After the PM’s announcement to stay at home three weeks ago, many including myself went into panic mode.
My thinking was simple what cost reductions can I make, immediately.
It is a knee jerk reaction based on fear and not fact.
Your sales and marketing are important for your business right now.
Cutting your sales and marketing at a time when you need to stay in touch with your customers and your target audience makes no sense.
Many businesses are working remotely, the economy is in free fall, and there is mounting uncertainty about the future.
It is only natural to feel fear and rising panic and the first thing we do is look to make cutbacks wherever we can.
I’ve worked through three recessions, and the last one tested me as a business owner and as an adaptor, someone who responds to change.
Businesses are cutting back, and there is a cessation of spending money on anything that isn’t essential.
There is one area I remain absolute resolute, and that is my sales and marketing.
Working for businesses in my distant past, the first thing they do is cancel their marketing, then let staff go thinking they will save a ton, and finally they wait expecting good times to roll in again.
It is a natural response to fear and uncertainty.
But to coin an old phrase, nothing in this world ever happens until a sale is made
Sales and marketing departments exist because it drives company growth including development of new and existing business.
Instead of doing what you usually do, you may need to plan, review and change direction.
Pausing will only dilute your company message and brand.
People have short memories and pausing or stopping any sales and marketing will mean it will take longer to get the ball rolling again once we return to normal, whatever normal is.
Beat your competitors at their own game
The next quarter will be challenging for all of us, but I, for one, am determined to keep my social media plan going.
And while not a lot is happening, I know that I will be at the forefront of peoples minds when we come out of this in six to twelve months.
My competitors will scale back their marketing and operations, which will enable me to capitalise on my visibility and marketability.
As an SME, this puts me and you in a highly marketable position, we can adapt more quickly than larger competitors.
Now is the time to forge ahead with the marketing you were planning but paused through fear of uncertainty.
More people are working from home, and they also have more time on their hands without the drudgery of the daily commute or feeling pressure to work long hours at the office.
Show and tell online
Which means that they are spending time online looking for ideas, products, services and opportunities which they might not have done previously.
If you are consistently posting updates, news releases, blogs, videos and podcasts, your message and brand for that matter is likely to resonate longer and louder.
Never has there been a better time to have a robust digital presence than now.
You may have to scale back some of your budgets by targeting a specific niche rather than two or three.
But being this targeted will pay dividends as long as you know who and where your target audience is.
Are you going in one direction? Shift your focus instead.
The strategy that you have in place may no longer be working as well as it did prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
It doesn’t mean your plan has failed; it means that you have to reconsider why it is no longer useful, modify and then change direction or your focus.
I like Instagram but have not worked it seriously preferring personal anecdotes to business.
But now I have a specific plan and message that I want to promote over the coming months.
Rather than trying something new shift your focus in another direction.
The last recession of 2008-2010 resulted in many companies going to the wall because they didn’t or were frightened to adapt and change.
There were others; myself included who regrouped and survived, but it was hard. I’m not going to lie.
This fear and uncertainty won’t last forever, but your business needs to adapt and face the uncertainty head-on.
I would be a liar if I didn’t share with you the sleepless nights I’ve had along with one or two hot/cold sweats.
I run a successful business and have done for more than twenty plus years, but, it doesn’t mean I know it all.
But I do know this
I know my business will get through this and so will yours provided you have the right mindset.
I want to share with you one of my favourite mantras:
Only the committed win
It may sound glib because as an owner/manager of an SME, you have to be part mad and passionate about your business, after all, you wouldn’t have established it in the first place.