Are you tired of it yet? I don’t mean the lockdown, social distancing, and self-isolation. I am talking about the use of the word ‘Unprecedented’.
Unprecedented means without previous instance, unparalleled, extraordinary, and revolutionary. Granted, the past few months have been unusual and challenging, but history tells us that there have been times when, what we class as normal, has come to a grinding halt during pandemics, wars, and recessions. And just like those times, the businesses that have kept the momentum moving forward were the ones that have not only survived ‘unprecedented’ (I promise that is the last time I will use that word) times, they are the ones that have thrived.
And they have done so by focussing on three important activities.
The first step they took was to Consolidate their current business by developing a plan to move forward, by understanding their finances and maximising the commitment of their current staff and customers.
Secondly, they found ways to Cultivate new business while investing in building their brand and upskilling their knowledge and experience deficiencies.
And thirdly, they have Celebrated their wins and prioritised their health, both physical and mental.
There are critical steps you must take to get your finances in order during downturns and in good times.
- Do you know how to read a profit and loss statement?
- Do you know how to protect your cash flow?
- Do you have a plan in place for times of feast and famine?
If accounting is your thing, you will probably be able to answer yes to these questions. If not, chat to your bookkeeper or accountant. I’m in the NO category, so I have got help from the experts to learn more about my business accounting and paid them to do what I can’t.
Your current staff, customers, and suppliers are vital to you now. When it comes to employees, focus on core competencies, and think about how you can engage and support them. Keep in mind you may have to make redundancy decisions you don’t like but must take.
How long has it been since you got in contact with all your customers? Not to necessarily sell them anything, but to check in as to how they are going during these difficult times. Get in touch with clients you haven’t dealt with for a long time and let them know you are here for them. Follow-up leads from the past as it might just be the right time now. Don’t be worried about asking for the sale. There is a good chance people need you now more than ever.
Upskill. Now is probably the most important time to fill in the blanks of your knowledge. Read books, do courses, and hone your new skills.
Develop new methods of earning an income that may not have been available to you in the past with targeted marketing.
Expand your market by adding complementary services to your existing products or extend your geographic marketing area.
I bet you have been told this before. Enter cooperative alliances and joint ventures with people who sell into the same market at yourself, but you aren’t in competition. Now is the time to do it. The hairdresser can offer a free hair cut voucher to the service mechanic or the speaker trainer could provide a complimentary session to the clients of a business coach.
Think about your market. Bundle products, offer a rebate, participate in coupon programs, offer discounts for loyalty or free shipping. I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities to have people making buying decisions when you start thinking out of the box
I think the most important thing I have learned during these crazy times is recognise my wins and pay attention to what is needed in each moment as I look after my physical and mental health.
Celebrate your staff, customers, and suppliers by expressing gratitude, praising the small things, and rewarding reliability.
If you skip the celebration, you will be hard-pressed to realise your success, notice the progress you are making, and pivot on challenges in the future.
There are of course dozens of steps you could take to launch your business as we come through this crisis, however by concentrating on these three basic components and actively working towards your goals, you will be best placed to be in the best position to prosper when we get back to better.
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