The spread of Covid-19 and the resulting economic uncertainty has many handmade sellers and crochet business owners feeling anxious. I’ve heard from so many of you asking what to do and how to manage your business when things feel so out of control.

If that’s you, if you’re feeling the weight of unexpected changes and insecurity of a unknown future, take a deep breath and let’s talk about some things you can do to prepare your business.

Preparing for the Unknown

After hearing the concerns of some readers, I sent an email, yesterday, with thoughts and ideas for managing your small business in the age of Covid-19. The response was so great that I decided to share it here in hopes that it will help as many as possible.

Since writing the email, I’ve added some new thoughts as well. The following is laid out in a “What could happen” and “What to do” format to help you consider and prepare for the possibilities.

Cancelled Events

What could happen

As more and more areas are being impacted by the virus, the number of events that are being cancelled continues to grow. If you have an craft fair/market scheduled, be aware that it may be cancelled or rescheduled at the last minute.  Typically, in the event of cancellation, your booth fees will not be returned and you’ll be left with a large stock of inventory.

What to do

Understand that this is something that is not in your control and be gracious to the event coordinators. Be ready with a plan to get excess inventory photographed and listed online so you might still be able to sell them or, if worse comes to worse, plan for a place to store the extra inventory to use for next year’s fairs.

Slowing physical product sales

What could happen

It is likely that sales of physical products will slow during this time. People are feeling antsy about both spending money and bringing ‘foreign’ items into the home. Data is currently suggesting that the virus can live on plastic for up to 3 days. So, it is logical to think that people may not want ‘foreign’ packages coming into home and will be operating from an abundance of caution for months to come.

What to do

If physical product sales wane, think of ways you might make passive income by selling digital products (patterns, digital prints, checklists, planners, etc.). Also, take the slowdown as an opportunity to optimize your shop with new photos, rewrite your listing descriptions, and work on a product line for Fall.

Users spending more time online

What could happen

As more and more people find themselves restricted to their homes, it’s likely that they’ll spend more time online. That means, more traffic to your website and blog.

What to do

Prepare your blog for more traffic and be sure your posts are optimized for organic searches. It’s likely your sessions will increase – keep an eye on that and if your sessions go above 25K in a 30 month period, be sure to apply for Mediavine ads so you can increase your revenue even in the event of an economic downturn.

Take the time to create new Pinterest images for your posts and schedule them to Tailwind to get some fresh content out there and attract some new readers. Check out this article about the newest changes on Pinterest.

If you don’t already have a blog, now is a great time to start one. I have a simple walkthrough of the first steps to take, in my article, How to Start a Profitable Maker Blog. Once you’ve walked through those steps, be sure to sign up for this FREE Beginning Wordpress course from my favorite tech support friends at iMarkInteractive. (I mean, seriously, it’s free and full of information that will make your life so much easier! Just take the link and scroll to find the Free Wordpress Course link.)

Also, consider hosting online events for your customers and followers. You might consider planning a CAL or a Sip n’ Stitch to help boost morale and keep your people occupied and feeling supported during times of isolation and concern.

Schools closed and workers sent home

What could happen

I’m already starting to hear of both colleges and public schools sending students home and scheduling classes online. In addition, some businesses are making plans to send workers home in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace. That means, if you’re used to having time to work on your business, you home may now be a bustling center for work and education as your partner and kids are home with you all day.

What to do

Remember that this is a temporary and important preventative measure and accept that your ability to work on your business will change. Do some research online for ideas to keep the kids busy so you can get a few things done during the day, but give yourself some grace and ease up on your goals. Make a plan with your partner to trade off on caring for the kids, if possible, and be sure to eat well and get enough sleep because you’ll likely have to work on your business after the kids go to bed.

Growing anxiety and fear

What could happen

Again, until the tide turns and we’re all feeling secure again, it will be tempting to obsess over news articles, feeding existing anxieties and fears.

What to do

Be good to yourself. Be informed, take the precaustions recommended by the authorities based on what’s going on in your area, and take care of yourself and your loved ones. Binge-watching the news reports, searching out and responding to every FB post that you agree or disagree with, and falling into a fear-based existance is no way to live.

While smal business owners have their own set of concerns during uncertain times, everyone around us is facing the unknown. You can either feed the fears or be a light in troubled times.

Spread kindness, take care of the elderly and immuno-compromised people around you, and take care of yourself and we’ll get through this together. While we’re not sure where this is going or what the impact will be, with some intentional preparations on your part, you can do what’s possible to protect your small business until return to normal.

As always, I’m cheering you on.

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