Who remembers the 2003 SARS outbreak? What business or work were you in?
I had a profit share in a surf shop at Sydney Airport at the time. It was tough, travel restrictions and fear saw people stop flying, stop coming to the airport to pick up loved ones and cancel holiday plans. For us, these were all our customers, gone. SARS and Convid-19 are a related virus. It feels a little like Deja Vu to me. Whether you’re feeling dire or optimistic, the reality is the majority of the general public are feeding off the overall fear and starting to get into a state of panic.
Your small business can and will survive this! Here are my top 5 things you can do to keep afloat during these times:
Don’t buy anything that isn’t essential for your business right now. Contact your business bank manager and have a face to face meeting. Explain how this current situation is affecting your cash flow and ask how you can work together to see you through.
A short-term overdraft or loan is fine, pay it back as soon as things improve and when the next ‘crisis’ comes, you will have credibility if you ever need to ask for help again.
Just as we’re (very smartly) seeing the travel industry advertise changes in their cancellation policies, what can you change or adjust at this time to give your future customers full confidence to buy from you.
Contact your existing customers and answer their questions before they ask them. Explain any changes in their products or services that are affected due to the CONVID-19. Give your current customers full confidence that you are on the ball and ahead of the game.
For example, an architect client of mine just had to explain that the light fitting one of their clients wanted wasn’t going to arrive due to the factories being temporarily shut down in China at the moment.
The client can either choose from these other 3 similar choices that have the stock here in Australia or we can wait until the factory in China begins work again.
If business is quite for you right now, work on the things you have wanted to but were always stuck for time to get done. Update your cashflow forecasts, do a mini stocktake, re-jig your website, create your social media posts for the next 3 months, re-look at any sales training content you may have, adjust your business plan.
The point of this is to keep your mindset looking forward. And when things pick back up again, you’ll be ahead of the game ready to go!
Look around, who is around you? At the airport, it was ridiculously quite! But there were lots of airline ground staff and security staff walking around. We targetted them and gave them special deals. It worked, sales went up, not to the normal level but higher than the previous few weeks had been.
Also consider, what industries have the same customers as you but are not your direct competitors? Network, make friends with them and brainstorm ways you can collaborate, giving both of your customers a special deal.
For example, tourist attractions can advertise to locals with a family portrait photographer; or a nice restaurant might collaborate with a florist or a limousine chauffeur company. Look around, opportunities are right there if you go searching for them.
I know it’s scary when the bank account decreases and sales go to an extreme low. Take heart, it’s a global issue. It would be worse if it was a combination of bad business decisions you solely made, but it’s not. You didn’t cause this, you are still an amazing and intelligent business person! Stay calm, remind yourself that past situations like this bounced back quite quickly and this will too.
(c) Copyright 2021 The Milestone Academy
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