During a crisis, there is great opportunity, but opportunities do not present themselves in obvious ways in the midst of chaos. For example, the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause major disruptions to the world economy, and while some businesses have shuttered entirely, others are growing and thriving.
What sets these businesses apart? In a word, proactive leadership.
When you are in the middle of a storm, it’s natural to focus on the storm and not the opportunity inside of the dark clouds. This is an understandable but critical mistake.
Proactive entrepreneurs do not allow external craziness to overtake their ability to turn any situation into a positive for the benefit of their business and their customers.
Black Business Matters
Get the latest news and trends impacting Charlotte’s Black-owned businesses
Let’s take a look at several ways you can rebound your business in the midst of, or immediately following, a crisis, whether pandemic or otherwise.
Reconnect with your company vision.
If you don’t have a clear vision for your company, most any strategy is doomed to fail, because it’s not connected specifically to the clear picture of what you are trying to create.
A company vision is like a strong root planted in fertile soil. It allows your efforts to be connected to specific outcomes.
What do you want your business to look like in 5 years? What sales numbers can you forecast? What impact do you want your company to have in the marketplace? How many employees do you want to have? What new products do you plan to launch?
Armed with a clear vision, you can assess your current situation and develop a plan to get from where you are to exactly where you want to be – even in the midst of chaos.
Maintain a keep-in-touch strategy
If you are not checking in with your customers and prospects regularly, you are leaving money on the table. We live in a world of constant distraction. If your brand is not top of mind, people will quickly forget about it.
During a crisis, your customers need to hear from you. They need to know that you are there for them in the midst of the turmoil.
Use email messages and texts to inform, educate, and uplift your community. It will pay off in spades.
Check out these email/text marketing platforms you can use to create and maintain a keep-in-touch strategy for your business:
Add sources of recurring revenue
No business can thrive for long without repeat sales, and one of the best ways to encourage them is through sources of recurring revenue and subscriptions.
A great example of this is Panera Bread’s Unlimited Sip Club, which gives subscribers unlimited iced and hot coffee and hot tea for $8.99 per month, charged automatically to their credit card.
What products or services do your customers buy on a repeat basis? These are patterns you can use to explore selling on a subscription basis. Buyers benefit because they are part of a “club” where they can get something they buy regularly at a discounted price. You benefit because you have a source of predictable, recurring revenue.
Hope is not a strategy, and it is never a good idea to rely on a hope mentality to produce a positive result.
Making lemonade out of lemons in a catastrophic situation requires you to be proactive. Don’t waste time worrying about endless details. Create the best first version possible of a new idea, and put it out there. If it doesn’t work, tweak it until it does.
Use what you learn to create the next iteration. Follow proactivity with persistence and you will not only survive a crisis, you will thrive in it.
Collaborate and cross promote.
Never allow yourself to be in a storm alone.
When you connect and collaborate with other similarly situated and like-minded entrepreneurs, you enjoy a lift on many levels. By working together, you share your complementary product offerings with multiple audiences. You gain exposure to customers you may not otherwise encounter, and you benefit by borrowing the goodwill of the businesses you collaborate with.
A good example of this is the Buy Black PopUp Shop: Spring into Action, featuring dozens of Black-owned businesses in the Charlotte area.
A rising tide lifts all ships. By collaborating with other businesses in a popup arena, you create opportunities where none existed before.
Your brand experiences lift in community. Everyone wins.
Look for New Opportunities.
As you try new and innovative approaches, new opportunities will arise. Perhaps you discover a new marketing strategy while working in collaboration with another entrepreneur. Maybe time spent honing your company vision results in new ideas you would not have had if you were focused only on the day-to-day whirlwind. The product you offer on subscription might result in new products or services, or sales channels you had never considered before.
Looking forward to new opportunities keeps you from being buried in a sea of fear and uncertainty.
Let’s Talk About It!
Which of these approaches resonates most with you? What proactive strategies are you inspired to try?
Send me your questions and comments using this form, or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love hearing from you!