It’s been just over a week now since I wrote: “the only thing we can be sure of in business (and in life) is change”. I had no idea how prophetic those words would be with the emerging threat of COVID19.
The world is on edge – waiting with bated breath to see what happens next.
I wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future, but I’m in the same boat as everyone else. Waiting for each new day to find out which direction the landscape has shifted and how the general public will react.
I see that many people feel it will blow over in a few weeks – just like it did with SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and others. They may even be frustrated by what they see as over-reaction and panic.
The way I see it, COVID19 is nothing to be sniffed at (pardon the pun!).
While authorities are pulling out all the stops to protect the public from mass contagion, there is another casualty in this story…. the economy.
The flow of people and goods across borders is being impacted. People are being advised not to travel, or to self-quarantine if they display flu-like symptoms. Across the USA and abroad, large and small events are being canceled.
I’m sure you’ve read all the headlines already so I will stop there….
What Does This Mean for Business?
If you are an entrepreneur, or small to medium business owner, then you are probably feeling more than a pinch of uncertainty.
According to McKinsey Analysis, the USA’s GDP could suffer by 24% – 74% in 2020 with disruption lasting until May 2020 or July 2020, depending on how containment of the disease progresses.
What does all of this mean for consumer confidence? Will people still be wanting to buy what you are selling?
Will you even be able to deliver it to them if borders and travel are locked down?
Perhaps you had events or travel planned across the country and are not sure if you should cancel. And if those were sales events and conferences, your revenue forecast might be in jeopardy.
One thing is certain, as much as you may try it’s hard to confidently proceed with business as usual when so many factors seem outside of your control.d
How Businesses Can Take Back Control
It’s not all bad news. Situations like this can help you identify the weak links in your business so that you can fix them.
If your business is over-reliant on a specific client, a specific area, your physical presence, trade shows, and sales team then investing in better digital sales and marketing could reduce your exposure to the risks posed by a pandemic – while opening new opportunities.
Or if you have been meaning to change things in your business but have never found the right time then this could be your opportunity to finally do it.
It’s human nature that sometimes our backs need to be up against the wall before we finally do what needed to be done all along.
So, what are the best moves for smart businesses to make in these uncertain times? What can set you up for success now and into the future, whatever that brings?
The Five Areas to Focus On
- Limit your reliance on the physical presence of your staff and your clients
- Reduce the need for you or your clients to travel to unusual locations by offering virtual attendance options
- Communicate changes, adaptations or delays with clients as soon as possible
- When everyone is pulling back on advertising, you should double down on hitting-the-mark with your marketing – specifically your content and email strategy.
- Increase your reach and opportunities into other markets so you don’t put your eggs all in the one basket.
Stay tuned because we will be covering these things in more detail in upcoming blog posts.
Until then, keep calm and keep on marketing!