As communities and governments around the world are taking the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of COVID 19, businesses and entrepreneurs are also struggling to keep themselves open and afloat while the quarantine is in effect.
In my interview with Mr. Robert Reinert for the VirtualPreneur Summit 2020, we invited the marketing and social media specialist to share his outlook on how businesses will operate after the pandemic has blown over.
The Vlog Interview
You can watch the full video vlog from this link, or you can watch the videos full embed:
Here are the key points in the interview:
- Businesses in Oregon: Coping with COVID 19 (3:34)
- Safety and preventive measures for COVID 19 (5:25)
- Post COVID 19: More Online Opportunities and Users (7:33)
- How to get your business ready for post COVID 19 (9:39)
- Work and Life Balance during COVID 19 (11:33)
- Marketing: Learn and Upscaling your Skills with your Free Time (13:25)
THE SPEAKER: ROBERT REINERT
Mr. Robert Reinert is a global digital marketer who has extensive experience in digital marketing. He has proven his skills by applying multiple and successful strategies to different state industries and work environments.
He migrated from Germany to the United States in order to pursue his passion in marketing, where he became a social media specialist whose mantra is always to be ahead of the game.
OREGON AND COVID 19
Now, I was curious to hear from Reinert about the situation in Oregon. Because as of May 14, 2020, Oregon has confirmed 3,479 positive cases of COVID-19.
And according to the Oregon Health Authority, the state has reported 137 fatalities from the coronavirus. The first individual to succumb to the virus was a 70-year-old man who passed away on Saturday (March 14) in Multnomah county.
Reinert expressed his thoughts that although the situation is dire, Oregon is doing well. Two months after the first fatality, or as of May 15, 2020. Oregon has begun the slow process of reigniting their economies.
Their Governor, Kate Brown announced that 28 of their 36 counties have been given permission to reopen their bars, restaurants, and malls.
However, the businesses that are allowed to reopen are tasked to impose strict social distancing measures. And by 10 p.m. bars and restaurants must be closed.
“I want to be clear that reopening does not come without risks,” said Gov. Kate Brown in a memo issued to county officials. “With every restriction lifted we know transmission of the virus has the potential to increase.”
That is why in order to qualify to reopen your business, the counties must meet the set of requirements provided by Brown and the Oregon Health Authority.
BUSINESSES IN OREGON: COPING WITH COVID 19
A little more about the global digitalmarketer, Reinert handles the marketing campaigns for plenty of his clients. He creates advertising materials and contents ranging from ads, email campaigns, postcards and any available resources to promote products to the global market.
As of the moment, the digital marketer shares that he is working for a company who is building mounting solutions for the healthcare industry.
While it is a fact that COVID 19 is a serious matter and has dealt a lot of losses for families, loved ones and its impact to the economy, it has provided more appreciation to the healthcare sector and its workforce.
But since his clients are mostly essential products and services, Reinert isn’t able to see much negative impact on their demands but rather an increase of it.
Although Reinert did state that Oregon is doing well. He is unable to provide statistics since the impact of COVID19 covers a global scale and will vary from the type of industry that you are in.
However, instead of businesses being wary of their revenue. Reinert wants to shift our attention to the security and safety of our workers. They’ll need to make sure that masks and disinfecting sprays are in place and to postpone any visitors coming from countries that have a high infection rate.
Why is it important to ensure the safety of your people? Because by now, we should be aware of the dangers brought by the pandemic. So by making sure that you don’t spread the virus within your workforce. It is also to guarantee that your business remains operational.
Reinert also expressed his thoughts on other industries mainly to those who are reliant on foot traffic. Foot traffic is a term used to describe pedestrian visitors to a business or commercial site. They refer to those establishments who rely on people who walk past or drive by their building.
They’ll need to discover and explore new methods of drawing customers in. If your physical location is closed and walk-ins are impossible, you will need to find ways on selling your products online. Also take this time to reassess your utility costs and cut down unneeded expenses.
If you run a fitness company or gym, find ways to keep your customers in shape and maintain a good relationship and contact with them while they remain at home. You may refer to email campaigns and drop important health or lifestyle guides on their mails once a week.
Also, for the skincare company, Reinert mentions that people may not be able to receive physical services. But they’ll still be interested in buying certain products. It\’ll be mostly soap and other necessities. But you might be able to upsell other items with the right combination of products and deals.
