Few businesses have escaped impacts due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet, smaller, more nimble Eden Prairie firms have moved to adjust, seeking to take advantage of the opportunities that 2020’s challenges also presented.
Max Kim: residential painting
Max Kim of Eden Prairie, owner of Kona Pro Painting LLC, has gone beyond video calls and started providing estimates virtually.
“Virtual estimating let us see the client’s space, get the necessary measurements, collect the client’s concerns all while protecting each other from potential exposure,” Kim explained.
“Residential interiors jobs slowed down considerably but virtual estimating still helped us there. Our exterior painting business did not slow down over the summer.”
Kim deploys 2-3 crews during busier summer months and is committed to a core crew of three during the leaner winter months.
Melissa Hernandez-Erickson: events and styling
Melissa Hernandez-Erickson owns two businesses under MH Consulting: one provides event consulting, the other personal styling.
“I used to do full event planning and management,” she said. “Many weddings and events changed or were postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus.”
So she shifted to offering event consulting, much of it delivered virtually. “The shift to consulting let me help clients with pieces of their new plans. And I can deliver that virtually to any client anywhere.”
Hernandez-Erickson also uses an interactive online platform for styling sessions that expands her reach to clients while eliminating the risk of contracting the virus.
Carina Smith: personal trainer and nutrition coach
Carina Smith, a personal trainer and nutrition coach, moved back to Eden Prairie from Colorado in July, 2019.
She connected with clients through word-of-mouth referrals and would often have initial meetings at coffee shops. Since that became unworkable, Smith shifted to virtual consulting via Zoom.
She has found that “…people are now more open to that yet still want a highly personal and customized experience.”
Lessons learned by these EP business owners?
Melissa Hernandez-Erickson: Re-brand if necessary. Find new ways to offer your expertise that meet clients’ changing needs, even if in smaller pieces, like consulting or a subscription service.
Invest in marketing through social media, videos, blogging, networking and Facebook groups to educate your market on your services.
Carina Smith: Stick with what has worked for you in the past for your particular customer segment. Organic conversations and word-of-mouth will still produce good referrals for personal services.
Max Kim: Remain flexible. Be sensitive to pricing given potential changes in disposable income. Rely more heavily on paid leads if organic leads have slowed down.
Looking ahead, Kim says, “I’m worried that work may continue to slow down. I’m seeing lots of businesses shut down.”
Yet he remains committed to fundamentals for Kona Pro Painting. “Build the foundation correctly. Always do quality work. Provide people with a good living and an ability to support their families.”