My Take On Keeping Business Running During Times of Social Distancing

Michael Batalha
13 min readMar 18, 2020

COVID 19 has businesses all around the world questioning their very survival, and this is a normal reaction to have. However, what many business owners do not know is the following. The biggest riches and fastest-growing businesses in history were created during crises.

I’m not saying this because I think we should be obsessed with profits during times like these. The reason I give this example is to help you understand that times like these are often an opportunity in disguise.

This is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and your business

Often, as business owners, we get into a routine and forget to innovate and evolve. In fact, we kind of get comfortable and get nowhere near our full potential. It is usually a crisis that motivates us to use our full potential as business innovators and business leaders.

In times like these, we discover entirely new ways of doing business that we hadn’t even considered before. Oftentimes, businesses come out of a crisis reborn into a much stronger and more robust entity than they were beforehand.

“But my business relies on face-to-face contact, what do I do?”

I hate to say this at the moment because it’s going to sound harsh. But this is a perfect time to modernize your business. All of those things you might have been putting off because you “didn’t have time”? Now you have a lot of extra time to do them.

  • Those email automations that you’ve been putting off for months? This is the time to finish them.
  • Setting up that amazing landing page that attracts amazing customers? Now is the time to build it.
  • Never got around to adding online streams of revenue to your business? Continue reading this article.

In fact, now is the best time to implement all the new ways of business that will pull you straight ahead of your competitors. These are the changes and adaptations that will leave your competitors in the ash heaps of history

I know it sounds harsh, but this is how business has always worked

And in normal times I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to teach you about a secret that’s going to “Crush your competitors and put them out of business.”

The fact is that business as a whole is increasingly moving important parts to the internet. And in fact, any business process you might imagine can and will eventually be done online. Those who do not adopt online processes in time will perish. This statement was true even before this crisis came about. The current situation has merely accelerated this trend.

For example, did you know that operas and ballet ensembles are now streaming their shows? They’ve already booked the show date, sold a lot of tickets, so they might as well do the show even though the audience can’t be in the theater itself.

If they can make it work, I’m pretty sure that your business can modify a lot of processes and move them online. Of course, this is easier in some business models than others, so let’s go into specific examples.

Industries which already thrive in an online-only format

If you recognize your business-type, service, or type of product anywhere in the following list, this kind of business can be done entirely online. In fact, there are companies making millions in these areas without offering any face-to-face services.

Basically anything, where people are essentially paying you for access to your knowledge or brain, can be done in an online format. And specifically, the 4 categories above can be done entirely online. Many have already built multi-million dollar businesses in these categories without ever offering a face-to-face service.

What about situations where someone pays you for your vast experience and knowledge, but it still requires hands-on contact?

An obvious example would be a doctor. In a lot of situations, they need to see you in person to give you a valid diagnosis. However, there are many successful online services where you can pay doctors to give you health-related advice and “potential diagnosis” online.

Of course, doctors can’t do a full check-up online. They can, however, give lots of valuable guesses which people find valuable. Services like these have allowed doctors to make a lot of extra profit working from home.

The reason I give you this example is to motivate you to think more broadly. Even if your service can’t be fully-rendered online, parts of it can be, and you can charge for those parts just fine. Just like these doctors can provide parts of their service online, there are parts of your business that can be done online.

Industries where the core business is traditionally based on a face-to-face activity

Even activities that are done in a face-to-face setting involve skills and assets that can be delivered and/or charged for online. Let me give you an easy example from friends and customers that I’ve interviewed in the past few days. Here’s how some of them have adapted to the current crisis and restrictions.

1) Dance and yoga studios who have moved to online streaming

In the past one week I’ve seen studios mobilize at an unprecedented pace and today there are literally tens of thousands of studios streaming their regular classes online so that their members can have their class “delivered to their home”. This allows them to deliver the classes that people have already paid for and mitigate the loss of revenue.

Now, these are tens-of-thousands of studio owners who up until 1 week ago would have never even considered the idea that they can teach their group classes through Zoom or Skype. Today they’re fully shifted and all their regular classes have moved online.

