Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful to Jumpstart Your Business Post-COVID


By Andy Smith

Small businesses and solo entrepreneurs who are brave, proactive, creative, and diligent about networking will have the most success increasing revenue and jumpstarting their businesses as we emerge from the worst of the COVID crisis.

To get a taste of what expo members should be doing to re-boot, we reached out to coaches and business owners with experience in accounting, crisis management, and sales for guidance. 

Innovators are Thriving in 2021!

“The clients we’re working with today are facing challenges around optimizing their cash flow, fixing profit leaks, and finding ways to navigate through the challenges presented by COVID. Some clients were hit hard, like the travel industry. Others were left with a lot of uncertainty around their future, like summer camps and brick & mortar retailers,” says Mathew Heggem, Mathew President of DashboardNY, which provides financial insights to SMBs that fix profit leaks, master cash flow, and accelerate business growth.

“However, others have fully leveraged this time to develop new business models, migrated towards eCommerce, and are finding their way out of the darkness. The innovators are the ones that are thriving.”

Tulsa, OK-based business coach Bri Seeley believes the pandemic prompted many entrepreneurs to create new revenue, like the owner of a photography business, whose in-person services were cut off due to the pandemic. “She launched a consulting business to help models develop strategies to launch or accelerate their careers. She began with digital courses and expanded into 1-on-1 coaching, inevitably quintupling her monthly income in just a few short weeks.”

This diversification approach to revenue generation will continue in 2021, and beyond, she says. “In addition, over the past year, many of my clients realized life is short and began taking more risks, developing new projects, and even starting new careers.”

Her retail clients also have learned the importance of developing:

  • SEO strategies
  • Affiliate and referral marketing initiatives, and
  • Press placements

The Past is Prologue—Look to 2008 for Wisdom

Right now, the best way to start building or rebuilding your small business is to take action. 

Spend some money today on promotional efforts, and you’ll be ahead of the game because, in 3-6 months, all your competitors will be spending on post-COVID marketing efforts, and you’ll have to invest a lot more to get noticed, says Adele Cehrs, crisis communications expert, author, and co-founder of the When and How Agency, based in suburban Washington, D.C. 

“It’s the people who invest when everything is down who come out on top. There are tons of businesses that did well in 2008 when the financial crisis happened because they kept their heads and weren’t overly fearful,” she says. “So don’t be afraid to spend money on marketing and promotion.” 

“Spend some money now because the window of opportunity is closing fast. It is going to be better spent when everyone else is not doing it. There’s a great Warren Buffett quote, ‘Be greedy when others are fearful.’ That’s the mindset people should be playing with now.”

Network, Network, Network

New York-based Alexandra “Alex” Mitchell was Director of Marketing for Business Week magazine before pivoting into business coaching several years ago. After a decade in Hawaii, she returned to New York early in 2020. When COVID hit, networking was a lifesaver for her business, which is thriving.

Mitchell is a member of a number of networking groups, including Business Networking International (BNI), a weekly group with chapters worldwide. Often, her first advice to clients who are struggling is to attend a meeting and expand their network. 

Heggem agrees that focused, consistent networking is essential, as is reinforcing existing relationships. “When it comes to increasing revenue at this time, we’re finding the old adage, ‘it’s all about who you know,’ has never been more apropos,” he says.  

“A lot of our business is coming from people we’ve known for a long time and that’s because the need to trust is higher than ever as our clients are relying on us to help them through a very difficult set of circumstances.”

Mitchell adds, “If you’ve been working with a client for a few years, don’t be afraid to directly ask for a referral. They will want to help your business thrive.”

Get a Website or Optimize the One You Have

“Broaden your idea of who your clients are,” Mitchell stresses. “I met a woman in 2020 who had a vintage jewelry store in midtown Manhattan. During COVID, she was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ She depended on foot traffic and was stuck because she didn’t even have a website.”

She adds, “So, first, get a website! I’m surprised how many businesses don’t have one. If you depend on just one thing, like foot traffic, broaden your idea of who your clients are.” If you have a website, make sure:

  • It’s mobile friendly.
  • Clearly defines your business/ mission.
  • Features consistently fresh, relevant content. 

B2B Pod People are Taking Over

Try collaborative approaches to marketing, Heggem advises. 

“Our company has joined a group of B2B providers to engage in what we’re calling a Marketing Amplification Pod. This is a tailored group of contacts who are committed to engaging with and sharing the content of others in the pod to amplify our respective brands.”

And Continue to Embrace Change

These sources were emphatic that business will not be getting back to normal, at least not to the normal we knew in 2019. 

“That’s just not happening, because of the side effects of COVID. For example, the remote workforce mandate has given businesses the opportunity to engage talent across borders and the talent itself has caught on,” Heggem says. 

“We are seeing some of the best employees choosing to relocate and the business owners can’t make the excuse anymore that, “it just doesn’t work for us to be remote. That attitude has been blown out of the water.”