Business in a crisis: business as usual?

Do I keep posting on socials when so many are suffering? 

Should we take a break from promoting our business? 

These are questions I have been asking myself, as well as getting them from clients and students. 

As business owners, we genuinely care and we don’t want to be – or be seen to be – insensitive. We don’t want to offend anyone. We want to do the right thing. 

To try and gain some perspective, I reflected back on times when I was directly affected by a crisis. Whether it be a personal crisis or a natural disaster like the Brisbane floods or FNQ cyclones. 

And here’s what I realised. 

In that time of crisis, I was consumed with getting the news that was relevant to me. I was in a bubble. I was worried about which local roads were open, how to navigate a week of no power and if my neighbours were ok. I was NOT worried about what others were doing. At all. I was not offended by people going about their day to day life. I was not offended by businesses trying to do business. 

So with that in mind, here’s my opinion on how to carry out business in a time of crisis. 


Remember that your business does need to carry on 


As small businesses, we don’t have the luxury of shutting down for a month (or more) to allow this crisis to pass. Keeping in mind, it’s going to take years for people to recover and to regenerate our land. 

The best way you can help is to succeed. The more success you achieve, the bigger impact you can make. This includes donations (which you can’t make if you go broke), using your platform for good, investing back into our economy through employment and spending. It’s ok to keep pushing forward with your business. 


Decide if and how you are going to help 

We work with brands who do genuinely care about people, animals and the planet so it’s only natural that they want to help. Read Karyn’s blog on ways you can help and make a clear decision on this. 


Be considerate 


If you are thinking of not promoting your business, ask yourself why? Is it because you don’t want to be insensitive? 

If this is the case, then the answer is simple. 

Don’t be insensitive. 

This doesn’t mean ceasing your business operations. It means not being insensitive in your actions.

Obviously, you don’t want to share anything that could be insensitive, triggering or offensive. For example, do not have a “fire sale” or include flame emojis in your headlines. Check your scheduled posts and make sure there isn’t anything in there that could be offensive. 


Don’t be opportunistic


Don’t use the crisis as a hook to try to generate PR. This will go down like a tone of bricks. “Opportunistic marketing” can be very effective, however, a crisis is not the time. Opportunistic marketing is simply leveraging a situation for the good of your brand. And in a time of crisis, we definitely don’t want to do this. 


Draw a clear line 


Dedicate your entire post to the crisis, or don’t mention it at all. You don’t need to flood your social media feed with posts about the crisis. That’s what the media is for. You may like to post one or two carefully considered posts about your concerns and contribution, and then leave it. By merging the messages, both become diluted and confusing. Draw a line and keep it separate. 

My advice would be to carry on business as usual without any mention of the crisis in your posts. Again, it’s ok to keep moving forward with your business. Just remember to be considerate in your actions, as outlined above. 


Follow your true north


There is always going to be someone who is offended by what you say or what you do. That’s just human nature. 

The most important thing is that you have to feel good about what you are doing and you have to live with the consequences of your actions. This goes for business at the best of times, not just in a crisis. 

If someone criticises you for your actions, that says more about them then it does about you. When we judge others, we are simply judging ourselves. What we see in others we see in ourselves.

So, if you have been paralysed by not know what to do, hopefully this has helped.


Replay of the live chat we had about this topic in our Facebook group

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

eCommerce Facebook ad challenge

About Karyn Parkinson

Karyn (“with a Y!”) is an eCommerce marketing specialist with a knack for high-converting Facebook ad funnels and website optimisation. Through her eCommerce marketing agency and on-the-pulse training programs, Karyn’s helped hundreds of eCommerce store owners across the globe boost profits, generate more revenue, and achieve an ad-spend ROI of their dreams.