Pandemic brings us all closer together - and that can only be better for business

Let me say this: a crisis can be good for business. We might all be reeling from the effects of lockdown, but there’s “gold in them there hills”.

Remember, the likes of General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Hyatt and Trader Joe’s were all born during economic downturns.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I believe we will see new businesses springing up from the furrowed fields of the pandemic. Redundancy, losing clients and financial struggles are seeing many of us taking bold leaps into new business ideas that we’ve perhaps harboured for a long time.

As a small business owner, I’ve had to tighten my belt. I’ve gone the extra mile for struggling clients, and shared the tough journey of 2020 with them. We are closer than we’ve ever been. The idea of running a boutique PR agency is that you get a higher level of face-to-face servicing; and this has never been truer than this year.

And while your in-house team might be focussing on fighting fires, internal communications and survival tactics, an external extra pair of supporting hands in the form of your PR agency can be a real help. While you’re busy focusing on keeping things afloat, agencies can concentrate on delivering strong, positive external messaging.

Profits are down. Staff might be on extended leave, furlough or considering redundancy – but creativity can help you survive. Having been in the region for a long time, I can draw on a wealth of local and international talent, delivering a wealth of creative talent – social media experts, SEM gurus, designers, film-makers, artists, illustrators and others who can help your brand stay front of mind and full of life during these dark days.

And while you are extremely busy, your boutique agency can stay busy by maintaining good, solid media relations. You might not feel you have time to talk to a journalist, presenter or blogger, but we do. My daily routine involves reaching out to a wide and varied group of local media, even if it’s a simple ‘hi’.

Keeping a razor-like focus on the business means clients don’t necessarily have time to look at the bigger picture. I find providing clients with a longer-term, holistic view of their sector helps them gain greater perspective.

Of course, the elephant in the room is always crisis communications – something that’s never been more important. Being a boutique agency not only means we keep a steady hand in your business, but we are ready to act if things go awry. We can help plan for a crisis, rather than waiting for a crisis to happen and working backwards.

In short, none of us are alone. I run a small business, and completely understand the stresses and strains 2020 has put us all under. By sharing experience, knowledge and creativity, we can – and will – survive.

Ananda Shakespeare is CEO & founder of Shakespeare Communications

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