Innovating Your Business in the Face of COVID-19
There are several examples right now of businesses pivoting in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the challenges that it has brought along with it; some have changed their models completely, others have simply modified their services to address social distancing-induced needs.
It can feel a little questionable, looking at ways that your business can potentially profit around a pandemic. People are losing loved ones, and it’s natural to struggle with unfamiliar emotions, or the sense that it’s somehow wrong if this time presents opportunities for you to adapt your business to a need that is in place because of COVID-19.
That being said, if there’s a way your company can be beneficial to your customers in this time, you have to realize that it’s not helpful to anyone to wait until life returns to “normal”…not only because you could lose the chance to be helpful, but also because there may not be a return to what we knew before. There may really be, as so many have said, a new “normal”, and if you wait too long to act, you may not have a business by the time these new limitations are gone.
So, once you’ve dealt with the feelings, and realized that you need to pivot, what are the practical steps?
Re-evaluate Your Purpose.
The value you provided customers before may be different in the face of working from home, managing kids who are also at home, and being disconnected from previous resources. Is there a NEW way you can lean into what your client base needs now? How does it look different? Where are their new pain points? Find those, and you’ll find your purpose. Once that’s done…
Create New Solutions.
Could you consult about the products you previously offered? Offer subscriptions to services that were purchased piecemeal before? Leverage technology by offering online video options? We learned that one of our clients who offers software solutions is pivoting away from that approach to consulting, to help their clients navigate issues around cleanliness and recovering lost revenue. I think this is a brilliant apporach, because that has got to be the number one thing most businesses will be considering in the near future. Almost anything is possible when the world is still connected via the Internet, which brings us to the next task on your list…
Establish or Update Your Online Presence.
For businesses that have been based in a brick and mortar location, the impact of not having an online presence will be a hard one. A current projection is that one in four small businesses will go out of business during this crisis; social distancing has already closed several, and if you don’t have a vibrant online presence, you can’t maintain the contact you need with your customer base in order to provide services. If you have a website but it’s out of date, bear in mind that ease-of-use is a high priority, and the competition in the online marketplace is steep. Getting or updating a website is crucial to engaging clients and keeping them engaged, especially when more time than ever is spent looking at content. The bar is higher than ever.
Adding an online store (with a do-it-yourself platform like Shopify) can save sales. The addition of a chat bot makes a tremendous difference in customer engagement. Creating short videos and posting them to a YouTube channel can capture worldwide exposure. A digital makeover can be a huge difference-maker for your business.
And once the digital presence is there…what’s your social media strategy? Your blog and email marketing content? This is another area that will change; helpful, authentic content is going to be even more important in the online marketplace. With the over-exposure to content, since people are so focused on online content right now, dynamic content will stand out, and set you apart. But make sure its about helping them; not how awesome you are.
The change in definition for “normal” doesn’t have to mean the end of your company or the services you offer. But business adaptation in this environment is definitely something that a majority of entities are going to need to adopt in order to continue to be of service, and since the foreseeable future is one based on social distancing, that means finding digital solutions.
When you’re ready for direction and practical help, reach out to us. In the meantime, stay safe, and plan for a productive future.