IS COVID 19 CHANGING THE WAY YOU’RE DOING BUSINESS?
As a business consultant for local businesses and other clients, I asked Reinert on the notable changes brought by COVID19 to companies that he could shed light on.
His response consisted of two ideas. That more things are being sold online. And that there’s also an increase of online meetings on Zoom, Skype or any other platforms that people can use to meet their co-workers virtually.
In addition, Reinert notes that the people in quarantine will have explored new platforms and opportunities brought by the new norm. This includes the advantages that technology brings to businesses and how they can simplify some of their processes.
Reinert also mentioned Amazon to be his example. If the people weren’t big purchasing items online then. The quarantine has more or less forced them to buy using these online shops. Mainly because they are scared or not allowed to go out to a physical store.
The situation has allowed people to notice the convenience of online shopping. So Reinert theorized that after COVID19, there will be plenty of people who will actually stick to this method.
Like “I\’m gonna go buy it online instead of walking to the store”. And so the whole digital marketing thing is gonna push certain companies to go more digital than they ever did in the past.
So going back to stores that rely on foot traffic. Reinert reminds us that the changes are already happening and it is up to you to adjust to the demands of the people.
He concludes that after the COVID 19, technology will be even more used and an online presence will be more sought out than ever before.
HOW CAN BUSINESS SURVIVE COVID 19?
After understanding the changes that were brought by COVID 19, I asked Reinert on his actionable steps that he can share on how businesses can survive COVID 19.
Reinert clarified that since most operations are closed. Instead of being frustrated, desperate or feeling helpless. Use this time wisely to start building a plan for how your business is going to be after COVID 19.
If you are a brick and mortar business, this might be the time to look for a digital marketing agency or freelancers who can assist you in designing your website.
If you already have a website, get your projects up and renew your contents. Invest your free time into something productive and useful for you to be able to scale your business. Get everything done now and layout your plans for when you are ready to reopen.
Because COVID19 is both a problem and an opportunity for entrepreneurs. We already know that it has disrupted plenty of business operations.
So on the positive note, the extra time can help businesses create a more effective strategy on how to better approach customers. It’s time to create a new plan on how to sell to prospects who are probably still scared to spend or visit your stores when the quarantine has been lifted.
Work and Life Balance during COVID 19
Although Reinert wants entrepreneurs to make the most use of their time to be productive. He also can’t deny that this might also be a good chance to reconnect and spend time with your family.
He explained that entrepreneurs are always on the go and only seldomly take the time to relax. Because, although we are stuck at home, we must look at this situation not as a quarantine but the moment to build and refresh your presence.
Because, as an entrepreneur himself. Reinert shared how he has also missed out on plenty of family events and bonding time in making sure that his business remains to be running smoothly.
But in the end, it can’t be all about work and money. We’ll also need to remember the reason why we do what we do.
Besides, Reinert added that the more money one makes. The higher their expectation becomes and then it’ll just be at a point where you will never become satisfied with what you have.
So instead of losing yourself in a race, win the championship by being satisfied with what you already have and live in the moment with your family.
LEARNING AND UPSCALING YOUR SKILLS WITH YOUR FREE TIME
Other than setting aside the time for your family. The next thing Reinert suggests that entrepreneurs do during this free time is to learn new skills.
Yes, it’s back to the books or online videos and classes to the entrepreneurs. If you have always wanted to learn this particular skill, you can use this buffer time and acquire it.
If you are a marketer, you can check out graphic design and video editing. Or learn the functions of other programs such as HootSuite, Tailwind and Buffalo as they will help you out on managing your social media platforms and content management.
Getting familiar with new apps and software can assist your campaigns once you return to the field.
You may also want to read up on useful content or strategies from Google or YouTube. It doesn’t have to be a paid subscription to an online class but access those free content on the web.
ALWAYS TURN THE NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE ONE
Ending his discussion, Reinert left a closing message to all local and small businesses out there.
We are all in the same boat. We might not have expected an outbreak but instead of focusing on its impacts, turn the negative situation into a positive one.
It’ll be challenging. It’ll be tough. But, see this as one of those moments where you are being tested and remember why you opened up shop in the first place.
Lastly, don’t be too busy that you never have time with your family. It’s good to look towards the future but enjoy the moments in the present.
This pandemic will pass us by. And once it does, you’ll be all the more energized and stronger than before.