Business owners and marketing professionals from Richmond and throughout Virginia joined the Red Orange Studio team for a virtual Coffee & Conversations on March 26 to discuss the impact of coronavirus on our businesses. The event was designed to provide a space for leaders to share their insights on how they are pivoting with purpose in the current marketplace. It comes as no surprise to the Red Orange team that our small business community is using creativity, collaboration and compassion to respond to this crisis.

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The virtual event was overflowing with vulnerability as business owners shared their experiences making difficult decisions, reacting swiftly and staying true to their mission. We are particularly grateful to our guest speakers for their willingness to share their inspirational stories: Nar Hovnanian, owner of Soul Taco; Bunny Young, CEO of A Better Place Consulting; and Chris Bushey, owner of Cycle Bar – Red Mill. Nar immediately saw the need – and opportunity – to turn her restaurant into a market to support her employees, community and other local businesses while following the government restrictions. Bunny has been dedicating her business to supporting and encouraging people to share their value with others during a time of need. Chris quickly recognized the benefit of keeping his team employed and his VIP customers healthy by changing his business model temporarily.

After hearing these business owners share their stories, it became evident that we are pivoting with purpose through collaboration and innovation. We’re working together. And we’re thinking about how we can better serve others. Perhaps, if we’re fortunate, those two things will become permanent marketing strategies as business owners make more significant changes with lasting social impact.

Some of the valuable lessons we learned through the Coffee & Conversations discussion include:

  1. Listen first. It’s important to react to any crisis swiftly, but we should first take the time to listen and truly understand the needs of our clients and customers.
  2. Market to the future, not the crisis. While immediate action is helping small businesses stay afloat, the smart marketing professional is making changes now that will have a lasting impact on the future of the business.
  3. Hold the vision, not the circumstance. Leaders must acknowledge the crisis but remain true to their vision as they navigate the current situation.
  4. Learn something new. From digital marketing to live streaming on social media… from Zoom conferences to eCommerce… small business owners are quickly gaining new skills that will help their companies not only survive the COVID-19 disruption, but thrive in the marketplace later.
  5. Don’t do it alone. We have never felt prouder to be part of the Virginia small business community than now. It’s clear to the Red Orange team that the businesses that will succeed are those who are willing to share and collaborate with others as we all pivot with a common purpose.

Want to chat? If you’re trying to determine the best way for your business to pivot with purpose, we’re happy to talk through some options with you. Susie and Theresa are both available to hop on the phone for a one-on-one conversation – no strings attached, no charge, and no expectations. When one business succeeds, an entire community succeeds. We are all in this together! If you think we can be helpful to you right now, click the button below to email us to set up a time to connect.

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