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How Your Business Can Survive & Thrive Despite COVID 19 & a Crappy Economy

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Before I jump into this one – I just want to say that I hope you, your family and friends are all well.  

We are always dealing with change in our lives, but in my short time on this planet, the past month has been overwhelming at times. 

But if history repeats itself, as it is prone to do, this will pass.  This means we need to focus on getting through these challenging times and positioning ourselves and our businesses to be prepared for the brave new world to follow.

This article touches on some proven steps that will help.

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Talk With Your Clients & Prospects

They need to hear from you. And you need to hear from them.

Like you, they are going through changes. And those changes will impact your ability to serve them as we move forward. 

Plus, being proactive and reaching out to them to see how they are and what you can do will be appreciated by most, if not all.

Personal phone calls will be critical for your key accounts and prospects. This ‘high touch’ personal approach really shows you care, especially if compared to another email blast from a CEO.

But the right type of email and content marketing will also be appreciated.  And remember that with most people working from home, the work email will reach them. where the office phone number might not be forwarded to their home.  

All of your communication efforts should focus on learning about their needs and how you can help, and then explaining how they can get the help they need from you.  

Keep the tone friendly, the offers open to “we’re in this together” and “here’s how we can help you with X” rather than “Buy One, Get One” and “Save 25%, Offer Ends Friday” which have a high likelihood of sounding self-serving and selfish.

 

Rework the Budget

Notice I said “rework” versus “cut.”  

I did that for a very important reason. When people look to “cut the budget,” they are looking to cut versus creating the right budget for the times.  The end result of “cutting” tends to be “we won’t do this, we won’t do that” and you need a budget that “allows us to operate effectively in trying times.”

To reduce expenses, don’t forget to approach the landlord and discuss the lease. 

Talk to your vendors and explore payment options.  Ask for more favorable terms so that necessary expenses are lowered and your cash flow is improved.

And when it comes to marketing, identify those activities that are no longer necessary – like conferences and trade shows.

Then look at what has delivered a favorable return as well as what hasn’t – then either cut the activities that haven’t been effective or reallocate the money to what has been effective.

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Rework Your Plan

Your existing marketing/business plan is out the window.

The reality upon which that plan was built no longer exists – and that’s why you need to speak with your clients and top prospects. 

How has this change impacted their need for your products and services? Has it created opportunities for new products and services?

What are their buying criteria today versus previously?  Before, they might have focused on service and support – but today, they want payment terms to help with their cashflow.

Or maybe they now have a new buying process that includes new steps and new people.  You need to figure out how you need to address these changes to position your operations and processes for future business.

You may need to change your messaging and offers. And that means rewriting a lot of different materials ranging from printed brochures, product information sheets and direct mail to email, website and more.

Will you be like some of the businesses that are now promoting ‘virtual sales and service calls’ to meet government-mandated “safe distance”?

Is your business a traditional retail business that relies on foot traffic in your store?  Are you shifting to online ordering and delivery in response to the pandemic?  If you are, you need to let your customers know – and explain how this new process works.

In Times Like These, We All Can Use Some Help.

If I can help, ask. 

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