Maintaining A Small Business During COVID-19

Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana looks different these days with many businesses shifting toward working from home or even closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hustle and bustle traffic of summer’s past is nothing more than a distant memory; a memory that could become a fantasy as Indianapolis adapts to the new normal.

Surviving COVID-19 as a Small Business

Jody Alexander is the owner of City Nail Bar (CNB), a local nail boutique located on the corner of Market St. and New Jersey St. and has been blessed to be one of the surviving businesses during COVID-19. Since its opening in September 2018, City Nail Bar has been nothing like your typical nail salon. With an intentional focus on delivering high-quality services centered on the sustainability of not only nail care but clients, Alexander explained “I truly pride myself in customer service which is #1 in my book.”

However, CNB’s great customer service didn’t make them exempt from feeling the effects of COVID-19. Closed for a total of 81 days, Alexander learned quickly that being adaptable was critical when evaluating the needs of her employee and clients and more important the sustainability of her business. Alexander applied twice for The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and was awarded funds only after the second attempt. Designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, and that’s exactly what it did for the CNB staff. Alexander explained “The PPP loan was a major contributor to how we were able to reopen and survive over the past few months. It allowed me to get employees off unemployment and stay current on bills.”

How Digital Marketing Helps Small Business

CNB’s focused marketing efforts have helped enhance high customer engagement while maximizing operations. Before COVID-19, CNB’s primary focus was to market the business and to boost sales of products. Now, Alexander has leveraged marketing to communicate the health & safety precautions to clients with their personalized email templates. Alexander added that “With personal services now being an optional service people need to feel comfortable with those services.” With their email database growing 300+ addresses in roughly 3 weeks, CNB hasn’t missed a beat. Interested clients can have the option to provide personal information and opt-in to receive updates based upon their preferences. They’ve also leveraged it to promote sales, increase bookings by appointment and sell gift cards.

Maximizing Your Client Interactions

As Indianapolis rolled back to Phase 4.5 recently, CNB is only booking by appointment. Alexander sees the positive in this and says, “By not accepting walk-in appointments it allows for each client to be the main focus during that time.” Identifying ways to be more efficient with marketing helps maximize time with the clients. Most importantly, it’s helped communicate some of the following best practices around sanitation such as mask wearing, sanitization stations, and partitions between each client and nail technician.

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