The coronavirus pandemic is less than two months old (at least in the U.S.), but it’s already obvious it will leave a lasting legacy. There are some parts of our “new normal,” like remote working and the recognized importance of hand washing, that will likely stay with us for a long time.
When looking at the immediate business lessons of a still-unfolding crisis, though, things are even simpler. In fact, there are two takeaways that really stand out—even though they aren’t new or imaginative. Let’s look at each one.
Lesson 1: Build a Strong Brand
Branding is often treated as a generic marketing catch-all term, or something that boils down to re-designing a logo. What we mean in this sense is that you need to have a definite identity that leads customers to think about you in a positive way.
What we see in the marketplace right now is that buyers are consciously choosing to help the companies and brands they like the most. That’s particularly true when they decide to shop and support local businesses. There are certain entrepreneurs or employees they want to see succeed and will keep buying from them even when money is tight.
Of course, this isn’t the easiest time to be building deeper relationships with customers. The brands that are doing well—whether they are Fortune 500s or single-person ventures—are the ones who did the hard work of establishing themselves as friendly and accessible before their survival depended on it.
Lesson 2: Diversify Your Business
The companies being hit hardest right now are the ones without multiple sources of income. If your way to make money involves having diners for a four-course meal, as an example, then your bottom line is probably hurting.
Conversely, businesses that have invested in online sales are hanging in there. Others have positioned themselves to offer expertise and consulting in addition to their normal product and service lines. Some are partnering with colleagues to create new packages that offer more value. These are all good ideas in an economy where certain types of markets or transactions have virtually disappeared.
While it might take years to develop the right brand or reputation, adding new income streams to your business—and particularly from ecommerce or app development—can be accomplished pretty quickly. Now might be a great time for you to start thinking about other ways to make money for yourself and your employees.