This blog was started to help marketers and business owners through good and challenging times and these are some of the scariest, sad and downright depressing times we’ve ever faced.
I hope this resource which draws from my own failures and successes as an entrepreneur can help others understand what we’re looking at from a business aspect and provide hope for how we get through this together. The mission of this content has always been to authentically, informatively, honestly and as raw as possible share my 20+ years of experience in business.
In this moment there is no way to sugar-coat that we are in a tough fight for our neighbors, our communities, our employees, our families and our businesses. No matter the outcome all modeling shows a devastatingly grim outlook of the amount of lives that will be lost. It is going to be the most brutal fight we’ve ever faced not only as a nation but as a world in our lifetimes. With that being said I can assure you that if we fight our damnedest we will come out of this pandemic as a stronger country and even more importantly we will emerge from this more compassionate towards each other.
We are now faced with incredibly difficult questions which only 30-days ago were not needing to be asked.
1) Will our employees, customers and family be safe from this virus?
2) Do we have to let our employees go?
3) Are we going to have to make immediate cutbacks?
4) Should we close our doors for the time being?
5) Can we quit paying on our lease or other bills?
6) How do we reach our customers who are primarily at home?
7) Is there a way to communicate with our former employees who we still care about and would like to re-hire?
8) Does this change our business model forever?
9) Should we quit marketing during this period?
10) Will my business survive?
These are all very difficult questions that are even more difficult to answer when faced with a sudden and steep decline in revenue and no answers as to when this will all go back to “normal”. As we become submerged in our own plight, it’s difficult to keep in mind this is not just happening to our business but this is happening to millions of businesses around the world simultaneously. It will be one of the most significant and few shared moments in humanities collective existence especially in the business world. Summarily the question we are all asking is how do we navigate this tragedy and come out even stronger as a business and more importantly as compassionate humans?
1) From my 20 years of experience as a business owner that has gone through two other major economic downturns and the tragic event of 9/11 I can tell you one thing right off. We will have to make extremely difficult and drastic changes immediately. These decisions will keep us up at night and will be mentally, physically, financially and psychologically draining. You will know the decisions you have to make on employment affects people that are incredibly close to you. Unfortunately, due to where we are there is no choice but to stare these decisions in the face and execute quickly and decisively in order to be able to preserve a place of employment for everyone to come back to.
2) For a vast majority of service related businesses the next several months to a year are going to be devastating! There is no way to soften the fact that some of our businesses will not make it through. This is not at the fault of us as business owners there are just times of economic uncertainty that we don’t have control over. This is an event of absolute historical magnitude and we must be prepared for the worst case scenario which may be in closing our doors and even filing for bankruptcy. Keep in mind there are times when this action can actually help you comeback as a new business in a better position when the economy recovers. Although insolvency may shutdown your current business, as an experienced business owner you will take the most important assets with you… your knowledge!
3) On the flip side of this coin some businesses are going to thrive in this environment. They will position themselves to take advantage of the increased online activity of everyone at home. There are ways that we can leverage online marketing to keep sales up during this time. In addition, there is increased access to loans at historically low interest rates. We should not be afraid to work harder than we’ve ever worked before. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the stimulus packages that have been passed. Think back to when you first started your business or came on with your company to grow the business. Draw from the fire you had then and exploit that experience and work like you did when you were new to your business or position!
4) Some of the ways we can reach out quickly to our customers is to craft a strong online marketing strategy. People are now at home and spending more time on their mobile devices giving us greater opportunity to reach them while they are online. Utilizing marketing on social media platforms, Google AdWords Pay Per Click (PPC) programs and email campaigns to market your business are a great way to generate leads. Furthermore, these options are the absolute most cost effective marketing tools available.
5) Think of ways you can retain your employees by having them work from home. Utilize software and apps like Slack or Zoom to allow them to communicate and work collaboratively online.
6) Look at this tragedy as a way to improve your business. Force yourself to look at every expense and justify what you keep or what you can trim quickly as a way to reduce cost to help sustain your business.
7) Utilize this downtime to improve your company’s brand and marketing. Make sure you are positioning your business to come back leaner and stronger than it was before this pandemic.
8) Keep in contact with your clients and employees via email marketing platforms. Provide them all with honest messages of what you are going through. Work hard to convey a message of hope and motivation even in this very trying time.
9) This is your chance to show leadership through your online voice. It can be videos you post to YouTube, an email or through your blog or social media channels.
10) We are all looking for answers and your employees and customers need to hear your thoughts, plans or ways you’re company is working to support your community through the COVID-19 outbreak.
I’d love to say there is a solution to all of the above mentioned uncertainties but there isn’t. As with all tough times there is only one option and that is to work as if your business’s survival depends on it. Don’t be afraid to fail at keeping your business afloat. If it is unable to stay open you will still carry all of the knowledge that helped you create or grow the business in the first place and that truly is all you need to start a new!
As a world, country and as businesses we find ourselves in unprecedented times. We’re unsure of the future health of our loved ones especially those that are older or have underlying health concerns. We’re unsure of how long this pandemic will last, will it return and for many of us we’re unsure of how our businesses will continue to provide for our employees and for families after being so abruptly interrupted by COVID-19. As Americans we have been through tough times before and we’ve always risen to the occasion. We are a country made up of hundreds of millions of descendants of immigrants that risked everything to get to our shores. They fought to create a great nation of opportunity that prospers on personal freedom, free enterprise and provides vast opportunity to small business and we continue that fight today. Tough times are ingrained in the DNA of all of us in this country. In the words of Robert H. Shculler “Tough times never last but tough people do” and so too do tough businesses!
The answer to the question posed in this post “Will My Business Survive Coronavirus?” well the answer is that more than likely it will take a toll on all of our personal and professional lives. We will not come out of this virus the same people or businesses that we went into the pandemic but as long as our knowledge is in tact the coronavirus will not kill our entrepreneurial spirit, or that of our business’s.