2) Before and after school programs have developed an online curriculum

The before and after school programs are closed now, but there is an opportunity for those same parents and their children. They are creating an online learning curriculum as well as Youtube sessions where children can have an outlet to learn while they are home and their parents are working from home.

The best part is that they are doing this one 30–60-minute session at a time and building it as they go. At the same time, they’re also learning everything they can about online business, again as they go, step-by-step, one day at a time.

3) Fine restaurants have implemented online menus and special delivery methods

Restaurants that specialized in that face-to-face experience, have now accepted that they must offer an online menu as well. They’ve quickly set up online shopping carts that allow for purchasing a meal online. In this way, their staff doesn’t have to deal with face-to-face payments.

And in terms of delivery, they have a very simple solution as well. The delivery person rings the doorbell, takes a few steps back to create distance, and waits for the owner to pick up the order before leaving.

Let’s look at how you can monetize parts of your business online

But first, a bit of “business theory”. You need to understand that your business is what’s known as a “collection of assets”. And an asset is more than just things present in the physical world such as your offices, trucks or employees. Your skills are an asset, your experience in the industry is an asset, your connections are an asset as are your customer lists and databases.

With that in mind, let’s look at 4 questions that will help you immediately identify how you can start monetizing your assets online.

1) Ask yourself: Can your product be delivered to the customer’s home after an online sale?

The obvious example is the restaurants I’ve mentioned before. These are fine dining restaurants who specialize in the dining experience, a uniquely face-to-face event. They’ve managed to implement an online menu with the delivery of their food to the customer’s door. Most businesses can adopt such a mixed method.

Even if your business involves a physically rendered product, in most cases you can move most of the business process online. The presentation, the selling, the marketing, and the purchasing process are all things that can be done online. All that’s left is physically getting the product to the person’s home.

2) Ask yourself: Can the service itself be delivered online (even if imperfectly?)

A lot of people feel “icky” about trying to deliver their services in an online format. And if you feel that way I can’t blame you. Especially if you’re passionate about your services and don’t want to “downgrade the experience”. However, it might be time to make this leap.

Let’s take a personal fitness coach as an example. Would she provide superior service by standing right next to the client and guiding the client’s elbows into the correct position? For sure!

Does it mean that rendering the same service over Skype has no value whatsoever? Absolutely not. And in fact, the richest personal trainers in the world make most of their money through online coaching.

Extra tip: The reason you can make a lot more money delivering the service online is due to a couple of factors

  • The first one is the scale. You can reach a lot more high-paying customers as the entire world’s population is a potential client. With an offline approach, the only potential clients are the people within driving distance.
  • The second reason people make more money delivering a “less perfect” service online? Because once you set up online, you get the opportunity for a ton of additional income streams from the same thing — automatically, while you sleep!
  • For example, you can build an email automation that multiplies your profits by up-selling and cross-selling.
  • How? The person buys your “package of 4 skype coaching sessions” and this immediately triggers an automated “nurture and up-sell” sequence which convinces them to also purchase your recipe cookbook as well as some of your t-shirts.

Once someone becomes an online client or merely a lead, you can have automated software selling them stuff forever essentially. You (or rather your email automation) can email them related offers, recommended products from others and so much more. This is the profit that you make in your sleep.

3) Ask yourself: What are some knowledge assets that you possess?

The fact is that you’ve survived in business for more than 6 months, you have a range of skills and knowledge, even if you’ve never formally acknowledged them or listed them on a resume anywhere.

This knowledge can be delivered through email-marketing (which develops amazing customer relationships) and through paid products such as online courses, books, and paid coaching sessions.

4) Ask yourself: Are there any other assets in your business that can be put into a digital format and delivered online?

The answer to this question is always yes. You just have to really think about this and discover your own list of such assets. Every single business in the world has assets that can be put into a digital form and delivered online. And if it’s an “asset”, it means that it has value and that you can charge money for delivering it.

