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  • Writer's pictureSandy Cleary

Pivoting in a COVID World

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

With businesses closing permanently, and others not fully opened back up, what advice can you give a small company on how to weather this storm?

I believe businesses need to remember, this hard time will end, and this pandemic will not last forever. Analyze your current business model and see where you can utilize employees or services remotely to save on overhead costs. Take advantage and apply to any federal loans you qualify for to help during this crisis. You will have to get creative and you may even need to change direction.

I dealt with several major crises with my last business in the travel industry. When 9-11 hit, the travel industry was crippled, and our call center phones were silent. More than half of my competitors didn’t survive. But I made the tough decision to keep all my staff employed, and I realized that if I was hurting, my cruise lines partners (our suppliers) were hurting worse. So, we worked closely with them on creative marketing campaigns and focused on promoting cruises from U.S. drive market ports. This strategic thinking led to more sales and we received funding from the cruise lines for being one of their strongest partners for being able to fill cabins during crisis times. Always remember to keep moving forward and pick yourself up every time you fall. Stay positive and get creative. Other businesses (including your suppliers and retailers) are hurting too, so ask yourself, how can I partner with them to grow our businesses together?

How can I get my product in front of buyers and investors when trade shows aren’t happening?

Although trade shows aren’t happening in person, investigate the trade shows offering virtual events. You can still get your product in front of the buyers virtually. Also, tradeshows are being innovative too. Besides hosting virtual events, some are offering spots in magazines or newsletters that they then distribute to buyers. In addition to virtual tradeshows, there are platforms to be on as well for buyers to discover your product. For example, RangeMe is a great platform to connect with wholesale buyers. If you are looking for an investor, do your research online & in your own community through a business advisor and consider finding an angel investor. Many of them (like us) are genuinely looking to help small businesses during these tough times. You can also submit your proposal to SLC Group Holdings by clicking here and filling out the form.

I feel like I am losing a connection with my customers. What can I do to prevent this?

Look for new ways to reach your audience and interact. Social media is a great tool to keep that personal connection with your customers. You can use live social media tools such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live to showcase new products and chat with them instantly. Create online events and invite customers, produce engaging content to post and continue to interact with your customers frequently. Also, consider starting an affiliate or brand ambassador program to keep your most loyal customers engaged with your brand (and you’ll get a virtual sales team to help you grow your sales too).

Many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling right now and are scrambling to shift more business online. What can I do to keep up with the changes?

If you haven’t already, now is the time to focus on starting (or growing) your own e-commerce website and your direct-to-consumer business. Platforms such as Shopify make it easy to get an online store started (just be sure you understand the fees associated with it). Also consider listing your products on popular platforms such as Amazon and Walmart Marketplace, but first, analyze all the costs associated with doing that to be sure you don’t cut too deep into your profit margin.

Finally, look at your products and services themselves. Can anything be offered remotely to customers right now? Is your company able to provide any products or services that are in need during this crisis? You will need to look at how you can leverage from within your business now, so you can provide a pathway with an ongoing revenue stream.

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