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Back to Business Post COVID-19

The unexpected pluses

Well hasn’t this been a crazy ride? Bushfires affecting the country and hitting our region and then a world-stopping pandemic with only a moment to catch our breath in between. If your business is still chugging along, you should be proud. If you’re struggling, don’t give up.

One of the advantages of running a microbusiness in regional Australia is that the community wants your businesses to grow. If microbusinesses fail, we all suffer.

The unexpected pluses for businesses during COVID-19
The unexpected pluses for businesses during COVID-19

Support for local businesses surged during self-isolation. Within Port Macquarie, a website promoting local restaurants went up in record time so customers could see who was trading and who was delivering. Facebook groups supporting businesses had active discussions and calls for help.

But how are members of Micro Business Forum community faring?

To dig deeper into the impact the past six months have had on our members, we spoke with three MBF members who shared how their business changed during COVID-19, what they learned and the positives that came out of it.

Traditional sales tools helped Alison

Alison Carroll is part of a small group of distributors throughout New South Wales who sells Turmerix and educates customers on the benefits of the popular anti-inflammatory supplement. As a distributor, Alison is faced with a unique sales challenge – she can’t sell her products online.

Without a website, Shopify store or Facebook page to sell her product, Alison has to be creative. For almost four years, Alison has found success in local markets.

But when bushfires and then COIVID-19 shut markets completely, Alison’s primary source of sales came to a fast halt. Pre bushfires, Alison set up her stall at 8-10 markets a month throughout the Mid North Coast. Every weekend, she packed her car with product and gear, hoping for big crowds.

Before the bushfires and pandemic closed the markets, Alison knew she had to create a database. Since markets are fickle and weather dependent, she made sure she collected names at each market and used a monthly newsletter to strengthen relationships that would lead to repeat sales.

With markets shuttered for months, she knew she couldn’t rely on her monthly newsletter alone, so she picked up the phone and called her customers to see how they were doing.

“I’d been treading water during the crisis, so I decided to call my customers. I quickly realised how important this personal touch was to them.”

The phone calls didn’t result in immediate sales, but Alison knew from the conversations that she was strengthening the relationships with her customers that would lead to future sales.

It should also be mentioned that Alison’s customers don’t have to reorder through her. They can buy on the Turmerix website directly. So for Alison, relationships are vital.

Her monthly newsletter was an effective sales tool, but the phone call that she wouldn’t have made before COVID-19 made such an impact on her business that she will continue doing so even after the markets reopen.

To contact Aliso