11 Things You Can Do to Take Control During the Coronavirus Outbreak
by Jenny Stamper • March 31, 2020
The economy is predicted to get hit by 2.7 trillion dollars and expert economists say we are likely headed into a global recession. There is no avoiding the fact that this is a time of uncertainty. With well over 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed every day, we don’t know yet when things will start to get better.
Business owners worldwide are feeling the impacts of the growing Coronavirus outbreak and are understandably pretty nervous. According to the Capital One Small Business Growth Index (Fall 2019), only 32% of small business owners say they feel fully prepared for a potential recession but 74% say they are prepared from a cash flow perspective.
Instead of letting fear take over, this is the time to be proactive and have real conversations about how business owners can adapt to this ever-changing landscape and prepare their businesses for the coming recession.
With so many factors at play that we can’t control, we need to focus on the one thing each of us can control, effort. There is nothing, no event, situation, or crisis more powerful than the focus and committed actions we take every day. The only way to lose is to quit!
In this article, we’re going to take a look at 11 things you have 100% control over—things that you can do to navigate this challenging situation and give your business the best chance at both short- and long-term success.
1. Become Essential
When things get hard, it’s vital for brands to focus on solving or alleviating a critical problem for their customers. Focus on the problems your customers need solved right now for their life, health, wealth, and/or relationships (or ideally all 4).
Even in uncertain times, your customers have problems your brand can solve for them. Those problems may be different from the problems you’re accustomed to addressing in your marketing, but they’re there nonetheless.
If you can figure out what those problems are and focus your marketing efforts on what your customers care about right now, you have a much better chance of grabbing their interest and getting them to buy.
2. Take It Online
The internet offers the best chance of survival for your business. Even if it’s just about communicating with your audience.
No matter what your business sells, now is the time to expand or transition to an internet-focused model. Virtually any product or service can be delivered online with virtual events, consulting, local delivery and hybrid business models.
Your sales and customers may change some as you make this transition, but if you don’t move your business online, it will be hard to keep your business relevant and afloat.
Don’t like Facebook? Tough. In fact, it was tough luck before the virus hit. You have to deal with business reality now, and the reality is virtual.
3. Stay on an Information Diet
Get and stay on a strict information diet. There’s a lot of opinion, hype, fear and doom-and-gloom content out there. You can’t afford to be distracted by worries about a possible future when you have so much to do in the here-and-now.
Instead of investing your time in the latest theories or social outcry, invest in revenue-generating activities. Remember, content producers make money while the content consumers spend it.
4. Do Not Quarantine Your Business
During challenging times, it’s absolutely critical that you remain active online. Remember, your customers are evolving. The only way to remain relevant is to stay plugged in to what your customers are saying.
While you don’t want to get sucked into all the endless chatter out there, it’s important to stay connected to your customers.
Respond to your messages. Remain involved. Keep running your business like a business. It will inspire confidence in your customers and help you and your employees focus on moving forward.
5. Move the free line
In a financial crisis or downturn, your prospects and customers are feeling the same fears, doubts, and uncertainty that you are. With this in mind, consider moving the free line and providing more value in advance.
Offer free trials, payment plans, low priced offers, freebies with purchase and more so you can help more people and position your business for long term success. Make it easy for people to get started and prove how valuable you are. That way, they’ll discover that they can’t live without you.
It’s a longer play, but one that can really pay off in challenging economic times. Cash is tight, so people want to feel confident that they’re getting their money’s worth. By moving the free line, you can show value early and win the sale.
6. Content. Content. Content.
Creating and publishing content has never been more powerful and less expensive. Create FAQs, write about the problems you solve or search terms related to the problems your product solves.
A good content strategy can take some time to get up and running, but you probably have more time on your hands right now. Even better, smart content pays long-term dividends. So, if you can, use this time to set yourself up for future success.
In addition to writing good content, you need to get that content out there. Email marketing is a critical part of any content strategy, so make sure that you have a plan for how you’re going to incorporate the content you’re creating into your email marketing strategy.
7. Systematize and Automate Your Business
As the queen of systems, I’m constantly telling business owners to automate the recurring tasks in their businesses.
That’s because systems don’t just ensure consistency. They also enhance performance, help implement strategic planning and ensure smooth operations. By nailing consistency with your products or services, systems will give you the means to reduce costs and grow your revenue.
During this time, our thinking here at Disruptive has changed from hitting 7-figures to helping our clients learn how to make their businesses sustainable.
By using automation to improve your efficiency, performance and consistency, you’ll be in a much more sustainable position—even if your business has to make some changes or hard decisions.
8. Know Your Numbers
In even the best market conditions, the only way to reduce risk and predict revenue is to know the cost and value of your leads, prospects and customers. Even if you have historical data around these metrics, you’ll need to keep a close eye on things.
Now that we’re in a downturn, your marketing metrics are going to change. Your audience is going to be more careful with their money, so you’ll probably need to reach more people to get the same results you were getting a few months ago.
The only way to figure out what you need to be doing with your marketing is to use your analytics data. Reverse engineer the numbers you need to hit every day to keep your business surviving and on track for success.
9. Double Down on Your Marketing
Our natural instinct in tough times is to begin cutting spending on things like our marketing efforts. However, in reality, we should continue doing the same as before, even if that goes against your gut instincts!
In fact, marketing guru Neil Patel says he learned from going through two crashes (the dotcom crash in 2000 and the real estate crash in 2008) that the best time to start doubling down on your services is when others aren’t.
Why? Because there’s less competition around. This makes it easier and faster for you to get results. Plus, some services like pay per click advertising will come at a reduced cost. Even better!
As billionaire investor Warren Buffett put it – “Don’t be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” I can’t say it better than that!
10. Be Resourceful
In times of great change, we need to get creative and be more resourceful in order to recession-proof our businesses. And there are a number of ways you can do that.
As I mentioned before, there are some incredible FREE online events happening right now which you can join. One example of this is The Turnaround Summit. This event offers crisis-management advice to help people deal with uncertain times in their businesses in light of a potential recession.
You can also reach out to past clients to offer your services. Maybe you went on a discovery call a year ago and they weren’t ready to utilize your services then. But now they may be trying to figure out ways to streamline their business and implement systems.
Finally, make sure to communicate clearly and consistently with your customers. Don’t assume that your customers know what’s going on. In these uncertain times, everything is in question and even your most loyal customers may be uncertain about what to expect from your business.
If you are open for business, make sure they know that and how to interact with your organization. Make it easy for them to purchase your product and services.
Use your social media presence to keep your customers up to date. If you typically don’t use social media, it may now be time to build one.
Stay in the Fight
Above all else, the one thing you can control is effort. There is no event or situation more powerful than the focus and committed actions you take every day. The only way to lose is to quit!
Will the coming months be difficult? Yes. There’s no getting around that.
But, if you focus on the things you can control and are willing to really commit to figuring out how to thrive, the coming months will be full of opportunity—not fear.
By the way, if you’d like some help adapting your business to the demands of this Coronavirus outbreak, let us know here or in the comments. We’d love to help!
How are you changing your business strategy in response to the Coronavirus outbreak? What is your outlook on things? Leave your thoughts in the comments.