COVID-19 and New Small Businesses

“Sorry we’re closed”, “We are open for delivery only” these signs have become ubiquitous; a stark reality which new small businesses must face, how do we troubleshoot the Age of Corona?  

The Art Shack was created in January 2020, a new and hopeful entity aimed at creating a home for art pieces and artists who want to express themselves and market their pieces. In many discussions with artists, one of the main concerns which arose was the fact that many artists just want to create, they are not bothered with marketing. With that said in comes the mission of the Art Shack Belize. Their mission is to support and contribute to the community of artists and crafters by offering quality art pieces, name brand supplies to accommodate customer needs; by hosting and supporting shows, classes and contests; and by promoting Belize as an artist’s oasis and destination. 

Like so many new businesses they are told to prepare to not make a profit and to prepare for the unexpected. What is apparent however is that the unexpected can be vast. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic placed the world in a most precarious position, socially and economically. The loss of life cannot be trumped but the loss of jobs and capital is troubling. For businesses globally, especially those who are new to the floor COVID-19 has toppled what our initial expectation of scary was.  

Artist supporting artist

So what are businesses doing in this crisis? For the Art Shack Belize, the solution ultimately lies in the ability to adapt. As an art gallery, they operate under the banner of “ true art can only be appreciated in person”. What COVID-19 has dealt with was the need for social distance. Nevertheless, art needs marketing. If this crisis has taught us anything is that humans as a collective can adapt and combine skills to survive any turmoil. “Artist supporting artist”, their new banner. In an age of social media ( Instagram, Zoom, Whatsapp, video apps, and  Facebook pages) and a massive flood of information daily, businesses would be short-sighted if they didn’t take advantage of this potential.

In Belize, there has been a quiet but strong movement of small businesses aiming at creating a collective by using their social media forums to promote other businesses. This movement which can only be affectionately be described as “reciprocal altruism” is a fine example of human nature to help to be helped. Marketing art can be tricky, nevertheless, businesses just as the Art Shack Belize, have been using this time to research and communicate. Communication with other businesses and how they are coping creates a much-needed network of support. Communication with customers new or potential and understanding their needs is also needed. True conversation Illuminated likes, preferences, tastes, and it is through this knowledge that companies can create analytics that can offer survival options.

Customers need to feel catered for and this is where delivery options have increased. If this pandemic has taught us anything it has been that companies, for the most part, have been using antiquated tools. They have not emerged from their decade-old trances to realize that the world has evolved. This pandemic has forced the evolution of business ideas, marketing strategies in an online no contact forum. In a small nation such as Belize where contact is inevitable, we are beginning to realize how unnecessary some actions are. We are unknowingly evolving our business sense. What is even more impressive is that we are evolving as an empathetic human race. We are aware of the struggles of our fellow man and we are aiming to find solutions through adversity. The wish is that beyond this pandemic, small businesses continue to evolve innovative ways to survive, we continue to assist each other and we continue to recognize that we can use our platforms to change our nation and the world.

The world may be down but we are by no means are completely out.

Article submitted by Saidy Godette, Owner of The Art Shack

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