There is no blueprint for how to handle a crisis like COVID-19. This worldwide shutdown is sending both small and large businesses into a scramble to stay afloat. If there’s one lesson to take away from these moments it’s to learn to adapt to the changing times by making your business more “essential”. The following is a COVID Survival guide to help your business become essential during these times:
Become Invaluable to Your Audience
Business owners that are hyperfocused on survival are transforming their practices to do whatever is necessary to keep their companies alive. The best way to do this is to become invaluable to your audience by emphasizing ways in which your company can improve its customers' current at-home lives.
Businesses that are able to market themselves as a necessity for working and living from home are sure to see success. According to statistics from the financial research company Sentieo, companies that are experiencing tremendous success during COVID are those that help facilitate our new “work from home” reality. These statistics show that consumers turn to companies like Atlassian for file-management services, Zoom for video-conferencing, Peloton for indoor exercising tools, and Teladoc for remote healthcare services.
Pivot to Include COVID-Related Products and Services
Businesses that don’t typically provide services or products that fit into the realm of “essential” face two choices: shut down or do everything it takes to survive. As a result of this, many businesses are transforming their companies to offer COVID-related products and services that are critical to our daily lives in isolation. In other words, now is the time to pivot and innovate, if you have the ability to do so.
Dyson is one company that shifted their business practices to produce COVID-related products like ventilators to support the fight against the virus. Likewise, many retail companies now sell face masks and their own brand of hand sanitizer. While certain pandemic-related products may see a decline in demand after the quarantine, the same strategies that serve your company during survival mode will continue to make your business successful once the market picks up again.
Limit Business Operations to the Bare Necessities
In making your company “essential”, you'll need to make sure your business is strong enough to survive the worst. With cash flow at a halt, employees furloughed, and debt climbing, the strongest businesses are those that can stay alive while operating with little to no cash flow. Business owners that are able to survive during these times can use this current market volatility as an opportunity to refine their business practices. Though your company may be running on fumes, you’ll be in the best position to move forward when the economy eventually bounces back.
Support Your Community
Another way businesses are becoming more essential is by supporting the people in their communities. Just as it’s important to strategize how to keep your business open, staying connected with your audience and followers should be a priority as well. Now is the perfect time to reach out to clients, colleagues, and customers in your network to check in with them and offer your support.
In addition to offering support in times of crisis, businesses that are able to give financially to those in need are invaluable. Millions of people that are facing cut wages and lost jobs rely on the kindness of others to survive. Consider connecting with your audience by combining charitable giving with your marketing efforts. By offering to donate a percentage of your sales to non-profits and others in need, you'll make your business indispensable while promoting sales.
Though these times are uncertain, entrepreneurs and business owners should be encouraged to take action. While the economy is currently in a tumble, history has long since proven that recessions can be a foundation for opportunity. As moments of crisis show which companies are strong enough to survive, making it through this difficult time will guarantee your company success in the future.