Economic downturns, global recessions, wars, political chaos, natural disasters and pandemics – the world has seen them all in the last 100 years. Many business leaders are tuned to happenings around to understand how their organisations would be impacted by external changes.
Coronavirus has hit the world in ways that no one fathomed. As of April 8th, as many as 14 million people have tested positive and more than 82,000 people have died. Citizens are under lockdown and many industries have taken a massive hit. Recent news is all about how consumption has dropped drastically and markets have slowed down in most regions.The world in the 21st century was surely not expecting everything to grind to a complete halt. If anyone had anticipated the economic game to pause globally, theirs would be a lone voice drowned in the noise of everyday economic buzz.
Businesses won’t operate as usual in the immediate future. Plans have gone haywire and production has been hit. With only essential items available, most businesses are shut. Each day we wake to new information that puts the skills of business owners and leaders to test. So, how can small businesses stay afloat and continue to promote themselves in these times?
If you are in the league of leaders who have taken stock of the situation and are working on alternative business and marketing options for your product/service, great going! If you are in the process or yet to start off, that’s good too. Here are some ideas that could come handy to get some thinking going.
1. Take a relook at your business and marketing goals –
This is a great opportunity to take stock of your business and marketing goals. What were the goals you set at the beginning of the year? We are just over three months into 2020 and it’s a good time to sit back and evaluate progress made. Analyse campaigns that worked and didn’t in the last few months. There are a lot of factors for a campaign to not do well such as competition or demand. Since the circumstances are different now, so are those factors. And exploring possibilities of running those campaigns in this new light may give different results. These campaigns can also be a vehicle to provide offers, coupons, discounts that customers can redeem in the future. This helps in promoting your brand and allows customers to make a commitment to your product or service.
2. Learn a new skill and reinvent – It’s a good time to think of expansion. What other products or services can you offer with your expertise and setup? For example, it is being reported that some shoe manufacturers are pivoting into making face masks and other protective gear to meet the high demand. This also helps them deploy employees and their skills in different ways. Road bumps are at every stage when you run a business. What can you do creatively and reinvent?
3. Build a strong online presence – Only businesses that are online are operating right now. It is critical that your business is online. If you hadn’t given much thought in building an online presence before, it’s not too late. People spend most of their time online now more than ever, be it for consuming content or transacting for business or personal needs. Seize this opportunity to start your online journey. It’s never too late to join the party.
4. Reach out to new partners – It’s opportunity time! Since it’s not business as usual, you probably have time on your hands now. Don’t use this time as vacation. Use it to explore and reach out to brand new partners. The world is open for connections right now. Call up or connect online and talk to new businesses. Find out how they are coping with the crisis. This gives opportunity for you to think of ways to partner with them. It’s possible they are in need of a critical product/service that you can deliver easily. You are not alone in this and joining forces will add more power.
5. Practice empathy – Remember that other people are going through difficult times too. Communicate well with your team and customers. Listen to their fears and ideas. Even if you plan to promote your brand, ensure the message resonates with the emotions of the people. This will help you build trust among your stakeholders.
Reminding yourself of the big picture, ‘why’ you started your entrepreneurial journey, and re-clarifying your vision are great ways to drive your marketing efforts. Customer engagement can continue to happen. It requires you to understand the needs of your customers in this situation, connect with them and creatively communicate how your product or service can make a difference.
The current Coronavirus pandemic has caused a mega crisis. But, crisis situations are usually the time when critical and difficult decisions are made. At times when the future seems bleak, remember that human endurance will find a way through this challenge. Being resilient and sensing opportunities in uncertain times is what makes a great entrepreneur.
If you need support to re-strategise your marketing, click the button below to reach Team Dusty!
Or if you just want a soul to chat up with and unburden during this crisis, Team Dusty will be glad to have a conversation.