What Local Businesses Are Doing to Overcome COVID-19 and How You Can Apply These Concepts to Your Own Business

virtual yoga class

These are trying times that we’re in, and many small businesses are having to get creative in order to survive this. Let’s take a look at what a few local businesses are doing to overcome COVID-19 and how we can help you implement these ideas into your own business.

Memphis Escape Rooms Goes Virtual

Unfortunately, small businesses who are in the recreational/gaming industry have been hit hard by this virus. These types of businesses that rely on physical locations in order for people to have fun and socialize are now closed and people are spending more of their money on necessities – not entertainment.

However, many families need something to occupy their kids and also feel the need to escape (see what I did there?). This is where Memphis Escape Rooms comes in. And if you’ve never been, you’re missing out. Anyway, since their physical locations have closed, they’ve decided to host live video escape rooms. That’s right – you can enjoy figuring out puzzles and riddles right from the comfort of your home.

Screenshot of Memphis Escape Rooms

How are they able to do this? Simple. Step 1: Own a website where people can book games online. Step 2: They have an employee inside the actual escape room, AKA a player’s “avatar” while the player gives their “avatar” commands through video chat. Pretty neat, huh?

Envision Offers Virtual Yoga Classes

Trust me from experience when I say that it is HARD to motivate yourself to work out from home. There is something about being in a class or group setting that really pushes you. Envision is now offering virtual yoga classes to their members so they can have the benefit of a classroom setting without ever leaving their house.

How are they doing this? Let’s take a look. First, they’re using their website as a tool to provide information to their customers. They explain how virtual classes work and how to sign up for Zoom, a video conference software tool that has become increasingly popular.

Screenshot of Envision’s webpage which informs customers how to use Zoom

Next, they’re giving their customers access to an online booking tool, which lets them pick which class they want to join and when they want to join it. It’s essentially the same process you would go through if you were to book a real yoga class.

Screenshot of Envision’s virtual class schedule

Virtual Food Tours. Yep, You Read That Right.

Having food delivered all the time is convenient, but a big part of why people like going to restaurants is the experience. One business in Memphis strives to keep that experience alive, even during quarantine. City Tasting Tours has created a unique virtual food tour experience.

Screenshot of City Tasting Tours’ website

What is a virtual food tour, you might ask? Essentially they bring you food from 3 local restaurants in South Main for you to enjoy while giving you access to exclusive video that you can watch. You get all the experience of being in the city and going to a restaurant without actually going anywhere. Not only are you getting a cool unique experience, you’re also helping support local restaurants. It’s a win-win.

So, How Can I Apply These Concepts to My Own Business?

It may not be feasible for every business, but there are certainly a few concepts that you can apply to your own business – you just have to get a little creative. These solutions will help your business adapt during social distancing, which is not likely to go away any time soon. It’s better for small businesses to plan long-term, and having an online presence is one way to ensure your longevity and keep cash flowing.

1.) Invest in a Website

First and foremost, what all of these examples above have in common is a website. Yes, you can share information on your Facebook page, but not everyone has social media (Shocking, right? But it shouldn’t be). Or if they’re searching for you on Google, where are they going to go first for information? Your website. Not Facebook. Websites are GREAT tools for sharing up-to-date information.

We make sure all of our websites are easy for our clients to update and change. But if you’re scared of messing things up, don’t worry – we can always update your site quickly for you so you’re ready to adapt to the next apocalyptic event.

Learn more about how a website can help your small business through COVID-19.

virtual workouts web design
An example of one of our website designs.

2.) Make Everything Virtual

The next biggest takeaway from these examples is that you can do almost anything virtually. Own a fitness studio? Host virtual classes. Own a club? Host live videos of the dancers. Own a boutique? Let customers buy your products online. Own a consulting firm? Book virtual appointments. The list goes on. You can figure out a way to make almost anything virtual if you get creative enough.

If you need help to figure out a solution for your business, just schedule a free consultation with us, and we’ll help figure out what kind of website would work best for you!

3.) Don’t Give Out Virtual Content for Free

Just because it’s virtual, doesn’t mean you have to give away virtual classes or live videos for free. You can still have customers pay to watch your videos, and there are a couple ways of going about this.

The first way is setting up a virtual membership website. Essentially, people who go to your website will have to sign up for a membership in order to watch exclusive videos. This is great for businesses who already have membership business models like yoga or fitness instructors. With a booking or appointment plugin, you could even let customers choose which class they want to join.

If you don’t want to set up a membership subscription, you could have customers pay per class or video session. You could have your customers purchase a one-time “virtual ticket” that gives them access to see a live concert.

4.) So What About the Videos?

There are a few ways you can go about this. One option is to host the videos directly on your website via a Vimeo subscription (this lets you post private videos on your website that ONLY members have access to). This is probably the most professional and secure way, but Vimeo subscriptions can get a bit pricey.

Another more affordable way is that you could use something like Zoom, a popular video conferencing tool. With Zoom, you could create exclusive access to live videos by only giving members a secret password to join the video chat.

A third way is to create a private Facebook group. Have your paying customers enter a secret code to get access to the group. Then just post live videos directly to the Facebook group.

Are You Ready to Adapt?

We can help your business go virtual and adapt to this crazy market. Schedule a free consultation with us today so we can find the best solution for your business. Still not sure if your small business needs a website or not? See why having a website for your small business can be more beneficial than you may think!

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