There’s no doubt that businesses are being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is a tiny, invisible virus that has created a large and visible change around the world. Seemingly overnight, and with little advance notice, our world and the business landscape changed. Business routines have been uprooted. But, with every wind of change comes to the opportunity for growth and innovation.
This is a challenging time. The impact of the pandemic on our businesses can be all-consuming. Especially when sales are dipping and cash is running low. But, remember you must take care of yourself. During this scary time, you must carve out moments for yourself. Taking care of yourself is important. Find a way that works for you. Try to eat well, exercise, and find time for inner quiet contemplation. Taking care of yourself will help you to stay calm, which in turn will keep your staff calm, and ultimately, help you successfully navigate your business through this trying time.
Here are three strategies that will help every business weather the current business environment.
1. Modify Supply Chain composition.
Reconfigure your supply chain to include other partners you may not have previously considered. Think locally. For example, we usually partner with factories in Asia to manufacture our Fresh doll fashions. However, now local sewers have excess capacity and are offering more attractive rates. This makes them an ideal partner. Finding local partners can be mutually beneficial for both parties.
We support our local economy while providing your customers with products that make their lives a little more entertaining. The Fresh Dolls, Positively Perfect, and Fresh Squad Doll collections allow us to provide a small diversion to our customers during this time of devastation. Having new items allows our Fresh Doll Fans (called the Fresh Family) to play with their dolls and escape from the reality that seems like a bad apocalyptic sci-if movie.
2. Implement online collaborations and strategies.
With everyone practicing “social distancing” it’s key to Improve remote efficiency. By utilizing online collaboration tools like Monday.com, Google Docs, Zoom, and the like to keep things running efficiently. It also allows teams to see one another and maintain a personal connection.
During economic crises like this, most large companies decrease their advertising spend. According to Ad Age, in 2009, the last year of the Great Recession, U.S. ad spending plunged 12 percent. Being in an economic downturn doesn’t mean you don’t need advertising; in fact, the opposite is true. The “cherry on top” is that advertising rates will be lower due to supply and demand. So, now is the time to speak with your ad rep and get a deep discount on your spend.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cost-per-click, cost-per-impression, or cost-per-acquisition; pricing tends to be a greater value during these times. While your current and potential customers are being quarantined at home, they are spending more time in front of screens. They are still clicking, shopping, and buying. This is the perfect time to reach out to them via online advertising and promotion: while receiving a better return on your advertising dollar.
Customers are home surfing the internet and social media for entertainment. Make yourself visible. Develop a strong internet presence by upgrading your website, creating a blog, and increasing social media followers. Be creative. Find ways to help them discover your products and services.
Necker’s Toyland, a toy store in Simsbury, Connecticut, that’s been in business since 1948, also had to get creative. They’re offering a FaceTime browsing option, virtually walking kids around the store, so they can pick out something that’ll keep them busy during the quarantine. Then they’re offering curbside pickup or delivery to nearby towns. Now is a rare opportunity. You have a fairly captive audience. Perfect opportunity to share how your products or services can improve their lives.
This is also a great time to discover who is your target audience. What are their habits, hobbies, and demographics?
Get to know them intimately. Then find out what they want by creating an online survey or use social media engagement. Truly explore your customer’s characteristics. Then ask yourself are the current products and services you offer a great match? You can gain insights on whether your current service and products are meeting their needs. This will help you fine-tune and create highly effective promotional campaigns.
As you evaluate products to determine which are your highest selling and lowest-selling items. Look at them from a new perspective. Which items need to be purged from your catalog listing? Which items should be improved to make them more appealing? Perhaps prices should be adjusted? As evidenced in a recent article, even the Fortune 100, like P&G have to offer products with pricing differentiation to customers.
The prospect of another recession has investors nervous, and P&G faced questions about how it would fare during a July 30 earnings conference call. Chairman-CEO David Taylor said P&G is better positioned now for a downturn because “we play across many price tiers.” For example, Gillette has re-emphasized some of its older, lower-cost brands such as Mach III. P&G has rolled out a value-priced tier of its Tide laundry detergent. Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller also noted that P&G has gotten out of businesses that are more vulnerable to recession, including salon hair care and prestige fragrances. The company’s increased focus on “daily use staples,” Moeller said, “doesn’t mean we are immune to trade down,” but it does give P&G a broader range of products relevant to a slowing economy.
3. Innovate and Rejuvenate.
This is the ideal time to relax and allow your creativity to flow. Perhaps you’ve had an idea but haven’t had the time to develop or implement it. Now is the time.
Perhaps you’ve put off taking a class, reaching out to a business mentor, or reading “That” book. Now is the time. There are several books that can improve your business profits, operations, and sales. Some of my favorite books are:
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz.
- The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael A. Singer.
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.
- You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth.
- Remote: Office Not Required.
- Surge: Time the Marketplace, Ride the Wave of Consumer Demand, and Become Your Industry’s Big Kahuna.
- Toilet Paper Entrepreneur: The tell-it-like-it-is guide to cleaning up in business, even if you are at the end of your roll.
- The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself.
- Instant Systems: Foolproof Strategies That Let Your Business Run Itself.
- Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself.
Written by Dr. Lisa Williams. Have you read?
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