IF YOU ARE A BUSINESS OWNER - THIS IS FOR YOU
In the weeks ahead there are several vital steps you can take to protect your business and do whatever we can to minimise loss of sales and most importantly, prepare your business to emerge from this chaos as strong as humanly possible. Many successful businesses are seeing this time as an opportunity. Some of your competitors will stop all activity, but you shouldn't.
Important lessons were learnt from those who didn’t just survive the last recession but thrived through it. These are not our ideas. They’re just what the people who survived last time actually did and are now willingly sharing.
1. Don't stop marketing: This is the single biggest mistake that businesses who fail make in a recession. If you had a profitable business before this virus outbreak, low or zero sales for a few weeks won’t destroy you. What will destroy you is, when we emerge from this, if you have stopped all customer communication, you’ll have no backlog of pent up demand and customer goodwill to fall back on. It will take you another 2- 3 months to catch up when you turn the marketing back on and by then it may be too late.
There are restaurants, hotels etc. who have closed completely and it doesn’t make sense for them to continue with paid advertising. But for others, if you can possibly continue, you should. Even if you can’t get the sales right now you want to stay in your customers minds so that you are their first choice when they are finally able to go out and buy your services or products.
2. Look after your customers: Do you care about your customers? If you do, why would you stop communicating to them just because they can’t give you money right now? The business owner who ignores their customers during this time is telling them they view their relationship as purely transactional: When the money stops, the relationship goes out of the window.
So if you’re still selling, step up the marketing and customer communication: Emails, social media even direct mail if it’s feasible.
If you’re not currently selling, just get in touch with your customers and see how they’re doing. Nobody is bothering doing that and it will really be appreciated. So email them, call them, text them.
3. Don't cut prices: Add More Value. We are obviously in a recession and it will last a while even when things get back to ‘normal.’ In the months ahead, think of your profitability which is key to survival and do NOT cut your prices.
Also, this is going to be a weird recession. There will still be millions of people with plenty of money. It’s just that the money is coming to a standstill for a while. When it starts moving again, those with money will not need a price reduction.
Look at everything you do and ask how you can enhance what you offer them. Sky TV is launching new channels and adding more movies for everyone stuck at home. It’s adding more value. But it’s not cutting prices.
So step into your customers’ shoes and ask yourself how you can add more value in the weeks ahead.
4. Take the money: Across the world, governments are putting billions into funding small businesses. You may or may not agree with how they’re doing it, but if there’s cash available, take it. Even if you don’t need it right now. Take it. Cash is King.
In the UK, the government is guaranteeing business interruption loans from the banks. The next VAT quarter’s payments have been postponed and as far as we can tell, they are agreeing to postpone tax too.
Take the three month mortgage break and make sure your staff know. Make sure they know what and how they can claim too.