Juanny Romero, Founder & CEO | Las Vegas, NV | B2B / Food Services
JUANNY ROMERO, FOUNDER & CEO
70% of small businesses say digital tools have been useful to them during the COVID crisis, with 30% of them saying digital tools have been essential.
A majority of American small businesses are relying more on digital tools to communicate with their customers, find new customers, and sell products and services online during the COVID-19 crisis
“It’s like Cheers, everyone knows your name here,” Juanny says. “The community we have is so important to me. These aren’t just my customers and coworkers—they’re my friends.”
The adoption of digital tools was not a natural inclination for Juanny. “My life is all about what I can see, touch, and smell, so I approached the digital world with a little hesitation.” The more she has come to know digital tools, however, the more she has come to appreciate their value. It began when she discovered the power of her Google Business Profile, almost by accident. “I guess I set it up and forgot,” she says. “Then someone told me about these great reviews, and I was blown away.” Since then, Juanny has been proactive in updating her company’s profile and using Google Analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. She also converted her back office into a digital office with G Suite apps like Docs, Calendar, and Drive. These tools help Juanny and her employees do everything from punching in to processing paperwork. She also began using Google Ads to bring in more customers—or, perhaps more accurately, new members of Juanny’s coffee-based community.
“During the good times, it’s great to be CEO because you get to drink coffee and talk,” Juanny says. “But when a crisis hits, all eyes turn to you.” And so, when the COVID pandemic came to Las Vegas, it was initially terrifying. She asked herself: What would happen to her? Her employees? Her company? Juanny knew she had to find a way to keep her company solvent. “I’d survived one recession already, but this was just a different beast altogether,” she recalls, “The digital side of the business is what really saved us. Moreover, it opened the door to a whole new online community that is going to continue positively impacting us into the future.”
Juanny began with some peace of mind knowing that her back office could continue functioning because it had gone digital. And, thanks to the online ordering capabilities she implemented prior to the pandemic, her stores were able to continue doing business digitally. But she also needed to find a way to bring in additional revenue, so she turned to Google Trends to help her assess how best to move forward. She used this data to formulate a new social media and online advertising strategy on platforms like Facebook and Google Ads to drive customers to the part of her business that was almost entirely digital: the sustainably sourced coffee beans she sold online. She also added a web function that allowed visitors to donate coffee to first responders and healthcare workers—with Juanny kicking in two additional bags for each one donated. She was amazed at the response: Customers started flocking in droves and buying her coffee online. The media took notice as well.
“We became the coffee shop of Las Vegas because we were helping others,” Juanny says. “The sense of community I found online reminded me of why I started a coffee shop in the first place. That was not something I was expecting but it’s something I’m truly grateful to have discovered.” It also saved her company, which went from generating losses to posting a profit during the pandemic.
Juanny is eager to reconnect with her in-person community and has plans to open a new shop within the next month—and three shops within the next year. But she also plans to deepen ties with the community she discovered online. She is currently working hard to produce new products for her customers and new ways for them to donate, too. “I feel like I discovered a superpower when I found these digital tools,” Juanny says. “And I’m excited to continue using them to enhance my company and community.”
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