Daltrey’s co-founder and business expert, Craig Hodges, shares his advice for keeping your business afloat in the wake of international business lockdowns.
No one saw this coming, so while you may be isolated you’re certainly not alone when it comes to scrambling to figure out what’s next for your business. Here’s eight things I’ve learnt so far.
1. Keep your team in the loop
Reach out to your team frequently and honestly. This madness is magnified for staff as they are one step removed from the decision making, yet have just as much to lose. If they aren’t informed and engaged, then it’s going to make a tough situation even tougher.
2. Manage your coins
We don’t know how long this will last, so managing your cash is critical. Work closely with your partners and suppliers. They deserve the same amount of communication and discussion as your staff and shareholders.
3. Rethink your sales process
Not only are sales cycles going to take longer, they have to be done by phone or video conferencing. Hone your remote communication skills and consider ways you can optimise your process to suit the new norm. Ask questions such as:
- What’s the current sales pitch? Does it need to change?
- Does your product or service replicate well online?
- How can you make better use of digital sales and marketing channels?
And remember to be patient with your prospects. They are dealing with this crazy mess too.
4. Be useful (don’t add to the noise!)
We’ve stopped the tone-deaf advertising. A good mate of mine, Jay Baer, wrote a book some years ago called Youtility, which talks about why smart marketing is about help not hype. It couldn’t be more relevant today. If your content isn’t adding value, don’t publish it.
5. Manage up to your stakeholders and investors
It’s an unfortunate reality that many businesses are going to go to the wall. Investors are nervous. It’s critical you increase communications with your shareholders, your board and other stakeholders and share your mitigation strategies.
6. Consider how you can pivot
I hate the word, but this may in fact be an opportunity for you to pivot your business offering – potentially for the better. Nobody saw this coming when you wrote the original business plan, so there’s no one to blame if it’s not working out. Instead consider how you can leverage your existing relationships, skills and products to add value to customers and keep your business afloat. The obvious example is dine-in restaurants starting a roaring takeaway and delivery trade. Another business of mine, The Local Drop, has banded together with other businesses in their community of Brunswick to sell each others’ products. It’s now selling more fruit and veg boxes than it is wine. It’s even selling the famed Dr Marty’s crumpets! These are extraordinary times, which means it’s time to get creative.
7. Take advantage of government support
Your accountant should be across the subsidy and interest-free loans that might just get your business through. It’s money on the table, so make sure you investigate what’s on offer and make the most of it while you can.
8. Stay positive
Us business owners are used to adversity – and uncertainty. Let’s group together and stay positive. This won’t last forever.