Small businesses around the world, including equine businesses, are struggling to cope with the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating. Lost business, closures, new regulations... the list goes on. While the pandemic is creating new challenges for equine businesses, it is also creating new opportunities to get creative in how we are approaching business as usual. Read on to discover some important considerations and creative ideas for revitalizing your equine business during this historic time.
As many businesses begin the process of reopening after weeks of shut down, there are a few important factors to consider before reopening.
Talk with your advisors. Be sure to speak with your insurance agent, accountant and business attorney before reopening your business. You should determine how COVID-19 affects your insurance liability policy and determine what, if any, coverage you have if someone contracts the virus on your premises. It would also be a good idea to talk with your attorney to determine if you should update your liability release forms to include COVID-19 verbiage. Finally, your accountant should be able to help you apply for any PPP loans needed for your business.
Come up with a plan. It is important to think through the steps to reopening your business. Get everything organized and cleaned. Put away any unneccessary items to limit the number of items clients will be touching. Hang signs reminding clients of social distancing protocol everywhere in your business.
Document, document, document. There is a saying, "If it's not documented, it's not done." It is prudent to document your planned measures for implementing social distancing and compliance with your local government's guidelines. If there were ever any question as to whether your business complied with government regulations, documentation is key to proving against negligence. Have clients read and acknowledge documented social distancing protocol at your place of business.
Since many businesses will be operating at a limited capacity to ensure they can implement social distancing guidelines, it is a great time to get creative with how you can use technology to enhance your current offerings or create new virtual offerings for your clients.
Get organized. Now is a great time to work on some of those administrative tasks that you've been putting on the back burner. Update your contracts, get your books up to date, and update client paperwork.
Revamp your marketing plan. If you don't have a marketing plan, now's the time to create one. Or, revisit your marketing plan and see how you can maximize your effectiveness on social media. Use this time to give your website a much-needed overhaul, update your branding if needed, and update your Facebook business page.
Get comfortable with technology. Zoom (an online videoconferencing platform) is making a huge impact these days with everyone being quarantined at home. There are so many creative ideas people are coming up with to remain social while social distancing through Zoom or other applications. Here are just a few ideas:
Virtual trivia/game night. Trivia is huge right now, and so easy to do. Finding ways to keep your clients engaged while in lockdown is going to pay dividends when businesses start to open back up. Other games such as jeopardy and bingo can also be done virtually. Offer this for free to your clients for fun, or charge a small entry fee.
Teach a subject on a webinar. There are likely many opportunities to educate your clients on areas of your business or your offerings. You can do a live webinar for clients on Zoom, Google Meet, Facebook, etc.
Create a book club and do a live chat session. People are spending more time at home and have more time to actually read books these days. Create a book club with your clients and host a virtual meet up to discuss.
Host a watch party. You can host a live watch party on Facebook on an already existing video such as an educational session, or critique an Olympic ride or freestyle.
Interview a guest speaker. Team up with other professionals in the industry to host a joint webinar/interview.
Virtual ride-a-test, horse shows, or lessons. You can offer clients a way to continue their riding education virtually. Have clients record their rides at home and submit them for feedback.
Do you have a creative idea for running your equine business during COVID-19? We would love to hear it in the comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NLD Business Solutions provides accounting, marketing, and consulting for businesses and nonprofits in the equine industry. Contact us at email@example.com to discuss your equine business' needs.