15 Apr Jonathan Cartu Affirm: Simple Strategies For Minimizing Struggle During Times Of C…
With the novel coronavirus impacting businesses globally, three types of crisis behavior from business owners, leaders, and even consumers are starting to become relevant.
The first is absolute contraction. In times of economic struggle, it is easy to see why this strategy is a choice leaders make. Business owners and entrepreneurs cut all possible expenses, squeeze areas of outreach and almost become hopeful hermits as they wait for these things to pass. I’ve seen this applied not only to service-oriented businesses for consumers, like plumbers or lawn care, but also to large marketing companies, product businesses and even consulting and coaching services.
The second behavior is acting on desperation. This is where business owners, leaders and salespeople start to double down on customer acquisition efforts as they try to survive through the economic downturn. This too seems like a pliable strategy because only growth can help offset customer losses. The trouble is that many are trying to sell their products or services in an extreme, desperate attempt. This is different than offering strategic discounts and so on. Rather, businesses often retreat to old and unsuccessful methods in hopes of easily finding new customers. In my experience, the massive outreach on LinkedIn and other social channels and the endless email blasts without any sense of qualification, partnership or even true understanding won’t work.
The last behavior is focusing on strategic partnerships. This by far seems to be the most admirable and long-lasting response to unexpected crises. Businesses in this category recognize the impact situations like these have on the economy and that they can create a pause in buying patterns. More importantly, they recognize that they are not necessarily a setback in the economy. The main difference is that this pause could create pent-up demand for your products and services unlike ever before. Owners and consumers are still going to want to grow their businesses, train employees or invest in the future. The problem is that they may currently be unable to do so. The strategic partnership strategy becomes important, especially during slower times. That’s because when the market does go back to full speed, you’ll be able to capture as much of the market share as possible.
This last strategy seems to have people perplexed. They often don’t know how to do it or they don’t know how to prioritize it.
I recently encountered two owners of a company specializing in consumer land investment opportunities. In meeting with them, I noticed that during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, their business was actually expanding. I asked them how this was possible. How could their business be growing when so many others are contracting? Their response: You should have an abundance mentality.
Entrepreneurs with an abundance mentality recognize that in order to be successful, they have to connect with other strategic partners, give first, provide advice, be helpful and be celebratory of others’ successes.
For example, one partner I spoke with started her own mentorship group session with other people in the industry — or in other words, her competitors — during the early days of the business. This free mentorship group was focused on group learning, business expansion and thought-provoking discussion to help everyone become better. She was not threatened by the success of her peers, even though she could have seen a thriving competitor as someone else taking market share from her. Abundance mentalities like these can allow leaders to build great relationships and keep them thriving even amidst crises.
Building strategic partnerships and the abundance mentality for your business is surprisingly quite simple to do. Here are three tips you can implement today:
1. Consider what you can give away for free. Can you have your own mentorship group, a hotline for people to call and ask questions or free add-ons and delivery? Free offers, if you don’t expect anything in return, can help you build relationships (as well as gain interested prospects). Give first.
2. Look at your business and identify what other businesses or opportunities go well with your services. It’s silly to think that you can be the expert in all things. For example, if you are in the door-to-door alarm industry, see how you can refer people to other similar services (like internet, phone or lawn care) that they may need since you’re in the home with the consumer already. If you’re in business-to-business software products, see how you can refer clients to a business accountant, bookkeeper or other services.
3. Last, focus on conducting outreach in real ways. Of all the investments that you might be cutting back on or slowing down with, don’t slow down on advertising. This not only alerts your partners that you are still open and pushing, but it also keeps your prospects and customers aware of you and your work. The economic impact should cause you to consider strategic cash flow management. So as you continue to advertise, be smart with the choices you make. Avoid experimentation and focus on proven methods with the highest ROI (which might include SEO, social, Google Adwords, et cetera).
As you manage crises like COVID-19, remember that grass is still going to grow, hair is still going to need cutting, pipes will continue to break and need to be fixed and business owners are still going to break things and need software. This pause may just create a massive pent-up demand. Though it may be different than the 2008 recession, crises like COVID-19 in 2020 could eventually create economic opportunity. Like a series of Jenga blocks stacked on top of one another, customer need and demand could build higher and higher. Once the economy gets into full swing, the tower could topple over and spread customer demand everywhere. Are you going to be in a position to grab as much as you can? I believe that only those who have an abundance mentality, who have…