We’re going through crazy, unprecedented times.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live our lives overnight. From the way we care for our safety to the way we work, everything is different.
Because of the pandemic, the healthcare industry is burdened with the overwhelming rise in the number of cases. On the other hand, the global economy has taken a huge hit.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown caused 114 million people to lose their jobs over 2020.
As nations go into lockdown mode, businesses across verticals are struggling to continue their operations.
So, what can your business do to survive this rough ride?
Let’s take a look.
Mark Schaefer has some important tips for entrepreneurs and managers struggling to keep their businesses afloat.
According to Mark, here is what businesses should do:
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
What we’re going through is completely disruptive.
To weather this storm, you need to forget all the rules. You may have a detailed marketing plan ready, but in the light of the current circumstances, it may not be relevant at all.
The number one concern for all businesses right now, according to Mark, should be relevance. He urges entrepreneurs to take a step back and reflect upon the question, “Do people still care about what you do?”
He shares a personal example to explain why businesses need flexibility right now.
One of his clients from Miami contacted him because he needed help with social media strategy. But after a week, the client said that their priorities had shifted. Their supply chain was short and they were in crisis mode.
For the business, Mark wasn’t relevant for the moment.
The best way to gain relevance is to understand what your customers need right now. Depending on their needs, businesses need to reframe their strategies, skills, core competencies, and business models.
With the coronavirus pandemic, everyone’s lifestyles have changed. With that shift, a lot of new unmet needs have arisen. If you can find a way to fulfill those needs, you’re likely to find some stability in your business.
What’s the bottom line?
You’ve got to innovate.
In the podcast, Mark tells us that a cattle rancher in his county is now delivering his steaks to people’s homes. All the restaurants in the area are closed; even the grocery stores are running out of meat. So, obviously, there is a demand for his steaks.
By shifting his B2B model to B2C, the rancher is able to keep the cash flowing.
Right now, everyone is losing something big.
It could be a loved one, a job, or their physical or mental well-being.
Businesses need to be aware of the shift in the mood. If you try to aggressively sell your products in a time of grief, you are not going to find any takers.
Think of it like trying to sell something at a funeral, Mark says. You wouldn’t give someone a coupon, would you? The best way to deal with such a situation is to ask someone how you can help them get over their loss.
He advises businesses to reach out to their customers and help them in any way they can. He also believes that being there for them in a crisis situation can create long-term loyalty.
Take inspiration from Missouri-based company Anheuser-Busch. They decided to leverage their supply and logistics network to produce and distribute hand sanitizers to meet the increasing demand for it.
Image via Instagram
In his book, “Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins,” Mark has highlighted the need for companies to have a more humane approach in their business.
As we battle the coronavirus crisis, it’s never been more apt for businesses to be compassionate. He believes that businesses should do the right thing, even if it hurts.
Even if it hurts your pockets a bit, you’ve got to pitch in. It’s the right time for businesses to give back to their communities.
For instance, New York-based beverage brand, Vita Coco, has pledged to donate $1 million to hunger-relief organization, Feeding America and the national campaign, No Kid Hungry to solve the problem of hunger.
In a video released on Twitter, their Co-Founder and CEO, Michael Kirban, urged other businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those whose sales were spiking, to give back.
But what if you don’t have the money to make big donations?
There are other ways you can help out. Firstly, take care of your employees. Make sure you help them out in any way you can.
Additionally, partner with organizations that are involved with helping the community or donate food and clothes directly to those in need.
The impact of coronavirus on businesses, big and small included, is going to be massive. To survive these challenging times, you need to be ready to adapt your strategies and core competencies.
You need to recognize that the needs of your customers have changed amid the lockdown. If you want to keep your business running, you need to reframe your business to meet the unmet needs.
In addition to staying relevant, you need to understand that your customers may be suffering from huge losses, both personally and professionally. When reaching out to your customers, you need to adopt a more sensitive and humane approach.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.