We talked to Ted Bigham on how Kow Abundant is helping local businesses heal during COVID-19 and here is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ted Bigham: Thanks for asking. We are doing well. COVID has hit my extended family, and recently my great uncle passed from it. We are all being cautious, and it has affected my wife’s business recently as she decided to pause her massage therapy during this time due to the rise in cases. We are staying safe and doing what we can to limit the spread in Ohio.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Kow Abundant.
Ted Bigham: I started Kow Abundant in 2017 with the idea of helping small businesses grow and be competitive online. This has done very well, and I am proud to help local small businesses grow using SEO, Google Ads, Social Media, and other digital content forms to expand their awareness and support local in the community. When we started the company, we saw a need for local businesses to catch up with eCommerce and online because we were seriously lagging behind the big-box and chain stores and Amazon. We always wanted to put local businesses as close as possible to be competitive or offer greater value and focus than large companies.
How does Kow Abundant innovate?
Ted Bigham: We are always looking to improve our products and services. We made a change to focus more on YouTube in 2019 that has done very well for us. We also are Google partners and in 2019 expanded our service offerings to the Microsoft advertising platforms. Given the election and the growing concerns with Facebook and Google, we always look to see where the next innovations in digital marketing might occur. Creating videos for our clients has been exciting and fun. We love coming up with scripts to tell small business stories so more people can hear about them on YouTube and social media.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ted Bigham: COVID-19 has not impacted us as much as other local businesses. We started making the switch to more Zoom meetings back in late 2019, so we were prepared for meeting with clients online. What we see are the impacts it has made on the local business community. Our core business services have shifted from the traditional businesses we focused on in the spring of 2020 to more healthcare and even some larger commercial businesses and eCommerce. Many of our clients have shifted and accelerated their eCommerce plans since the pandemic. We always had the forethought that small businesses need help, and now more than ever, we are there to support them.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ted Bigham: We had plans for expansion starting in Q2 of 2020. With the pandemic, we had to put our plans on hold, unfortunately, due to safety concerns. We even have to turn some clients away because demand is so strong now and we cannot safely support them with given staff. Businesses need help now more than ever. Many lessons were learned during these times. We have had some partners thrive, and some fail due to how they handled things during the lockdowns and when tensions are high. Some businesses immediately shutdown and some were able to keep going; it all depended on leadership and not panicking when bad things happen, which can be tough to do. Employees and people understand that times are tough, so they are willing to work with you, whether it be fewer hours, pay cuts, time off, or in some cases, working more. We have also made our payments flexible in certain cases for existing clients that needed additional help or even reducing costs in some cases to do what we can. Every month we put out a newsletter where we answer questions from the community about small businesses and support a local charity, which is so important now to help where you can.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you protect yourself and Kow Abundant in the future?
Ted Bigham: We are sensitive to the events around us. One helpful resource has been Jason Barger and the Thermostat Podcast, which we work on. We also attend virtual leadership events like Thermostat Cultures Live. Listening to the staff, your partners, and your clients are essential now more than ever. We designate Mondays as a planning day where we focus on preparing for the future and give ourselves some gentle space that day with no meetings allowed. We will also take Friday’s when possible without meetings. It is so important now to take some steps back and reflect on how you feel, what you can do, and have that space to ask how you can better serve your clients. I often meditate as well to reflect and clear my head when possible. Finally, having phone calls with friends and partners is important and to ask and better, listen to how they are doing and what they are stressed about.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ted Bigham: We are a Columbus SEO company, so we have many competitors in this space. We actually partner with many of them because we are a niche product and a great price. We ask that our clients are in Columbus, Ohio, or have some connection to this area or meet through a referral, which keeps things local. Many of our competitors are much more expensive, and we are in a good spot to support local businesses. We often refer clients that are larger to other so-called “competitors,” and they do the same for us. It is all about helping local businesses for us, so no matter how that happens, we win!
Your final thoughts?
I want to thank you so much for this time and appreciate the sincere questions about COVID-19 and support local businesses. For every dollar spent locally, up to $0.62 stays in the local economy. Local restaurants need your help this winter, so buy gift cards to your favorite local spots. Remember, shop local and support local.