How to Go on When Business Slows Down
03 / 5 / 2020
03 / 5 / 2020
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In this fast-paced world with social distancing, the financial decline is expected among business owners. Various factors can be identified and altered to keep it afloat and help it survive but a bad decision in a downhill economy can kill it. When business slows down, it is important to tiptoe on a few variables and never give in to emotional decisions. Here are a few tips we can share to help you keep up.
Control What you can
Basically, there are three things that you can control – consistency, development, and cost-efficiency. Though other factors can be hard to control such as your environment, market behavior, and government control, keep in mind that these things are at least somewhat predictable and can work around it.
Consistency is the first factor that you can control. Products and services are expected to change when the crisis comes around but show your customers that your business will not compromise quality by providing top-notch products that are unchanged since pre-crisis. Consistency should also apply to your financial schedules. Create a collecting term for you and your client that allows both parties to benefit. Remember, everyone is affected by this crisis but you don’t have to sacrifice complete delay of receivables, just collect agreed payments consistently.
The second factor is the development. This is the best time to develop your strategies by getting inputs from customers or fellow business owners. Implement what works from your competitors and research some management techniques you can apply for this economic dip. Some say history can tell us more tips by learning from past pandemics and calamities so it might be a good idea to get to know your company’s history. If not, you can learn from companies that have surpassed similar crises.
Development is also best practiced on products whether in crisis or not. Research on consumer needs and come up with solutions that can be applied to your products. For instance, if your products are paper napkins, you can create a variant of this as pull out toilet papers that answer to the shortage of such supply. Go where your competitors are lacking to answer the demands on the market. In another instance, let’s say your business is a restaurant and you were forced to reject dine-in customers due to the social distancing implementations. One development idea is to cater to take-out customers only and sell “ready-to-cook” items from your menu. Keep yourself relevant to the needs of consumers by developing your items. You’d be surprised how unique solutions can increase demands by tenfold.
The last factor you can control internally is your expense. It’s common sense to reduce unnecessary costs at this period where minimal revenues come in. Look for ways you can lessen operating costs without sacrificing quality. A few ways are upcycling materials, reusing equipment, and recycling. When you upcycle a material, it’s not reusing it to its current state rather finding another purpose and using it again in another way. This is one of the best ways to reduce buying supplies, furniture, decors, etc.
Double-check your assets and operating expenses in detail. Know where you can cut the cost means having to search for new suppliers if necessary. It can be in terms of logistics, shipping fee, packaging, and even manpower. Sometimes getting pay cuts are better than laying off some people. You can make this less painful for your employees by getting a huge pay cut yourself and showing them that being part of the business means everyone including you.
Have the Sense of Urgency
Additionally, there are immediate actions you need to take to control your environment internally and keep your business on the limelight. Possible chaos is on its way when uncertainty is beginning so to control operational chaos, the first and most important thing to do is to communicate. If there are financial declines in the business, your employees deserve to know how deep it is and what it means for them. By talking to your employees, you are able to shed questions and remove hearsays, therefore clarifying some concerns that they may have. This keeps the employer-employee relationship intact and fills it with trust. Who knows, one of them may actually provide a feasible solution!
After you’ve checked that task off your list, it’s time to extend that communication. Talking to your customers is also an important step, especially for the loyal ones. Change is not everyone’s cup of tea and most customers return because of the certain qualities they find in your product/service. If there are any changes, communicate it to them. It is also essential to publish your business status. Whether you are operating or not, it is still one announcement you need to make. If you’re open, don’t forget to let them know that you’re clean and safe!
Once you’ve prepped your staff and announced your operations, you can now move on to coordinating with your suppliers. If you have loans, bills, and invoices to pay this is the right time to negotiate and appeal for payment extensions. Don’t be hesitant into asking for considerations and flexible terms. Make a payment plan and negotiate with the utmost respect. At this time, you probably have only enough cash on hand so maximize what you have and decide on prioritizing expenses that could help the business push thru until the economy stabilizes.
Of course, the key to surviving and gaining more customers is your marketing strategy. While everything is shut down on the streets, everything is turned on online. Consumers began preferring online transactions and deliveries to abide by the social distancing rule so it's about time to connect with your consumers on the digital world. Allot a small budget for digital advertising on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube so that people know that you are still open amid the crisis. If you can’t remain open, build your brand instead by establishing a go-to site with informative articles or vlogs relating to your niche. You could also create support groups or sell discounted gift cards to keep brand recall.
Like our past articles, we always encourage positivity in everyday life, especially in business. When you’re struggling to do that right now, always remind yourself of the mission and vision you had for the company. You can also do this with your employees so they can stay on track.
See more here: How to Empower and Lead with Change
Instead of moping around, find this as an opportunity to change, improve, and plan for the future ahead.