Y’all, these are some weird times for business owners. For the past few weeks, you’ve been thrown a pretty big curve ball in the form of the coronavirus. No matter what size company you have, you’re left asking yourself some pretty hard questions like: How do we keep the lights on? How do we keep paying our team members? How do we adapt? How do we show that we’re sensitive and not out of touch? How do we still stay in business in this new world?
For most of you, knowing the answer to these questions will help you keep food on the table and your employees on the payroll. No matter the size of your company, we’re all working through the same problem: Are we doing the right thing?
If you’ve been feeling the weight of this season—you’re not alone. Business owners just like you are wrestling with these same questions . . . unless you’re in the hand sanitizer business. But one of the biggest things business owners are struggling with right now is the topic of promotion. How in the world do you handle business promotions during a crisis like this?
Is it insensitive to keep going about like it’s business as usual? Is it wrong to keep promoting when other businesses have had to close their doors? Does it look like we’ve got our heads buried in the sand if we keep talking about our newest online course, new cookbook, or (insert your newest product)?
You can figure out what to do by considering two things: your customer’s ability and desire to buy (demand) and your ability to serve them (supply).
So, what does your ability to serve look like right now? For example, if your kids are out of school and at home, you might not have the time to focus on your business like you normally would. Likewise, your customer’s ability to buy from you will be high or low in this season, depending on what’s going on.
For example, if you have a spray tan business, that might be a priority for your customers during normal spring seasons, but with a world-wide pandemic and social distancing, they aren’t buying. The demand has decreased dramatically (or completely).
I want to share four ways you can categorize your approach based on your supply and demand, so you can know what to do during this crisis:
Keep it Business as Usual
If your business hasn’t really been impacted, that’s great! If your ability to serve your customer hasn’t changed and your customer’s buying habits have stayed the same, things are probably looking pretty normal. You don’t have to do too much different or new to stay afloat. Keep operating as usual and keep serving your customers well!
If the demand is high, but your ability to meet it is low, it’s time to get resourceful. For example, if you’re a writer and you have a ton of clients who need online content, but your kids are home from school and you can’t focus to get your work done, you’ve got to get scrappy.
This is where you figure out how to continue to serve your customers by getting help with the kids, writing after they go to bed, or something else to make it work. If you’re in this position, give yourself grace during this season.
If your demand is low and your ability to serve your customers is also low, you have permission to coast. For example, if you’re a massage therapist, your customers aren’t trying to book you. But if your kids are home, you don’t have time to go serve them anyway. So, I’m giving you permission to coast. Play with your kids, read a book, or do things on that to-do list you’ve been putting off for a while. Don’t worry, when this is over you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
If your ability to serve your customers is high but the demand is low right now, it’s time to get creative. I’m talking about new ways to reach your tribe. For example, if you put on live events and they’ve all been cancelled due to social distancing, but your personal ability to serve them is still high, see if you can take your events online. Maybe you need to brainstorm new messaging or spend time thinking about how you can solve a new problem in the marketplace
Regardless of how you manage during this time, just keep trying to serve your customers and give yourself grace. Remember, there’s no playbook for this, and we’re all doing the best we can!
About Christy Wright
Christy Wright is the #1 national best-selling author of Business Boutique, host of the Business Boutique Podcast, a Certified Business Coach and a Ramsey Personality with a passion for equipping women with the knowledge and steps they need to successfully run and grow a business. Since joining Ramsey Solutions in 2009, she has spoken to thousands across the country at women’s conferences, national business conferences, Fortune 500 companies and her own sold-out live events. You can follow Wright on Twitter and Instagram @ChristyBWright and online at christywright.com or facebook.com/OfficialChristyWright.