The time has come to master the PIVOT. Business owners are facing a new marketplace. What do we do when we are entering a new market or launching a new product? We research. We listen. We ADAPT!
For non-essential business owners, as heartbreaking as it is right now, to survive a crisis, you need to change your strategy.
Past economic crises and events have shown us that businesses that act and prepare throughout the crisis will be better off on the other side of the crisis.
What is meant by the phrase ‘Pivot & Adapt’?
If your business offers non-essential services or products, the way you usually would operate or run your business is not likely to work anymore.
So we have to start strategising! Ask yourself this question - What can my business offer NOW?
Impending lockdowns mean, we are entering a digital marketplace. Devastating job losses mean, expenditure will be down, so we need to price-adjust. People in their homes are not able to leave, meaning they will be looking for home entertainment opportunities. Kids not being in school means more pressure on parents to educate and entertain.
If you haven’t had to shut shop, and are able to stay open, instead of being swept up in the devastation, PIVOT and ADAPT. Use your business to create new opportunities that will help others.
Focus on the solutions your business can offer the world. Business ownership is no longer about making profits. We will all become humbled.
Now, more than ever, there are added fundamental burdens on business owners, to cover expenses, help employment rates and support the economy.
Non-essential business owners shouldnt expect profitable turnover during this crisis. That sort of thinking will come in handy on the other side of the recovery.
We have to change our mindset and think outside the box. Share our ideas. Come up with new ways to serve and support our audience and customers.
Take the time to get your affairs in order. Deal with the shock, the sacrifices, problems that arise financially and emotionally. But remember, Crisis Management 101 - once the shock and overwhelm subsides, we CAN adjust!
For business owners, your first priority will be to take care of your financial and legal obligations. Receive advice from your accountants and financial institutions, and look into what assistance The Government can provide you and your employee’s.
Your second order of business should be something as simple as a complete business re-evaluation. Re-evaluate the prices of your services. Re-evaluate the priority of your product ranges. Re-evaluate the NEEDS of your customers and the marketplace, NOW and after the crisis.
Something as easy as evaluation, can help you shift focus, make changes and PIVOT. It can mean that you might be able to ADJUST the products or services you offer to your customers.
Don’t dismiss your business, because it is not on the “front-lines” of the crisis, or because it’s not classified as an essential business.
The world will still needs a little joy amidst the chaos.
People will still need to celebrate Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries. Life and death. The fundamental groundwork of our culture and society will not disappear. Yes, household budgets will be tighter, but for most, we will adjust and adapt to what is to come. Without delving into the ‘consumer mindset’, it all comes back to our human nature and psychological needs.
For Those Businesses Affected
Retailers & eCommerce Businesses
Re-work your price strategies. Being more efficient in production and distribution methods can help lower your prices to be more fitting with the new norm of household spend. Consider relaxing your shipping timeframes and delivery expectations, to help cut costs too.
Build your brand image and audience. Your customers might be tuning into news reports and Centrelink announcements right now. However, there will still be a small minority that will want to escape the negativity of the media. And slowly (but surely) that small minority will grow into a majority.
Utilise the quiet time to be more present and engaged in the communications and messages you send to customers and supporters. Look for new appropriate marketing channels of communication. If you haven’t tried Pinterest or interacted with that Facebook Group, now is your chance to try it. There will be those who will want to hear from you, and those who may not even know of you yet. Use this as an oppoto engage and seek cold or new markets.
Adjust your eCommerce network and logistics. Are you using useless apps or hosting packages that are not serving a purpose for your website? Can you cut monthly fees or find alternate Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems that are cheaper for you to run? Have you fully-leveraged the free and readily available network of Social Media and groups in your marketing? And don’t underestimate the power of grassroots marketing!
Manage your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) more effectively. Contact your past customers, get feedback on what they need right now? Or let them know you’re introducing affordable products that will serve them. Introduce loyalty plans, and offer vouchers that they can use with no expiration date.
Prioritise and segregate! Focus on the products that will be in-demand and can help serve your customers and their problems. Forget past sales, look at cost-effective and high-value products that serve. And communicate your benefits and messages more effectively.
Eventhough gyms are closed, Gym or Yoga Instructors can consider offering group class sessions online. There are many free promotional avenues and free software options that can help you get virtual classes up and running in minutes. And the best news… PayPal still accepts payments with no minimums.
Day Spa Owners
Aside from providing the benefit of a service, do you know what else you provide? Expertise and knowledge! You are experts in therapy services and matters of beauty. Areas in which us regular folk barely dabble in. Consider using your experience to educate customers on what they can do for their skin and body at home.
Pivot and adapt by creating in-home treatment products that can be purchased online and delivered. Start virtual groups where customers and their friends can be taught how to create ambient spaces (in their homes) and apply treatments you are selling. Just because customers can’t visit your day spa or have you provide the service, doesn’t mean we are going to stop washing our faces, or not apply a home mask at night while watching the news.
The biggest public display of a ‘pivot and adapt’ action, can be seen by looking at the restrictions imposed on Restaurants. Those that have never dreamt of providing food kits, selling supplies or takeaway options, have now been forced into rethinking their efforts and logistics to provide take-away services.
Yet, while in the midst of restricted movements requested of us by Government, many of those small restaurants and take-away outlets, have been a saving grace for those who are still able to go to work, and need a fast meal on the table.
Play Centres & Clubs
Consider this, school closures mean all the kids that will be stuck at home, at some point, will have nothing to do. As much as us parents love our kids, we will end up going bonkers. It’s inevitable.
Even in and out of school holidays, parents will have to find new ways to entertain their children. Save them from watching mindless TV shows, consider creating virtual group play and group exercises online. Where kids can still be supervised by parents who are working from home, and interact with their peers (at the same time). Remember to ensure your groups are privately operated and restricted for cyber safety.
Build & Support Your Little Community!
If there was ever a time to stop and be thankful for your past customers, friends and family, that have helped support and follow your business… NOW is the time.
Stay connected, talk to your audience, maintain their trust, and in the process, you will "accidentally" remain top-of-mind on their next purchase decision.
When we get to the other side of this bridge, and our economy starts to recover, people will shop with those they know. Those they have supported throughout this. The businesses that have shared their brand personality and have a brand presence that connects and is relatable.
To all of you, stay healthy and stay safe.
If you have any great ideas on what other business owners can do, leave your comments below, so we can share and look after each other.
Follow Marketing Your Brand on social media, as we share more marketing tips.