The question isn’t as daft as it sounds. We’ve all heard about the industries that are having great difficulties (like Leisure and Entertainment), but ask the same question to the big supermarket chains and you will get a very different answer! And those supermarkets which geared up quickly to meet the huge surge in online demand have done especially well, as have local farm and corner shops.
At times like this, business owners experience successive waves of optimism and pessimism; the furlough scheme came as a huge relief, which was soon dissipated by worries about what happens further down the track.
The stress of making loyal staff redundant has never been so great, but the focus is inevitably on short-term survival. Try to balance the books the best you can and await developments…
There’s plenty of good advice out there on what you must do to keep things tight, and I do not propose to repeat solemn words about cash flow, overheads, and profit margins.
My point is that the worst battles lie ahead and are already raging within the business owner’s mind – centred on the question:
I have heard some business owners say things like:
‘Our customers know where we are, and we don’t want to bother them, so we’ll just sit tight and see what happens’ or…
‘I’ve mailed all my customers and will see what comes back’.
The key lesson from this pandemic: ‘It’s good to talk’
We have seen how important it is to maintain the strongest possible communication links throughout this crisis. But that is a good habit at any time, so what is new?
For business owners, it is crucial to avoid obsessive contemplation of your own problems. It should be clear that all your customers are experiencing similar waves of optimism and pessimism, and are searching desperately for solutions to their woes.
So why not try this for starters:
Put yourself in their position
- What are your customer’s concerns?
- Can you come up with solutions that may go some way to addressing them?
- Draw up simple plans that show how you could help them
You could well find that you identify pent-up demands for new ideas, products or services.
Just look around and you can see plenty of examples:
- Online Zoom meetings doing all manner of distance learning, therapy sessions
- Arts companies running free performances of plays and operas online
- The boom in the sale of products online (requiring products to be packaged and serviced differently)
- Pubs and restaurants ‘ticking over’ by offering takeaway food and drink
One of my clients is a sports coaching company – focused on youngsters – who have been locked down for months – frustrated, bored, fed up with home learning and being unable to be with their mates. My client proposed online coaching sessions, which schoolteachers loved, and 1-2-1 coaching sessions, which parents craved! ‘Anything to get them off our hands and getting good exercise!’
For him, it has opened up two potential lines of new business development: online live coaching classes and a sports coaching video library for ongoing sales.
What he has also found is that if you can identify and meet new demands like this quickly and well, customers are willing to pay over the odds, provided that the pricing is sensible.
Your good pandemic guide
- Stabilise your short-term business
- Look ahead by speaking and listening to your customers and suppliers
- Come up with new, imaginative ideas that will enable their own business development and well as your own
- Execute those ideas briskly and efficiently
- Do this, and you can bet that you will steal a march on many of your competitors
So you can….
Look forward to the ‘new normal’
Your local CMC Partner (that’s me, for one) stands ready and able to help you. We do this for many clients and can offer the type of strategic planning and emergency services that could be the very lifeline you need right now.
The worst thing one can do is to sit on one’s hands and ‘await developments An American satirist once said: ‘Disaster is a natural part of my evolution. Toward tragedy and dissolution’. To be avoided, don’t you think? So why not chew carefully on that and give us a call?