Here’s the good news. Increasing your profits by adding online revenue streams is the future of all business

All that this current Covid-19 situation has done is force businesses to adopt the future faster. The fact is that unless your business adds online revenue streams, it will perish within a decade anyway.

Think of the current situation as a rather convenient nudge that motivates you to explore, learn about, and get skills that you will require within a few years anyway, lest you be crushed by your competition. Use this opportunity to evolve and add additional streams of income to your business.

This is true even if the core parts of your business have to be done in a face-to-face setting. The fact is that every business can add additional revenue streams by delivering some of their assets in an online format.

In the near future, every business will either be an online-only business or have a mixed model. This is true for every single industry. The businesses that have no online streams of income will perish. And let me tell you, every single business on the planet can, at the very least adopt a mixed-model, where you have both offline and online streams of revenue.

Don’t let the terminology scare you, this can be extremely simple

  • If you have a nail salon, you can start selling your knowledge about nail work as an online course. Remember, your knowledge is a valuable asset that can be sold for money.
  • If you run a yoga studio, you can continue to hold group classes in a face-to-face setting, but also record some of your breathing meditations and sell them on a platform like Gumroad
  • I could list another 100 examples, but I think you get the idea. If you can’t think of a way to implement it in your business, do not hesitate to contact us and ask for help in figuring this out!

It’s not just about delivering a single asset in a new way, the real secret lies in the following

Anyone that decides to start delivering an asset, product or service online will discover something amazing. Even if they just decide to dabble in the online world as a way of delivering an existing product or selling just one online product, they soon discover something amazing.

The real benefit of “doing business online” is in the endless amount of opportunities that it opens up. This includes all of the ways of multiplying returns on your efforts that are simply not present in the offline world. There are so many that merely listing them is beyond the scope of this article.

To give you a simple illustration, let’s go with an example

A dance teacher begrudgingly decides to start streaming some of her classes online, only because she’s trying to survive and has to somehow deliver the package of classes she had already sold.

In the process of learning how to stream classes online, she discovers related articles and discussions that mention that since she’s streaming her classes, she’s not limited to just the students in her town. She can now sell and stream her classes to people halfway across the world.

Next thing you know, she starts exploring internet marketing and learns that you can use email marketing to build and maintain relationships with customers and potential customers on autopilot, while you sleep.

Before she knows it she’s making a ton of money, on autopilot

Aside from having those live classes, she now has an entire portfolio of pre-recorded classes packaged in the shape of “online courses”. She has an online store selling related dance-wear and she has an assortment of e-books full of teaching advice that she sells to other dance teachers.

Her lead magnets and lead pages attract tons of quality leads and customers interested in dance. And then her email sequences automatically take over and go on to nurture these people, build the relationship, and then sell them on buying her online courses, e-books, and dance-wear.

All of this is done automatically. In fact, she wakes up every day to a list of new purchases from people all around the world.

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The fact is that as you discover online business, you will discover the power of marketing online. And no, I don’t mean “putting ads online”. I mean building relationships and a brand that people across the world trust in.

And as you try to master this super-profitable approach to business, you will discover something crucial. You will learn that most profits online are made through email marketing. That’s why we’ve decided to do something special for people who are new to email marketing or haven’t put it to full use yet.

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And please, if you are confused about how to apply the tips above in your particular business, do not hesitate to ask for help

I can’t give examples for every single business, so I’ve had to limit it to some illustrative examples. But if you still can’t figure out how your business can adapt or move operations to an online context, feel free to reach out and we can help.

Michael Batalha helps startups and businesses with making their sites work for them like a sales machine, from building your story to collecting leads to nurturing those leads into customers. He has successfully created numerous startups and sat on the board of the Entrepreneur Organization. His passion is working with entrepreneurs and building businesses. Follow him on twitter @mikebatalha for tweets on awesome marketing tips.

Originally published at on March 18, 2020.



Michael Batalha

I help businesses succeed in Email Marketing | CEO & Founder of Emercury | Entrepreneur | Speaker | Proud Father