooks certified bookkeepers that can help you with your business. This doesn't have to be hard.
Business in the new reality is both national and local
You need to get out of the online space and explain to people what you do. Create those relationships. I did episodes earlier this month that all business is national and all businesses local. You need to need to tap into both of those, especially as things reopen.
I want to know what you think business is going to look like in the next year. Please leave a comment below or share your thoughts in our Small Biz Mama group on Facebook.
- Do you think the economy is going to grow or shrink?
- What is networking going to look like?
- What is a conference is gonna look like?