Coronavirus Tips for Small Business
1. Put an automated lead machine in place
If you don’t have automated lead processes in place, now is the time to get on that. If the economy goes down, you’re going to have to sell twice as much as you were previously and without automation, you’re running an uphill race. Automation helps clone you and your team. We use ActiveCampaign to put our lead generation on autopilot and receive fresh new leads across all of our channels. All we have to do is close the sale. Time management at its finest.
2. Implement systems and rely less on people
Never manage people. Always manage systems. This is an E-Myth foundational principle and can help you manage your business better. And in turbulent times, people become even less reliable. This is NOT to say that you shouldn’t value your people more than ever. We have dozens of different systems and processes we use across our company. One tool we love is Trello. It’s easy to use, has a great mobile UX and is simple to learn for anyone that hasn’t used it previously.
3. Put customer safeguards in place
If you’re able to put customers on contracts now, that would be beneficial. That’s a tough conversation to have with so much uncertainty currently. Something we’ve started to implement is initiating conversations with our clients and customers about the coronavirus. We ask them simply if their budgets and marketing strategy have been affected by the pandemic. Creating an open line of communication can help you plan in case things do start to change and their budgets go away, which hopefully gives you a good enough lead time to make changes internally if need be. We’re also sending out surveys to our various customers and clients to get a better understanding of how how they’re dealing with the virus. For surveys, we love Survey Monkey. It’s the easiest most effective way to get surveys out quickly. Google Forms works well too.
4. Focus on perfecting copywriting
A lot more people are going to be online over the next few weeks or months, constantly checking updates about the virus and economy, but also because most companies are implementing work from home policies where possible. Because of that, the copy on your website, marketing materials, ads, etc, is going to be an especially competitive advantage right now. With the world fighting for engagement, strong copywriting will be a competitive advantage to attract the audiences you want. Udemy has some really great copywriting courses to improve your skills, or you can outsource through sites like Toptal or Upwork to find freelancers. Even better, use talented local copywriters like Judy Olbrych.
5. Double down on markets that have served you well
We don’t think testing new markets in the current uncertain economic landscape is an effective use of your time and resources. Contrarily, we’ll be doubling down and going deeper into the markets that have been effective for us. If you don’t know the ‘who, what and why’ of your company and its products or services, I recommend you read a book called Sell More Faster, which helps you get really clear on your customer segments. Our company has typically enjoyed a very healthy margin and we attribute that to simply getting crystal clear on who our customer is, drilled down in that very specific niche and created digital products and results that our customers love. We sell them what they need, not what we want them to want.
6. Focus on offerings that make your customers money or save them money (bottom-line products)
In these uncertain times, companies are less focused on products they don’t need. But, if your product or service either makes your customer money or saves them money, you become much less disposable. Two example products that we will not stop using no matter what happens with the economy (because they make us money or save us money) are ActiveCampaign for lead generation (makes us money) and Quickbooks for accounting and merchant services (saves us money).
7. Productize service-based businesses
Here’s why products matter. You only have so many hours in a day to sell and execute on services (even if you have a team, you’re limited to their hours and so on). Products will help you make money while you sleep. Plain and simple. In order to scale and grow, you need products. If you’re a service, figure out how to productize some of those services. To keep things simple, just start with one. Products come in all shapes and sizes, from digital SaaS products to courses, to e-books, to anything that can be purchased and paid for online. You want products.
But mostly, you want to wash your damn hands!