10 Steps to Build a Resilient Business During the Pandemic
Adapt to survive is the mantra for human behaviour and business mindsets during this incredible, life-changing event we’re collectively experiencing. Unlike personal tragedies and isolated illness, this experience is shared and throughout it, kindness and empathy for our own selves and others will go a long way.
In my own region, we are barely starting to recover personally and professionally from the bushfires that decimated the homes of our relatives, friends and neighbours. The trauma is still very raw and the incredible community efforts to welcome tourists back to the region to fill their #emptyeskies has ground to a halt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re scared on so many levels – for our health, the health of our family and friends and the survival of our communities through this second catastrophe for 2020 (and it’s only April).
How will we survive?
Well… Personally? By staying home and washing our hands! That’s a pretty simple solution.
But how will our businesses survive? How will we retain our income, maintain our lifestyles and save our homes, not from a raging bushfire this time, but from the threat of lost income and a global slowdown that is affecting every market on the planet?
As a marketer with a naturally optimistic outlook on life, even when the (blue) chips are down I constantly look for ways to help clients and fellow business owners weather this wild, unpredictable storm.
I don’t have all the answers, I don’t know when this will end, I don’t know when the economy will stabilise, I don’t know when we will be able to buy toilet paper again.
I do know one thing. Something a lot of us have right now is that most precious of commodities: time. So take this time as a gift and while you might not be able to work in your business, work on your business. Create a robust marketing plan to help your business survive this period and emerge stronger, more resilient and ready to make more sales when we emerge from this period of uncertainty.
1. Adapt & Pivot
I have seen some businesses doing incredible things just by changing the way they do business. The entire hospitality industry has become a takeaway/delivery service. I have seen artisan bakers peddle their wares in car parks to the public instead of delivering to local restaurants and commercial clients (shoutout to East Gippsland local La Matanza).
Think about ways you can set up your business to deliver in a socially isolated world: can you deliver safely (for yourself and your clients) from a distance, remotely or digitally? Can you spend time connecting with clients and creating a firm strategic foundation from which to build a product once lockdown is over? How can you adapt your products and delivery to stay connected with your clients and keep delivering and earning in this period of uncertainty?
If you’re experiencing a business ‘pause’, take advantage of this time you have been given (because the one thing we rarely have in our businesses is time) to evaluate your business from all angles. Do you find your business rewarding both financially and personally? Is your business fulfilling you? Is it in line with your vision and your values? If not, why not? How do you need to change your offers, processes and procedures to align your business with your purpose and your zones of genius and joy?
3. Go deep on your audience
Have you taken the time to get to know your audience? Do you have any products that might help them right now? Can you pivot your business in a way that will solve one of their problems right now? If you don’t know your audience, their wants and needs, desires and fears, take the time to do it, right now! It can be one of the most transformational things you can do to make your marketing more effective. [Here’s a free workbook to help you.]
4. Build your digital brand
If you’re not building your digital brand, now is the time! You may have a website that has been untouched for a while. Or you may have no website at all! It’s time to get online!
Work out your digital ecosystem, where your clients are at, what they need to know about your product and service and the reasons why should they buy from you?
Formulate some ideas for your website design, do your SEO research, write your copy, source some images and, if you have the cash to get the project going, do it sooner rather than later! [PM me know if you want a free clarity call to get clear on your ideas, my diary is freer than usual].
If you don’t have the cash to engage a website designer right now, gather all the content and photos you need so you’re ready to go as soon as you are able (or ask your website designer if they have a payment plan like I do.
5. Get strategic!
Without a marketing strategy, you are simply throwing mud against a wall and seeing what sticks. A strong marketing strategy is the foundation of marketing success: if you don’t have a strategy there’s no plan, there’s no measurement, it’s completely ad hoc and random and (in the vast majority of cases) ineffective. Get clear on your goals and how you’re going to get there [again, here’s a handy article and free download to take this step a bit deeper].
6. Review your offers
Does what you offer align with what your clients want and need? Are your offers in line with your own business goals and the clients you want to work with when everything starts flowing again?
Can more be done to add value and deliver at a higher level to your clients? Are your offers in your own zones of genius and joy?
7. Content is queen!
If you have been procrastinating over your content plan, now is the time to get on it and start creating! Make a strategic content plan and put it into action!
Even if your content isn’t perfect for right now, you can do your research, create your plan and get your content sorted for when your business picks up again.
Write all the blogs, posts and video scripts you can imagine, record all you can and get ready to go all-in when your clients are ready to hear from you.
8. Get social
Social media is the one thing we find most time-consuming about marketing. It’s a major time suck! Work out your plan, write some copy, source some images, research hashtags and schedule some posts!
Use this time to create, connect and engage on your social channels. You’ll feel more connected to your clients and potential clients than ever before!
Try out some channels you’ve never tried before. Use this time to measure and evaluate where you spend your time on social and whether that is demonstrating ROI for your business. You never know… It might be fun?
9. Take action
Many of us are feeling confused, fatigued and generally meh. Like our businesses are in a state of suspended animation (or hibernation, as the Government put it).
Simply taking action can help us feel more in control and less like our business’ fate is in someone else’s hands. Start by taking small steps toward your goals. Small progress is still progress!
If anything, take more action than before! Don’t be afraid to promote during this time if you have something that your audience needs. Businesses are still running, people are still out there making money and trying to keep life as normal as possible.
Be sensitive to people’s situations, think about ways to offer what you do, with the best value possible in a flexible way. Offer extended payment plans or other ways to keep your business liquid but keep clients flowing.
All clients are good clients at this point and we all need to be doing what we can to help each other’s business’ survive.
10. Be authentic
If you’ve been holding back in your marketing because it’s not perfect. Now is the time to embrace your authentic self and be that imperfect human in your marketing! Channel Jacinda Ardern speaking to her nation in her trackies.
Done is better than perfect and authentic human connections have never been more important than right now.
Stay safe out there, take care of yourself and wash your hands!