Emerging Prepared in a Post Pandemic Economy with a Plan
It’s April 2020, and I am just starting my day. But there are always those nagging questions that haunt me as I get up in the morning. How will my business look in three months, six months, or six months? Will my business still be there? Or will it cease to exist, and I will have to start a new business?
It is difficult to predict the future state of my business in a month. Unfortunately, neither I nor anyone I know has a way to predict the future.
One thing I know for sure is that things won’t be the same as they were four months ago. If you are one of those people who waits for the “old economy” to rebound or return, you will be in for a shock.
Most people won’t entertain the possibility that their business could go under in a few months. It’s something I didn’t want to think about. It seems impossible to imagine being forced out of business by an invisible predator who has spread across the globe and disrupted lives and global economies.
My husband and I took in the news from around the globe and assessed the financial impact on our lives. We also did an assessment on how long it would take to maintain our current standard. It was strange to me that I felt comfortable knowing we could reach a certain point within the year. It didn’t occur to me that I was not allowing myself to consider what would happen if there were no savings.
My husband, on the other side, had considered it. He had a plan. Hearing him speak about it forced me to go inside and have an internal conversation with myself, “What would happen if my business was closed?”
The AHA Moment
It was a huge AHA moment when I finally did ‘go there. I suddenly realized something that was completely new to me. I heard a voice inside my head say, “Pam, this has been done before!”
Yes, it’s true, I have been there before. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to close an unexpectedly closed business. It was because of an economic crisis.
It was 18 years ago. It was in a significant shopping mall in Singapore. The store was open for three years and only one year on the mall premises. The business was excellent. This was until the Asian Financial Crisis of 1999.
My clients mainly were ex-pat women, as well as tourists and residents. We saw a decline in daily shoppers as we moved through 2000. Due to the uncertainty ahead, people began to hold onto their money. Similar to what we’re experiencing today.
It eventually reached the point that there was not enough business to pay the monthly overheads. The hard decision was made to close down the store. It wasn’t easy to close the store. Even though the landlords knew there was no foot traffic, they demanded payment for the remaining months of the lease. The landlord was then presented with a $40,000 cheque. This payment added insult to the already difficult situation of having to close because of an economic crisis.
I let myself have a private pity party when the premises were empty, and the doors were closed. For two weeks, I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself. After the two-week pity party ended, I realized it was time for me to get up and start thinking about the next steps.
Despite my despair, I believed there would be another company in my future. I needed to be ready and able to pivot.
Knowing that I have been there before and that I was able to bounce back and make it through the other side gives me confidence that I can do this again.
Each business or company owner will have to decide what the best option is for them after a pandemic. Perhaps you don’t know where to start. Maybe you already know what you will do when you all resurface in the new c-economy.
Instead of waiting for the circumstances to decide what will happen in a few months, I see myself as a surfer. I need to be out on the ocean, judging and calculating, waiting for the right wave to ride along the barrel to the beach.
This time, I’ll be able to ride on the top of the wave and not get tossed about in the surf, not having to decide which way is up.
How to prepare for the C-economy
Although no one can predict when states, countries, and communities will open their doors to business, it is essential to have a plan of attack.
These are some thoughts that business owners and business leaders should consider in order to prepare for the revival of their business.
Establish product-service relevancy
Before you can begin the recovery roadmap, there are some critical questions that you need to answer.
Are my products or services still relevant to my target audience today? Will they be applicable after the pandemic? Is the target audience going to change or stay the same?
I will continue my recovery plan if my target audience is the same, even with minor changes.
Anticipate and ask ‘answer
Find the most recent research in your industry and reports from economists. To provide the best solutions, business owners must research the market to anticipate consumer needs.
It is impossible to create ideal solutions for customers without brainstorming. Ask your clients what they need in a post-pandemic business environment.
You will need to research the market and provide the best solution. This could require you to develop a new product or service.
Double your marketing budget for low-cost, non-cost activities
Millions of businesses have been left without revenue due to the global economic and health crisis. This has made it difficult for many to spend large amounts of money on marketing campaigns.
But, this doesn’t mean a business has to go underground or not be sold. Contrary. Any business can continue to market its products and services by using low- or no-cost marketing strategies.
Make content. If you work in a large company, you know your business better than anyone. Create content that helps and educates your target audience. There are many ways to distribute your content.
Blog posts can be written and uploaded to your website, social media pages, and syndicated sites.
If your industry is relevant, conduct a survey and then share your findings with your target audience.
You can create visual content using free sites such as Canva, including banners, posters, and animated posts.
Make infographics that educate with the free tools
Make short videos to educate, motivate, or show a product. Every smartphone has a camera, so grab it and press the record button. There’s no reason not to.
Look for synergistic cooperation.
Despite all the chaos, one of the positives is the progress we see in humanity. The giving economy is growing, and it’s rightly so. Your clients will be more satisfied if you give them more of the things they want.
Look for business partners that can help you add value to your client base.
It is a win-win situation for all three sides to reach out to other business and corporate owners in order to stimulate the economy.
Learn and go digital
Today’s business model has changed. To be successful in the new economy, you will need to use more technology and apps to conduct business remotely with clients and other team members.
Businesses that used to offer their services in person must now adapt to digital platforms. This type of communication, once considered “nice to try,” has become a legitimate means of doing business.
We will need to be able to use new technologies to engage with virtual clients. However, we will also need to understand how to protect our privacy.
While there will be some learning, those who fail to embrace the technology that has now become part of our daily lives will be left behind.
Repurpose to create additional revenue streams
As a small business owner with experience, I believe in multiple streams of income. Every time I create a brand new, I plan out all the ways I can market my services at different prices and through other distribution channels.
When creating a business model, small business owners should consider having more than one revenue stream.
Take a fresh look at your business. The product or service that you offer might have been designed for a particular target audience at the beginning of your business. Is it possible to repurpose what you have now for a different audience or niche market?
This is an example. A deck of cards I created on entrepreneurship was based on the 50-60 Something (TM), Start-up Entrepreneur chapter. The deck of cards was an extension of the book. It became an additional source of revenue and information.
Because the information about how to start a business is the exact same, I can now re-purpose this deck of cards with a different brand name and design to sell it to an entirely new market.
Is there an area of your business that could be split off to create a new product? You might be surprised at what you can find that could be reused or even improved within your business to generate new revenue streams.
Ride the Wave
All of us are facing a significant wave of change. It could be a recession or even a depression. I am preparing now. I want to be ready for the opportunity that comes my way. I hope that others will be there with me in the blue ocean so we can all ride this wave together.
Pamela Wigglesworth is an international entrepreneur coach, speaker, and CEO of Experiential hands-on learning. She has lived in Asia for more than 20 years and is the 50-60 Something (TM), Start-up Entrepreneur. She supports other entrepreneurs in business growth and development.