Are you wondering where you should put your business and marketing focus right now?
“What is the right marketing message to send to my network? How should I engage with my prospects? How can I be of service to my clients? Where should I be putting my attention?”
Ultimately, we are in business to deliver value to our clients, and do it in a way that’s fitting for the unique circumstances we are all experiencing.
How are we going to survive and thrive in our businesses right now and be prepared to deliver the services that are wanted and needed as we come out of the current COVID-19 pandemic?
If we focus our attention on important, strategic tasks, we can weather the storm and take control of the things that matter and that will have an impact on our business in the longer term.
Here are some actionable tips for preserving cash flow and client relationships during a business crisis – and how to position yourself for the rebound.
Panic is contagious; but so is leadership.
- Accept where you are. Acknowledge and accept your current emotional state, whatever that may be, and face the future with courage and conviction as you navigate the new normal.
- Adopt a new mindset. Adopt the mindset of a short-term realist and a long-term optimist. Action alleviates anxiety. Do what has to be done in the next 30 days, and then shift your focus to what needs to be done the next 3-6-12 months.
- Get perspective. Step out of the fear and ‘what ifs’ of the current situation by looking through a different lens. Put the situation in front of you as if you’re watching it on a screen, and look objectively at the facts.
- Control what you can. You can only control what is in your sphere of influence. Get clear about what is in your direct control, and what is outside of your control.
- Lean on your support network. Nobody makes it in life and business doing it alone; and this is especially true during times of crisis. We are stronger together and we will go farther together. Huddle with your peer-to-peer group often, to stay connected, inspired and motivated.
Manage cash inflows and outflows.
- Investigate your account receivables. Collect outstanding account receivables and monies owed. Offer incentives for early pay options or waive interest or other penalties.
- Learn to be agile with costs. Review your overhead costs and look for ways to improve efficiencies and reduce overhead costs by cutting, pausing or negotiating contracts. Perhaps you can enable remote work, and reduce office rental and operational expenses.
- Short-term cash flow. Offer pre-booking options, gift certificates, or pre-buying incentives to pay now, rather than later. Brainstorm ways to leverage low hanging fruit for an immediate cash flow injection.
- Review account payables. Re-negotiate terms on your account payables, including: credit cards, loans, or payments to suppliers, distributors, and partners.
- Manage expenses and revenue timelines. Defer certain expenses into the future and reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenses. Re-examine your timeline for expectant revenues.
- Know your burn rate. Understand your cash burn rate, by running your profit and loss forecast for the coming months. Talk to your Accountant or Controller about mitigating the short-term impacts to your business, and use the data to make informed decisions.
- Take advantage of Government programs. Visit the website of your municipal and federal Government to learn more about business relief programs, including:
- Grants and funding
- Interest free business loans
- Deferred income tax filing and payments
- Income support for employees
- Wage subsidy for employers and employees
- Employment Insurance benefits
- Job protected leave
- Assistance funds
- Sales tax relief
- Emergency working capital financing
- Lost income benefits
- Call in financial support.
- Contact your financial institution to be assessed by private sector lenders who may provide loans, payment postponements and rate reductions and more, to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Contact your bank or credit union to inquire about flexible solutions provided for deferrals on mortgages, loans, credit cards and lines of credit and other options for tailored financial assistance.
Customers are still prepared to pay for something of value – even during a crisis.
- Get personal. Maintain customer relationships by deepening your personal connection with current clients. Make personal phone calls and send customized messages to check-in and show support.
- Be of service. Help customers solve new problems in creative ways. Ask them what they need help with right now, in light of the current circumstances.
- Payment relief. Offer payment plans or phased payments to current customers, rather than discounting your services.
- Create a new service. If you currently offer high ticket services or long-term commitments, consider creating new products and services at a lower price point or offer a shorter duration for a lower investment commitment.
- Add value. Innovate and add value to existing customers based on their current needs.
Customers will still need what you offer.
- Always be marketing. Keep your messaging going out to your customer base, to stay top of mind and keep communication relevant.
- Re-think your business strategy. Create a task force within your team to brainstorm ideas. Be open to pivoting your business in new and different ways. Open up new market opportunities by selling existing products and services to a new market, or delivering your services in a different way.
- Revisit systems and structure. Build capacity and competence for remote and virtual delivery. Retool your workflow processes based on changes to your business strategy.
- Think differently. Disrupt your old business model by finding new revenue streams. Recessions, crises and downturns in the economy act as filters to weed out weak business models and force leaders to adapt.
I’m curious about what you are choosing to focus on, during this challenging time – as it relates to your specific business situation. If you are looking for some guidance and clarity about where to put your business and marketing focus during this pandemic, reach out to me for support.
The dips don’t last and when the rebound happens, your business will be poised and ready to reap market demand, if you strategically position yourself for the recovery, now.
To your success,