The coronavirus crisis is providing a huge challenge for every single industry and businesses have faced an incredibly tough last three-four weeks.
But now is not the time to scale back your business or shut up shop. Instead, it’s time to keep your focus, be proactive and steer your business through these troubled times so you come out the other end stronger.
Here are five strategies to help your business not only survive during this difficult period but to thrive when the crisis subsides.
Be a pilot
There are five types of business owner in a crisis. The ostrich, with their head in the sand; the victim, who feels sorry for themself; the retreater, who scales back; the cheerleader, who thinks everything’s fine; and the pilot, who is calm, decisive and thinks quickly and clearly. Now is the time for you to be a pilot. So, be clear on your strategic objective/where you want to go; look at how you’re going to get there/your route to market; assess the current risks/stress test your business, customers and suppliers; make sure you have sufficient fuel/cash flow; don’t carry any excess overheads that might weigh you down; have a first-class crew and support team around you; and fill your cabin with delighted customers.
Be ‘open’ for business
Just because you’ve had to close your factory or showroom, it doesn’t mean that the customer-facing side of your business has shut down too. Be visible to your existing customers, respond to emails, deal with enquiries, handle quotes and process them if you can. You must stay relevant so don’t switch off your marketing, particularly as more people are engaging with communication channels during this period. Your customers need to know what’s going on in your business so communicate how you’re tackling the crisis and how you’re currently operating.
Focus on your excess share of voice
Companies that play the strategic game and focus on their share of voice over their return on investment will, over time, increase their share of market. Look at where you want to be in two years. Now is the perfect time to create excess share of voice to help you get there as some of your competitors will be reducing their marketing activity and advertising while some will have to withdraw completely. This leaves a gap for you to fill and a share for you to take.
Build your brand
Companies with a strong brand perform much better through uncertain times, with research suggesting they bounce back from a crisis around 18 months quicker than companies with a weak brand. In uncertain times customer loyalty increases and we are more selective of where we spend our money and gravitate towards brands we know and trust. Your brand is so important in times of crisis.
Your customers are still online, researching, learning and engaging with content – and if they’re not talking to you then you can bet they’ll be talking to your competitors. Sitting on your hands and doing nothing will damage your business, staff and customers and it will take much longer for you to bounce back when the market starts to recover. Remember, your competitors are also facing the same challenges and the winners will be the those who are the most decisive and can hit the ground running.
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