The Covid-19 situation in the United States is one that is not ideal for any business. While it’s impacting every business to some degree, some specific industries like entertainment, hospitality, and travel, have been hit the hardest.
There are two things you can do during a global pandemic like this — you can complain and make excuses or you can buckle down and think of ways to make moves that help your business.
It’s easy to just throw your hands up and say, “Well, it’s out of my control. Whatever happens, happens.” That way of thinking will not have a positive outcome; I can promise you that. What you need to be asking yourself is, “What can I do right now that is going to have a positive impact on my business in the future when things stabilize?”
This can include new product or service offerings, new partnerships, and collaborations, or even complete business pivots. One thing that you can do, that often helps lead to these examples, is networking.
You might be saying, “Yeah, but restaurants are operating at a limited capacity and bars are closed,” but that isn’t an excuse. You can effectively network right now in the middle of a global pandemic as long as you have a mobile phone or laptop and an internet connection.
Here are a few tips that I’ve been personally using with great success during these difficult times.
Take Advantage of Fast Email Response Times
During this “down” time many people are spending more time glued to their mobile devices and their computers. In the end, this can mean much faster email response times. Usually, when you reach out to someone via email you might not receive a quick reply — especially if it’s a cold email.
Since people have more time you are more likely to receive a quicker reply, and you stand a much better chance at getting your emails to read that otherwise would have been deleted and skipped over.
Not only do people have more time, but the events happening in the world are making many people feel more compassionate and understanding. Use this to your advantage. Is there someone you’d love to connect with to discuss an opportunity or to ask for advice? You have nothing to lose — go for it.
Instagram DMs Are a Highly Effective Way to Connect
Don’t know a particular person’s email address? Don’t worry, because you probably know their Instagram handle, right? Or if not you can easily find it. While an email address might take time to dig up, Instagram profiles some up very easily via a Google search.
Increased downtime and at-home time mean that people are on social media more now than ever. And what is the most popular social media platform these days? Instagram. While you might assume some people — especially those with large followings or a public image — don’t check their DMs I can assure you that isn’t the case.
You would be surprised at just who you can connect with via Instagram these days. It used to be very hard to get in front of business executives and decision-makers. Now you can capture their attention instantly without having to go through a corporate communication ladder.
Be brief and be direct to their point. Give them a reason to reply to you. Being vague or sending a long-winded message will not be effective.
Understand That Companies Are Looking for New Customer and Revenue Channels
Now is the perfect time to discuss new partnerships or business opportunities, especially if you have something of value to bring to someone. Companies are frantically looking for new ways to attract new customers and drive additional revenue streams.
It’s become a game of survival, so if you have an idea that could be mutually beneficial reach out. A simple, “Hey, I have a way to help your business make more money,” will get you a response every single time currently.
You should always be thinking of ways to improve your business through strategic partnerships and collaborations, but it’s not always easy to connect with the right people to see them through. Companies are much more receptive to new ideas and proposals right now, so use this as an opportunity to get your foot in the door.
I’ve made several new strategic relationships throughout the entire Covid-19 disaster, focused on business growth, and creating new opportunities.
Think Outside “Normal” Business Hours
Know what times some of my most valuable connections have occurred, both via email and social media? Between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am. It may seem crazy, but it makes sense.
Many high-level executives and business owners are working around the clock in an attempt to push forward and stay above water during this pandemic. Late-night hours are likely spent unwinding and if you catch it just right you may get a response because they are more relaxed and don’t have a million things on their mind.
Think about it — if someone is on their couch, watching TV and scrolling through their Instagram feed and they check their DMs they will have the time to reply if your message catches them right.
The same applies to email. Everyone is connected to their inbox via their phone these days. It’s impossible to get away from it. If a subject line catches their attention and causes them to click-through and the body of your email is direct and to the point, you might get a response, whereas if you sent that email during the middle of the day it would have been deleted.
During these times you cannot have a 9-to-5 mentality. Try different items of the day, keeping in mind what time zone they are in.
Dominic Blanco is a former professional baseball player turned entrepreneur. Blanco is the President and CEO of Athletic Performance Experience, a professional athlete services collective, President and CEO of digital services and experience design agency APE. Sports Group, and Co-Founder of Do It For Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to improve the quality of life of the youth by exposing them to music, arts and sports.
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