by Tom Ruwitch
Before the world turned upside down, I hosted live music every month at a venue called (ware)HOUSE Concerts.
The artists I booked don’t rake in big bucks from album sales. They depend on touring to earn their living.
Their living has ground to a halt.
When I postponed upcoming concerts, I told the artists I would give them all revenue I’ve collected from advance ticket sales. “Call it a “down payment” for a future, rescheduled concert,” I said.
Here’s how one of the artists, Sarah, responded: “Oh my God! Thank you! You have no idea… Just this morning, I was discussing with my husband whether we would be able to pay our rent.”
Welcome to the Coronavirus world.
But before we sink too deeply into the doom-and-gloom, please know this is a story about innovation and hope.
Days after Sarah wondered how to pay her rent, she was online, performing a live-stream concert for fans who could contribute “tips” to her via Venmo and Paypal.
Sarah and other artists have revised their websites to promote merchandise sales. Many have added new products, such as signed copies of their albums, to drive sales.
Online busking and merchandise sales won’t generate nearly as much as touring does, but these steps will offset some of the losses…
...And these moves represent one of the silver linings around this giant pandemic cloud.
This crisis has forced small business people to innovate. Those innovations will cushion the blow now. Those innovations will make them stronger when this mess clears.
I see restaurants improve online ordering, promote gift-certificates that never previously sold, streamline carry-out systems and expand “banquet-for-home” menus.
I’ve seen service providers develop new ways to connect with clients online, rather than in person.
I’ve seen retailers elevate their e-commerce game.
I’ve seen businesses of all sizes devise clever, innovative marketing campaigns.
I don’t want to sugarcoat this too much. This is a massive, unprecedented crisis. All businesses are suffering, and many won’t survive.
You increase the odds of weathering this storm, though, if you take a cue from Sarah and other business people who are innovating.
And when this storm passes, those survivors who innovated now will be better-positioned to recover and thrive in the long run.
Tom Ruwitch is the founder and former CEO of MarketVolt, which was recently acquired by Benchmark Email. Tom now runs StoryUp Marketing, which helps businesses tune up their stories so prospects and customers tune in. For more information, including a free story assessment, visit StoryUpMarketing.com.