The world is a very different place these days, and many are rightly concerned about the future of their businesses. Things are unstable, and small businesses will be especially hard hit. Below are some tips to consider when adjusting your handmade business and branding, and to the realities of the coronavirus outbreak that may hopefully help soften the blow.

Be careful with branding

You’ve seen it — brands that are trying to make a quick buck off of playing off the coronavirus, shoehorning in messages that come across as tone-deaf, insensitive and conniving. This is not the message you want to put out about your business at this time. Instead, think of ways that your business can help support your community, whether through positive messages of support for local medical staff, to donating unused products if they are useful. Now is not the time to be pushing sales. Any ill will generated by tone-deaf branding in a time of crisis will backfire badly and could make a bad situation even worse.

Stay in touch

Your customers will want to hear from you about what actions you are taking to keep your business, employees (if you have them) and community safe, and many people are aware that small businesses are in for a rough ride and want to find ways to help. This is especially true for small businesses that are supported by strong community ties.

Be open, be honest. Tell your customers exactly what they can expect from you and your business, even if the message is that your business is temporarily closing for community safety. Customers that feel cared for and feel that their brands align with their personal values remain loyal when things get rough.

Consider a pivot

One of the benefits of running a small business is that you can often pivot much more quickly in response to unexpected events than a larger business. Consider ways that you might be able to adapt your products and services in a way that benefits your customers and allows them to keep supporting your business with their purchases and strengthen community ties.

Restaurants may close dining rooms, but keep delivery and pick up options available. Maybe you can offer discounted gift cards for products and services that can be redeemed when your business re-opens in the future. Perhaps you can offer a special product, such as handmade cloth masks, and donate the profits to your local medical center to purchase much-needed medical supplies. Or perhaps you can offer a discount on bath and beauty products for those who are purchasing them for friends and family who are front-line medical workers.

There are myriad ways in which a small business can adapt and change to ride out this difficult time. Remaining conscious of how your business interacts with your customers and community, remaining open and transparent, and being creative with pivots can help ease your business through the challenging days ahead.