These are tough times for businesses across so many sectors. When the Coronavirus first started to spread across the world, it was those in the travel and tourism sector, which were immediately hit. But, it soon became apparent that few businesses and few households would escape the impact of COVID-19.
So is there anything practical that organizations can do to survive the COVID-19 lockdown? Below are practical tips on how businesses can survive during the COVID-19 lockdown, as we all emerge into a new way of living and working.
While there is no doubt that many businesses are currently in survival mode, simply doing all they can to “keep the lights on,” it is also vital that firms look to the future if they are to emerge in a position of strength.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be working from home, or you may be able to begin operating your company in a manner that is more akin to pre COVID-19 times.
In many parts of the world, we are beginning to see the small green shoots of recovery as countries and authorities begin a slow easing of lockdown measures and some businesses are able to open up once more – albeit in a different way.
In the meantime, here are some ideas you can implement to help ensure the survival of your business during these unprecedented times:
1. Don’t give anyone the hard sell
The majority of people are going through their own struggles right now, whether they are trying to keep their own business afloat or they have been furloughed or lost their job.
So, it is unlikely that anyone will want to engage with your business if the messages you are putting out are all about the “hard sell”.
Rather than thinking about offering a product, think about how you can offer support to your existing and potential customers and clients.
2. But don’t let everyone forget about you either
Just because you aren’t giving your products or services a hard push, that does not mean you should forget completely about your marketing – far from it.
Many industries rely on advertising and word of mouth recommendations to survive, particularly those in field industries such as tradespeople. You can find more practical business growth ideas specifically focused on field industries in this useful article.
No matter what industry you are in, it’s important that you maintain a marketing presence. This is the time to ramp up rather than scale down your digital marketing efforts.
Think about simply checking in with your clients to ask how they are and let them know you are thinking about them. Consider whether your social media efforts and whether you can offer any practical assistance and support to fellow businesses or customers.
For example, could you post a series of small videos giving practical help? Are you involved in helping the community in any way? Are you doing anything for charity, for example?
Keeping your brand at the forefront of people’s minds, even if they can’t afford your services right now, will ensure you are the first person they contact when they are able to.
Yes, most of us are stuck in our homes for the majority of the time right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t network. If you look at Linkedin or business forums on Facebook, for example, you will notice that many people are more active now rather than less.
You will see businesses coming together to help each other by offering services, advice, and support. Make sure you are part of this conversation.
You may receive some practical suggestions, as well as potentially gaining new future clients through your networking efforts.
4. Get your pricing structure right, but don’t make it a priority
Just a few short weeks ago, the business that offered the lowest prices may have been the one to win the client. However, in these times, that will not be the case.
While customers and clients need to be cost-conscious, they are also much more concerned about health and safety protocols.
If your business does interact with the public and you have new hygiene and cleanliness policies and practices in place, make sure you let your customers know about them. This should form part of your digital marketing strategy.
5. Be prepared to adapt after the COVID-19 lockdown
Everyone, the world over, will be forced to adapt in some way, certainly in the near future. And, the same holds true for businesses. Think about your business plan.
Is there anything you could do to either save costs right now or to grow your business in the future? Are there additional revenue streams you can look at?
This may entail moving into the provision of new, or slightly different, services, or looking at new demographics or geographical areas.
You may also have to move some services online if possible.
6. Train yourself and your employees
Use this time you have wisely. While it’s obviously not good to have time on your hands because you have fewer clients, you will, hopefully never have this amount of thinking, strategizing, and training time again.
So, make the most of the time you have right now.
Think about how you can upskill yourself and your team. Are there any skills that you feel are missing from your repertoire which would help you to adapt your business and grow revenue once it is safe to do so?
For example, you could look at a social media course so you are better at getting your brand messaging across to your audience. Or, could you take part in webinars being run by others in your industry?
Making sure that your skills are up-to-date and that you potentially learn new ones will ensure you are in a position of strength going forward.
7. Strengthen your brand
Think about what you and your brand stand for, and how you can emphasize that in these troubled times. It may be, for example, that there are projects within the communities you serve which you could get involved in.
That way, you get yourself, your brand, and your business in front of people in a way that is not only beneficial for you but which will do well. It’s a win-win scenario.
8. Stay focused on your goals
It is all too easy to panic during troubled times. After all, the world has not seen anything like this in terms of global impact since the last world wars. So, it is only natural to feel down at times about if, and when, recovery will happen.
However, it’s more important than ever to remain focused on your business goals. What are the strategic imperatives for your business? Are these still relevant? Will you need to consider using different methods or timescales to achieve these?
By remaining focused on your goals, even if you do have to adapt, you should put yourself, and your team, in the right frame of mind to weather this storm.
While there’s no doubt that it won’t be easy, the businesses that do manage to navigate through this crisis will be the ones in the best position to build resilience for the times ahead.
By keeping all of these steps in mind when thinking about how businesses can survive during the COVID-19 lockdown, you can embed resilience into your business to ensure you can get through anything the future may throw at you.
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Larry Henderson is a Digital marketing expert with knowledge and expertise in SEO & SEM marketing.