Let’s face it. Things have changed in business. There is a new economy. The deeper truth is this could be written in any decade of time. There is always change of some sort and as business owners—as entrepreneurs, we have to be ready to change with it. Ideally, we are anticipating coming changes and responding accordingly long before there is a crisis.
There are 10 fundamentals that transcend time and are especially crucial today for your business to not just survive, but to thrive.
When economies take a turn to depressive for whatever reason many businesses simply will not survive. The first step in thriving is to be determined to make it. To do this you must have a laser-focused strategy. Have a plan, know your plan, and run it. Stay focused on your intent and your why in business. If your “why” is not clear, stop right now and determine why you are doing what you are doing. Also, know your compelling offer. What makes you different and the best choice for your ideal client.
2. Be Compelling
Now switch to the client. You must in any economy and especially when an economy dips know your client’s why. What motivates them. What is their reason to buy. You know “why” you are selling or doing what you do and it is equally important to know why your client will buy. What is their “why”? You should know this as intimately as your own why. What are they looking to solve. What will they feel like with your service / product? Dig down. Know their why. Speak to it. Offer a unique solution in the way only you can offer.
Yes, look at your competition. We all have competition and that is a good thing. It serves as a powerful tool for growth. This should be a regular part of your growth strategy. Regularly study your competition and ask several key questions. How do you compare? What do other customers see in them? How could you offer a greater perceived value to their customers? How could you improve your service or offerings to add more of the value they want? Keep in mind, you do not want to copy or become them. Only learn from them. It is crucial you continue to be and offer what it is that makes you unique. Learn from others and improve on it.
4. Differentiate Yourself / Brand
Now that you are clear on your why, your client’s why and your competition’s strengths ask yourself what makes you different? What could make you different now? Really hone in on that difference and market it. Make it plain in all of your marketing and communication efforts. Make sure that people know you are the go-to for that specialty. This will bleed through in all aspects of your business—vision, model, marketing and communication.
5. New Vision
When a new turn in the economy is experienced, it may be time to create a new vision for your company based on the changing needs and wants of your ideal client. What motivated them a month ago may not be what motivates them today. For example, when Covid-19 rocked the world’s economy people went from searching for swanky restaurants to eat out in to wondering how they were going to get food at home. People accustomed to attending big group classes or even private one-to-one instruction to learn what fancied them were suddenly looking for ways to experience those outcomes from home. The client’s needs and wants drastically and suddenly changed. Your offer must change too. With this comes a new clearly stated vision to guide your steps.
6. New Communication
Just as your vision and services may need to change, your communication will need to match it. Communication is key in all aspects of life, including your business. In fact, it will be even more important in a depressed economy where clients’ needs suddenly shift. Think of how your new approach or service or product will fit their new needs. Then, communicate that in every part of your business. On your website, social media, conversations—in all touch points with your customer. It has to be absolutely clear to them.
7. Continue Trust & Secure Your Status
Hopefully you have already been working on a trust campaign. And I’m not talking social media advertising here. Trust should be a factor you are fostering from before day 1. As you build your network, keep trust in mind. People do business with people they trust. It is not a low ball price that keeps people around when things get tough. Yes, price can be a bonus and an incentive at times. It is not, however, the key factor in business. You must price your service / product based on your value and build your audience accordingly. Trust is the factor that keeps them thinking of you. That keeps them more loyal to you—for longer. Add value by educating them. Let them know you see them and value them. Make sure you have set yourself as the expert you are (not by constantly espousing your status). Building this trust comes easily in how you handle direct relationships. Also in how you share information about your field.
8. Marketing & Social Media
We segway from trust to your marketing. This is where you set yourself up as the expert and share that with your clients. Again, not in an ego-bragging way. Share your knowledge. Freely educate your clients. Never assume they already know what you know. There is a reason they are coming to you. Let them know you understand their concerns and know how to address them. Think tips if you are not a long form writer. This, like so many of these areas, is key for your business in any economy and especially true when vying for reduced market share in a depressed or new or different economy. Think of yourself here. When you need something you reach to the person with knowledge, that you trust.
9. Multiple Revenue Streams
The best way to ensure no unseen tragedy grinds your business to a halt is to have multiple revenue streams. This does not mean multiple businesses, just streams of income. If you are a brick and mortar location, an easy way to add an additional quick revenue stream is adding something online. If you already have one or work exclusively online, how can you add a new stream of income? How could you make things easier or more accessible using online technology? You may have been resistant or thought “that’s just not how it’s done in my type of business.” If you continue with that thought, your competitors will find the way and will leave you behind. Look around at what has not just survived, but thrived in the Covid economy. What have your clients needed now? How could you adapt and add a stream of income that serves them now and into the future?
10. Recreate Business Models
As we emerge from the Covid economy business will be run differently. People have spent months at home and social distancing. New habits have been formed. How will your business fit into those new habits? Yes, people will return to a lot of their old habits and will also take with them newly formed habits and conveniences. This will split many markets. A lot of businesses will need a completely new business model. Think of this as an opportunity to fast track into the future. Think of what you have learned and look to how you could best adapt. Think about every aspect of your current business model and how it needs to shift. Do you need to add online offers, change your brick and mortar set up, add digital automation, online bookings or services, private or low number events online or in person, at home products to compliment your service? Put the plan in place and take action. Do not wait on the sidelines for things to return to the way they were. They never do completely.