How Government Entities Can Inspire Consumer Confidence on The Road to Recovery
By: Amy Tallent, Owner & Operator of The Tallent Company
Your businesses, especially those in your downtown area, are ready to reopen and regain control of their economic lives. For five-plus weeks they have been told how, when or even if they will be allowed to operate and it has left them feeling lost and unsure of their future. The overwhelming majority of small business owners are questioning whether they will even be able to survive the storm.
Your businesses are most likely filled with residents from the surrounding community. They were built by strong people who chose your town, city, or county for a reason and they need to know that was still a good decision. More than ever, people are questioning if they need storefronts or is it possible to provide goods and services from home offices. Government entities need to help business owners with tools that will inspire consumer confidence not only in the survival of the business community as a whole, but also for your tax base.
Here is how to inspire consumer confidence at a government level…
- Make finding information easy. Become a source of information on reopening. Create a page on your website dedicated to all things related to the current state and county orders as well as the steps being taken as the orders start to is lift. This can include information from your state’s economic office, your public health offices, and from the Center for Disease Control. The great news is you do not have to recreate a lot of information, it is already out there. You just need to create a collective spot for that information and then push that information out through social media and emails for business owners to find it.
- Outreach, then plans. Can you identify one or two people on your team that can start making calls to business owners? Not emails but direct calls to have a conversation with your businesses on how they are struggling. These individuals do not necessarily have to have a background in economic development, although that helps, but you need kind, open-hearted individuals that can listen and provide feedback to your leadership for decision making. In this call, you need to also invite them to view the webpage you have created in step 1. Offer to email them the link to your site and ask if they have any feedback.
Your town or city needs a plan on how to help businesses, but what many leaders have not have realized yet is that every single community is going to require a custom plan to reopen their community, and it needs to reflect the needs of your businesses to be impactful. Communities should consider collaborative marketing or promotion, grant/loan programs, and virtual events that focus on giving business owners tools & education. Towns and cities also need to decide how they can involve chambers, downtown development authorities, and economic groups to assist with these efforts.
- Communicate and promote. One way you can help businesses with no cost, but big rewards is communicating about your business community through your town or city’s website and social media. Is there a business that found a great way to operate during difficult times, adjusted their entire company to help others, or one that created a great sanitation and cleaning plan? Communicating items like this not only inspires consumers to feel safe but it also sparks ideas in other businesses to think outside the box or to replicate good ideas.
Reopening our communities is going to take time and we need to be prepared for a wide variety of roadblocks and problems. Creating relationships with your business owners is the best way to keep them in business in your community
If you need help with outreach or communication with your business community, The Tallent Company has a strong background in communication and economic development. We are currently implementing custom plans created with towns and cities across Colorado to reopen its business districts safely and with confidence. Email us at email@example.com to start the conversation with a free one-hour planning session with your administration.