Surviving a Downturn in your Business

Strategies for Surviving a Downturn in Your Business

Strategies for Surviving a Downturn in Your Business

It happened, the worst of the worst, and now you are caught holding the bag. You think we would have learned after events like Hurricane Sandy or hearing about the fires in Australia. The thought that most rings out, you can never be too prepared. Being personally prepared is one thing, but what about your business? When it hits the fan, how will your business recover?

We’ve all seen the recent headlines and dozens of emails; “we are here to help,” or “let us help you.” They are plastered just about everywhere. Businesses reaching out, trying to connect, and market themselves. Are these last-ditch hopes for these businesses, or will it allow them to weather the storm and survive? Only time will tell.

While things may look dismal from afar, it does also provide us with an opportunity to change and grow the mindset for which we operate.

  • For instance, if you are a retail outlet. Now would be an excellent time to make the transition to digital product fulfillment. Set up a web store and begin to offer shippable items online or furthermore curbside pickup and delivery. Offer discounts or free shipping to customers that order online through your web store.
  • Have you historically used print? Well, I hate to say it, but not many people want to touch anything these days, let alone pick up a newspaper. Digital, however, offers a whole new world of possibilities. Let’s face it; the world as a whole is communicating through phones and tablets. The majority of your clients are holding YOUR best marketing tool in the palm of their hands. For hours on end, people are watching videos, sending text messages, surfing the web, and searching, use it to your advantage. Digital has been known to improve ROI over print in many cases. It’s measurable, deliverable on demand, and it works.
  • Does your business offer any “essential” services, or just as importantly, can your company offer any “essential” services? The list is pretty big and also somewhat vague in some areas, you can take a look at NY’s essential business guide – NY Executive Order Guidance.

Speaking to clients, some have shifted marketing efforts and their service delivery dynamic to meet the needs of the current situation. Bars are offering curbside and delivery service for food and beverage items. Restaurants have gone full steam with delivery platforms. Plumbers and electricians are still offering services.

What should I do immediately?

  • Re-analyze and evaluate your business. Find products and services that you can offer remote, delivery, curbside, pick up and drop off, or online through one of the multitudes of platforms. If you don’t have anything to sell online then take a look at what you do, anyone can sell something online these days. Even though I’m a marketer, I have an eBay store with over 4k positive reviews. I’ve been selling little things here and there for over 15 years on eBay; you will be surprised what people will buy online when they need it.
  • Look at what’s essential to operate within your business. Sadly, many companies are going to lose people. Unfortunately, as a business owner, this is one of the toughest facts to face. However, look at what you can change first before losing your most valuable assets. Cut out unneeded expenses, reduce monthly recurring bills such as phone expenses, reduce your internet while people are out of the office. If you need to have multiple staff in your business, look to have an A/B day schedule for employees to keep the office running yet still safe. Even look to see if you need the office you currently have. With everyone scrambling to work from home, is it necessary to have so much space? Can you do with a smaller office by offering work from home solutions for your employees? Let’s touch on that.
  • Should my staff be working from home? Working remotely is going to be a challenge for just about every company with no plan in place. It’s challenging to manage, but if you have the right people on board, it can work well and be quite useful. I worked from home for many years. Honestly, I felt I got more done at home sometimes than in the office. Some people just adapt well to this environment, and others can take advantage of it. Working from home may be difficult for some people, too many distractions, overwhelmed by the technology involved, or not having the proper technology to do their jobs. As a business owner, we must take some responsibility in preparing our staff, training them, and giving them the necessary tools to do just as good of a job at home as in the office. It is essential to have a plan in place and, if not, develop one. If you can pull off a solid work from home strategy, this could reduce a lot of overhead from your business.

We talk a bit more about working from home in another post that you can share with your employees – Work From Home Tips. 

  • Market, Market, Market… NOW is a good time to brand and market yourself. Why may you ask? No one is buying right now. Your right, people are only buying necessities at the moment, but that won’t last forever. People are at home and researching things they are going to do once things settle down. They are researching businesses like yours. While many have put their marketing on pause, now is the time to slip in and get your business some traction.

At this very moment, you have a chance to get in front of a lot of bored people. These people have time to delve into topics they haven’t touched for a while. I recently spoke to an auto body shop owner who reinforced this very idea. He said, “we are the busiest we’ve been in a while.” Well, that makes sense, everyone is off from work, and their cars are sitting around. A perfect opportunity to get those small auto body repairs you were putting off for the last year because of time.

Why do big brands spend so much time on getting in your head? You’ve seen thousands of commercials from big-name brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, etc. Their marketing shifts with the world’s climate. Have you seen the recent Burger King Ad? “You might not be thinking of Burger King right now, but we are thinking of you.” It’s a perfect example of how a company shifts with their customer’s needs. Your business needs to do the same, don’t lose the opportunity to stick in someone’s mind while they have a lot of time to think about it. They may not be pulling the trigger today, but they will, at some point, now is the time to make your business one of their choices.

Friends that know me have heard me say the words “recession resistance” on more than one occasion. It’s something that has always been in the back of my head. Being a business owner, we had to consider worst-case scenarios. What would my business do if I had no customers walk through my door? It’s allowed me to reevaluate everything we’ve been doing thus far and ask how we as a company can help businesses market themselves better? 

Besides the obvious cost savings, ROI improvement, and customer acquisition, what other value can I provide my clients? In our case, it’s improving our execution month after month, finding new ways to reach new audiences, and exploring opportunities for our clients that they may not have touched yet.

Look to evaluate your current business, streamline costs, and explore ways to market yourself while you have the time to research. If you could reduce expenses and improve client acquisition techniques, it would be a win-win for your business in the long-run. 

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