Today’s topic is all about connection and community. Lockdown, crisis, COVID or not, life is really all about making the most out of every moment.

Now, as strange as that says, I never want you to let a “good crisis” go to waste. And what I mean by that is not that this is a great crisis by any means I mean, this is been horrific. It’s destroying businesses, families, and lots of people are losing their lives. It’s absolutely scary and insane out there.

However, what I’m starting to look at and I’m starting to realize is that a lot of local businesses are not only struggling, but they’re missing the point out of everything that’s going on. It’s almost as if they’re living in a little bit of a bubble and not understanding the simple art of human connections and most importantly, the community.

Let me kind of dissect this a little bit and give you some practical examples. What does this actually mean for you and how do you pivot on an as-needed basis?

So, if I look at Facebook, which has actually been one of the best places to get a pulse on what’s going on with the local businesses such as the restaurants, cleaners, catering places, or the hotels. These businesses have actually more up-to-date information on their actual Facebook pages than they do on their websites and what I’m seeing are two very, very different narratives.

The first narrative that I’m seeing is kind of a survival narrative. It’s “Hey, we’re open, and here’s how to process an order. Here’s how to do business with us.” Now, I’m not saying that one’s wrong, but I’m going to give you the opposite end of the spectrum and tell you what else I’m seeing.

On the opposite end, they’re talking about the fact that they’re open, but that’s really the secondary or the piece that’s kind of weigh-in in the background. They’re talking about why they started the business in the first place. They’re talking about all of the customers that are visiting their place of business and calling some of those particular customers out right on Facebook. They’re leveraging whatever assets, people, and technology that they have to do some additional good.

There’s an example of a local business that does brewery tours and they have a bus. As of this time, I believe every single brewery is still closed, at least locally to Western New York and the Buffalo area. So rather than just having the bus sit there, and rather than just finding ways to make a profit, they started having the bus for birthday parties. They had a certain donation amount, but all that was going to charity where they then would announce over a loudspeaker that has a thing that says “Happy birthday”, they’d play a song, and it just was a lot of fun.

If you’ve got a new business and you can’t weather the storm, then obviously it’s going to be a little bit of a scarcity mentality. However, as most businesses are starting to open up, there’s this piece that I feel that you’re missing of having to push the community element more, and just the element of human connection.

Now, what I’m encouraging you to do is to look at the content that you’re putting out there on your website and/or on your social media. Look at the images, as well as the little pieces of paper that are hanging on your wall (if you have a physical location) as someone walks in. Yes, you can have a sign that says must “wear a mask and social distance and all of that kind of precautionary messages.”

But why not take a step back and look at how can you help spread human connection? What can you do that’s different than you’ve never been doing before that would help?

What if every single time someone spent on those nurseries that are opening or that are already open, let’s say I don’t know $100, for example, that they were then going to go and plant a tree for XYZ community or in front of schools. Or they were going to put money into a pot and then they’re going to go help people that are disabled or elderly that can’t do their landscaping. It could be anything that definitely has the charity component, but has that art form of connection.

People are craving a connection, now more than I’ve ever seen before. They don’t want to just keep sitting behind a computer, their iPhone, or their Android. It’s not because they feel that they’re locked up and all of this, they just want to bring some normalcy back to their lives and you do that through connection.

I want you to just look at what stuff are you putting out to the universe? Are you simply talking about something every single day that you’re open and here’s how to order? Or are you mentioning that but then you’re also mentioning some of the fun customers that have frequented your business, the goodwill that you’ve created in the community, your origin story, your employees and team members, and talking about why you started the business in the first place. All of that stuff will go a much farther away in the coming weeks and coming months because there’s always an emotional piece to the selling and the buying process.

Your customers, they’re not buying based on logic. They’re buying based on emotions and they want to feel good. They want to feel that they’re visiting a business and frequenting a business that has that desire to connect with them, but also to do some good in the community.

I felt like today was a little bit of a soapbox, but I hope that you listen to this. And then you really listen to it to really make sure that you grab the concept. Because I promise you and myself included, I have not done a good enough job at pushing this and telling the stories and showing all of the goodwill that we’re creating to further build those connections.

Get out there, make some connections, and do some more good in your community.