If you’re facing a long term business slowdown do to a crisis, you may have more time on your hands or limited business hours. That’s true for many companies that face a pandemic or other crisis.
During a slowdown, entrepreneurs can boost their business and prepare for a positive resurgence when the country recovers from COVID-19 and its economic impact. Here are some ideas.
Now is the time to reach out to customers, but without the sales pitch. Your customers are most likely struggling and stressed over everything from work and income to their kids.
Instead, connect with your customers on a more personal level. Ask how they are doing. Find out what they need in terms of advice or resources. Share what you’re doing as a business to help people in your community. Consider creating your own online course or a video guide series for your customer base.
Balancing your news with genuine interest about your customers’ welfare will help you get to know each customer on an individual level.
You may now have time to get to all that research you filed away to read before a crisis hit. Why not conduct market research to grow your business and explore opportunities for expansion?
Start your exploration with industry organizations. These groups typically produce research reports, studies, and surveys to alert member companies to trends, regulatory issues, challenges, and opportunities. Check out what your competition is up to and compare strategies.
Another market research tactic is to ask customers directly if they would participate in a survey. Video conference focus groups or one-on-one interview are also good options. Since your customers may also have more time, they might be amenable to participating, particularly if you offer them a gift card or other reward.
When you’re running a business, there’s never enough time to work on your own professional development goals. But with a business slowdown, you can carve out time on your calendar for one or more of the many online courses available on digital learning sites.
Whether it’s a skill you want to learn or improve on, or a more formal goal of finishing or adding a degree, you’ll find lots of resources to help you meet your development goals. From online sites like Udemy to universities, courses are available on subjects from cooking and martial arts to business and marketing skills.
There are endless opportunities to transform into a better version of yourself. Libraries and audiobook sites are now offering free access to a wealth of knowledge for your personal and professional development.
While you work on yourself, ask your employees if there are skills they want to refine or company improvements they want to suggest to take the business to the next level. You can conduct online training sessions now so that your team will be ready to put that training to work to provide better customer experiences when restrictions are lifted.
Many training sites understand how tough a crisis can make it for companies and are offering free or reduced-cost access to their online training programs and course materials. Examples include Coursera, OpenSesame, GoCoach, Intrepid, and more. These organizations also provide webinars, articles, worksheets, and other resources for all aspects of your operation. This way you can build a better company while you’re waiting for a pandemic or other crisis to pass.
If your market research has identified new opportunities, this could be the time to alter your business model. Though you should make a plan and take a tactical approach, you can launch fairly quickly without a complete model in place. In doing so, you may find that business picks up.
With a crisis like COVID-19, your audience may likely be more forgiving and has lowered expectations. You can stumble and learn as you go with much less judgment.
Many in your audience will be happy, even relieved, that there’s a company responding to their need to make sheltering in place easier. See if you can provide a product or service that helps frontline workers, or that addresses a remote work or online education problem.
Lessons learned from a business slowdown
An unexpected economic downturn may cause irritation, stress, and worry. But — it’s important to develop a different perspective. Be proactive in assessing how you can transform the negative of a business slowdown into something that will make business better now and well into the future.
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