Outspoken Intel’s COVID-19 Business Survival Guide (8 things you can do right now!)
Yep, none of us expected this sudden business challenge, and it’s understandable if you’re freaking out unsure of what you can do right now to lessen the impact. What we don’t want to do is bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best with our business. We want to build business resilience, to know that in the face of adversity, we’ll come out fighting, and do whatever we can for long-term success.
Check out these 8 things that you can do NOW to ensure your business stays afloat during these challenging times.
1. Stay Visible
This is the single MOST IMPORTANT point you should take note of. Don’t pull out of your marketing efforts. While there is uncertainty about the potential economic impact of COVID-19, what is certain is that we will recover. NOW is the time to promote your business and plan your marketing strategy for the rest of the year.
While your competitors might slow down or stop their marketing activities completely, stay top of mind by investing in your social media, paid social campaigns, Google Ads, SEO, blog posts and more. Firstly, it shows you have a resilient business, and secondly, where is everyone spending their time if they’re in self-isolation? You guessed it – maxing out their mobile plans on their phones.
Remember, where there is scarcity, people search. If goods are not available, consumers WILL search for alternatives.
2. Love Your Customer
What makes your business tick? Your customers! And right now you need to love them HARD. What this means is keep your lines of communication open. Be sure to provide regular updates through all channels and make sure you look after your most loyal customers as a priority. If you have a database, make sure you are providing support and adding value to those who support you. Keep your social media going, engage with customers who are asking questions and find out what they need right now.
Put your customer service team (which may just be you!), in a cape and super-charge it by going above and beyond. If the customer can’t come to you, find a way to get to them through various online channels.
3. Improvise, Overcome and Adapt
We’re a big believer in this! When faced with a difficult or unusual situation, you need to really think outside the box and improvise! How can you adapt what you offer to your customers? Having a resilient business means having a level of flexibility. For example, you can offer flexible payment plans, fill a new market need, offer delivery or go remote and hold your meetings via Zoom or Skype.
4. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
If business has slowed, use this time to simplify your product or service offerings. If you’ve got a product or service that doesn’t perform well, drop it! It’s the perfect time to take stock of everything you offer and be ruthless. By simplifying what you offer, you can put more time and effort into marketing high performing services and products.
5. Keep it Slick
Yes, keep it slick. Your systems, that is! What a great time to rejig your processes and procedures or put new systems in place to adapt to the current environment. Things to consider could be your CRM or customer database, your back-end operations and access for staff working remotely.
When you eliminate bottlenecks and manual intervention, you increase efficiency and hopefully productivity and profitability in the process.
6. Think Ahead
It’s important that with everything going on right now, that you still plan ahead. We’re big on planning, and while it’s tempting to focus on RIGHT NOW, you must consider where your business will be in 6 month’s time. What can you do to ensure that your business is flourishing later in the year? Take the time to plan – what steps are you going to take now to have a robust business at the end of 2020?
7. Build Your A Team, and get Flexible
Take the time to work with your team to bring out their best. Break your 12-month business plan into 90-day blocks and make the priorities clear. Ensure your remote work environment is set up and functioning for all your staff and highlight star performers.
If you don’t have systems in place to manage priorities and workflow in a remote capacity – now is the time. We love Monday, Trello and Slack.
8. Know Your Numbers
If profit & loss reports just ain’t your thing, that’s fine! We get it, but it’s important in times like this that you know your numbers. What’s your break-even, what grants and exemptions are you eligible for, how can you shorten your time to get paid? There are many ways to improve your short-tern business position by being a numbers wizard right now – and if you need help, call on your accountant to provide a guiding hand. That’s why you pay them the big bucks when things are running smoothly!
Stay safe & healthy – and remember that we’re in this together…
Want to get more hands-on guidance? Check out Nicola’s Weekly Column on Coastbeat, Outspoken Intel, or visit her website and request an online consultation.
About the authors:
Nicola Ruitenberg is co-owner at Outspoken Entourage. Bringing disruptive design to the Coffs Coast, Outspoken Entourage offers a range of services including graphic design, logo and branding, website design, digital marketing packages and social media workshops for business. Marketing and business strategy services are also available through their affiliate, One Fine Day Consulting. Find out more at outspokenentourage.com.au
Sarah Poole is an all-round business professional, having held numerous executive level roles across a variety of industries including ICT, Health & Wellness, and FMCG. She holds a double degree in Business and Communications, and has been a board member for a number of not-for-profit and privately held companies over the past decade.
She is the superstar behind One Fine Day Consulting, a Coffs Harbour agency for marketing and business strategy.