It comes as no surprise that we are in the middle of an economic crisis.
Entrepreneurs are naturally an optimistic bunch, but the pandemic has somewhat damaged their glass half full approach, for even the most robust of business owners.
Lockdown has inevitably created a tremendous range of obstacles for a business of all sizes. We must now fight in an entirely different working landscape.
We work with an extensive range of companies and it is heartbreaking to see the UK’s proud army of business owners significantly struggle. The brutal reality is that those organisations who will most successfully navigate this crisis are those who are the most agile- it is simply a case of survival of the fittest or is it the most innovative?
Now, it is worth noting that you do not need to do this alone, we have learned many lessons from working with various businesses through lockdown, we have observed trends and success stories that we would like to share with you.
We have seen cases of businesses going back to the drawing board, frantically altering their products and services to suit the rapidly changing market. We’ve seen cases of businesses being pushed to open up their sales channels, focusing their efforts on e-commerce sales rather than through their physical stores. Believe it or not, we have seen businesses previously without ANY digital media presence in this technologically driven world that have now finally decided that the time is right to boost their online presence. So, I guess the question is, is it all as bad as we think? Or is it actually giving businesses the opportunity to adapt, change and improve how they work…
Although, we are human and sometimes we need support, someone to bounce ideas off and give a helping hand.
So here is what we suggest:
1. DIVERSIFY –
Charles Darwin would have built an incredible company. He knew that it’s the most adaptable who win in the end, the same is true within a business. During a crisis like COVID-19, the businesses that survive will be those with leaders that can adapt almost instantaneously to change.
We are now living and working in a drastically different manner. Your customer base, their methods of communication, and their accessibility are likely to have all have changed within a short time frame, so revisit your business model, product/service, and alter it if necessary, to ensure that it’s still effective and relevant within these times.
Survival tip: Pivot quickly – change your products and services to meet the new normal. (Listen to your customers, what do they want/need from you?)
2. ADAPT & SEE THE POSITIVES –
Please don’t feel disheartened about the current situation, try to see the opportunities available to both you and your business. The economy and consumer behavior are likely to be impacted for some time, but with change there comes opportunity.
Now that everything is rapidly moving online, there may no longer be the same geographical barriers limiting your customer base. We have worked closely with the Lisa Duffield Centre, a company that promotes wellbeing within both businesses & life. Marketing Adventures have worked with The Lisa Duffield Centre (LDC) since the beginning of the first lockdown, providing marketing mentoring, brand management, and social listening alongside digital marketing. Due to the fact we have taken the time to step back and listen to what people need from the LDC we have increased business by 35%. With the ever-evolving work environment and use of technology, your team may start to think more creatively and generate new solutions to maintain your success through the lockdown.
You may find that remote working is ideal for your business, giving you the opportunity long term to reduce your running costs. You may even identify a new market for your product or service in an industry you had not yet explored.
Survival tip: It is always the old sayings that are the best: “Every cloud has a silver lining”, try not to underestimate the opportunities given to your business during the lockdown, instead explore them. You never know where each new journey will take you.
3. CREATE COMMUNITIES-
Create communities of like-minded individuals. These may be individuals within your market, with similar-sized businesses, or with similar barriers to overcome. Creating these networks may help guide you, inspire you and they may have ideas that you simply haven’t thought of yet that help to keep your business afloat during these tough times. Now don’t worry these communities can grow online so will be socially distanced! LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook are great social platforms for business communities to flourish.
Survival tip: With every pair of hands, you get a free brain, so think about who you have around you and who can help your business. Create business communities to support you.
4. COMMUNICATE PROACTIVELY WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
Remind your customers that you are still open for business! Let them know exactly how you are keeping them safe so that they feel reassured to continue to use your services. Communicate with them & understand their needs & wants in this difficult time- what exactly can you do to support THEM? If you don’t have direct numbers for your customers, Instagram & Facebook have an ‘ask me questions’ widget on their stories section, this may be a great tool to use to interact with your customers & your wider target market.
Survival tip: Speak directly to your customers & your target market, let them know you are here for them and who is behind the business take it as an opportunity to build long-lasting relationships.
To conclude, things have changed considerably for many businesses, beyond most of our recognition. But, with change there comes the opportunity to grow, change is sometimes for the better and you may learn lessons that you would not have otherwise, as Winston Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.
– By Emily Smailes