The 2020 Coronavirus has taken the world by surprise and disrupted industries and countries without discrimination. It’s a legitimate crisis that has far-reaching consequences for business owners – big and small.
If you had suppliers in China or Italy, you’re now experiencing delays. If your business is centered on events that are now canceled, what is the strategy to replace that income? Have you ever thought about it?
How your company reacts during a crisis is a clear indicator of its true health at other times. Your business is only as strong as the weakest area.
Today, let’s discuss the crisis management options your business has so that your marketing efforts will stay consistent and in good standing no matter what.
Have A “Plan Z”
Before a crisis even hits your business, it’s imperative that you have a contingency plan. Let’s step back from something global that feels out of reach. Something localized like a building fire can set you back months or years. No one likes to think that their business is going to fail but planning for a worst-case scenario on a quarterly basis can prevent panic when the time comes. There’s a reason we participate in drills so we can mentally prepare without actually being in danger.
Often our businesses are made up of different segments. If you have an agency, you have multiple clients. If you have a store, you have multiple products. If you have a sports team, you have multiple players.
It’s not a good idea to have all of your revenue dependent on one or two factors because it’s easier for a domino effect to occur if one falls. Your business strategy must be across multiple streams so that one can handle the load if another one is lost. If one client accounts for 70% of your revenue, you don’t have a business. You have a hostage situation because your business is forced to make decisions around that client instead of the other way around.
If you’re wondering how to create a “Plan Z” for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What accounts for our biggest revenue? If that suddenly goes away, what is another way we can create revenue?
If you are asking on a quarterly basis, you will always be developing innovative ways to keep your business making a profit. It will already be in motion and not something you have to come up with at the last minute.
2. What are the key areas we need to check on first to make sure things are running smoothly?
Do you have a checklist handy of all the suppliers you order from so you can check on their status? If you had to scale back your business by 30%, have you identified which personnel are critical and which ones you can let go? If you had to hire a public relations or marketing agency to steward your public response in the aftermath, have you already identified who they would be? Have you already developed that relationship?
These questions are designed to have you dig in a little deeper so you can spring into action with confidence.
Communicate with Next Steps
By this point, you’ve probably received a dozen emails from the CEOs of companies telling you how they are handling the Coronavirus and how the company is standing by to help you if you’ve been affected.
The great emails in the bunch are the ones that communicate with the next steps. They let you know what’s going to happen depending on certain variables so you’re not left wondering if they have your best interest at heart. They answer the questions that you are already asking in your head.
What if I book my flight but the flight is canceled? Will it be easy to get a refund?
To be able to address those questions, you have to put yourself in the mind of your customer or client and understand their concerns.
Marketing, which simply means communicating via various mediums with the people who can benefit from your services the most, doesn’t end once they have purchased from you once. The goal is to get them to purchase from you again.
If they have a horrible experience with you during a crisis, it can turn them off forever. It doesn’t take much to erode trust. One of the ways to instill that trust is by letting them know that the things that matter to them matter to you.
Don’t rush to give a response. Take the time to think through all the things that will affect them and then let them know how you’re on top of it.
Make It Virtual.
Did you know that the businesses best equipped to handle a global crisis are the digital ones? Barring an internet blackout, online businesses don’t have to worry about traffic jams, plane delays or quarantines. Customers are able to get what they need without ever having to leave their homes.
If you don’t have a version of your business that can operate digitally, now is the perfect time to add it. If you need help, reach out to us at SNR Creative and we can help you create a plan of action. We can even set it up for you.
Just think about an in-person event with multiple speakers. If the venue shuts down, what generally happens? Nothing. But it’s very easy to turn it into an online summit where each speaker will be given the opportunity to speak directly into the camera, share their PowerPoint slides via the computer, and as a viewer, it’s just like being in the live audience.
Don’t forget this important resource at your disposal. It’s great to utilize year-round but especially during a crisis because it can be immediate. You can hop on Facebook or LinkedIn Live and communicate directly with your clients and customers.
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Crisis management doesn’t have to feel like a dirty word. It’s actually an opportunity to zero in on your strengths and weaknesses of your company and come out on the other side with more resilience. It just requires putting forth the effort to get prepared ahead of time.
Most companies won’t. This is your chance to set yourself apart by having a “Plan Z,” communicating with the next steps and making sure you’re ready to go digital.
Reach out to us today if you’d like to discuss how we can support your crisis management plan. You’re not in this alone.