With the situation brought on by COVID-19, many businesses are facing significant difficulties. Are you an entrepreneur dealing with certain challenges? It may be time to think about the future so you can come out on top after this unprecedented time. Here are some thoughts and advice to guide you in your thinking if you think it’s time to review your business model.
“I believe that reviewing your business model is a process that can be split into two important steps: entrepreneurs must first think about the current situation, then about what will happen after COVID-19,” asserts Martin Cinq-Mars, senior advisor, commercial banking sales effectiveness at National Bank.
If you’re feeling the effects of COVID-19, the first question to ask yourself is: what do you have to do to continue your operations right now? “Have you examined the new business assistance programs that various governments and bank institutions have set up? Are you able to keep all your workers employed? New measures have been set up to help you. They could help give you some relief and take the time you need to conduct an in-depth analysis of your situation,” Cinq-Mars advises.
We’ve long spoken about how important it is for businesses to go digital. In the current context, it’s a necessity.
“Analyze your digital offering and pinpoint your weaknesses so you can quickly optimize them. Think about each step in the customer journey: website, transaction platform, online payment, delivery and return system.”
“Having an excellent, robust and efficient online presence could change your company’s direction for the weeks and even months to come.”
Good online tools can also open up new markets. “For example, all the Montreal specialists and consultants who were doing remote consultations can now offer their services to the entire province.”
“Ask any plexiglass fabricator if they ever thought they’d be making panels to protect merchants from a virus… I’m pretty convinced that few businesses could have predicted that this would one day happen.”
Cinq-Mars recommends thinking about the challenges as well as the opportunities that the current marketplace could offer them, taking into account their raw materials and their production chain. “Fabric, carton, paper, plastic… These are materials that offer new opportunities: masks, protective clothing, gloves, visors, etc. There are considerable needs.”
Another thing to think about: would businesses be interested in products of yours that are usually made for consumers? The opposite is also possible. “By going from B2C to B2B, or the other way around, you could increase your sales.”
“If you have a good idea for a new product or service and already have some good basics in place, like the raw materials or the right production chain, you could always invest, even in these uncertain times.”
Crisis or not, showing creativity and innovation could work in your favour. According to Cinq-Mars adding another product or service could allow entrepreneurs to keep their heads above water, all while keeping your workforce employed, or at least part of it. “Once the situation is back to normal, you could even keep producing this new product and expand your offering and your client base. I’m thinking about all these small distilleries that are now producing antiseptic liquid, for example.”
This exceptional situation is forcing entrepreneurs to review their communications as a whole. Are your ads still reasonable and relevant in the middle of COVID-19? Are you showing compassion and humanity on social media? “Being proud of your victories and sharing them on social media could also inspire other entrepreneurs.”
Maintaining your relationships with your clients is important, but don’t forget about your employees, either. “Be transparent, show some empathy, and support them as best you can. It’s important to take care of these relationships. You’ll need them once the situation is back to normal.”
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