By Thomas Griffin, co-founder and president of OptinMonster. Entrepreneur, investor and software expert. Helping you be a better leader in your organization.
Today’s new normal is hitting many industries pretty hard. Travel, food service, traditional retail, manufacturing and construction are just a few that have faced significant downturns. Some are starting their upswing, but experts say the recovery will be a long one.
What can business leaders do to sustain their companies in the face of all these changes? Some have been forced to close down, but for the ones that remain, what can you do to save your business and hopefully set it up for the future? Each business is different, and how you react to the new normal will be unique, so how you do these seven steps will vary. Consider them a starting point for your business recovery.
1. Move quickly and decisively.
The first step is to recognize that things have changed and gather your leadership team. Set up regular meetings for cross-functional leaders to get updated and work together on solutions. Build a set of tools and processes that let you handle smaller tasks or firefight tasks quickly and efficiently so you have time to focus on long-term planning. The right tools and processes will help everyone stay focused.
2. Map projects to immediate revenue.
Uncertain times often mean decreased revenues and increased expenditures. To stop the bleeding and return some money to the company coffers, it’s critical to only work on projects that bring in revenue in the immediate or short-term future. Any project that can’t be tied to revenue in the near future should be put aside for now.
3. Reprioritize paid marketing channels.
Alongside the typical cost-cutting measures, you should also look at your paid marketing channels. Most businesses use multiple paid marketing channels to generate new prospects and maintain brand awareness. You can only afford to keep the ones that are visibly contributing to business success and generating revenue.
Eliminate any channels with negative returns and only keep the ones that generate significant returns for you. What “significant” means for your business will be unique to you, so use your discretion. No cheating with long-term value projections or any other creative metrics.
4. Be transparent to ensure alignment within the company.
Remaining staff may feel additional stress due to outside pressures and the business’s fluctuating state. Be transparent about the financial situation, current plan and projections for the future so everyone can see and discuss it. When employees understand the situation more clearly, they’ll be more comfortable moving forward and the entire workforce will be aligned, focused and motivated.
5. Adapt your products to the new world.
Because the world is uncertain for everyone, your customers will have shifted their expectations for your products, too. You’ll need to modify your offerings to be more relevant for the current market while still delivering value to customers. You may want to create a dedicated product pivot team with members from all appropriate business units or have a dedicated leadership meeting where you regularly make product recommendations and delegate work to the appropriate teams.
6. Innovate to create new revenue streams.
Once your business is somewhat stabilized, take time to think about new revenue streams. Give everyone the freedom to come up with new product ideas or tweaks that could generate immediate revenue. These could be ideas adjacent to your core business that can be implemented quickly and efficiently.
7. Reengage with existing customers.
Smart marketers already know how to maintain customer relationships, so it’s time to double down on your most loyal ones. Dive deeper into your retention strategies to create personalized strategies that entice them to keep coming back. Remove the underperforming strategies that don’t add much to your bottom line.
It might have taken extraordinary circumstances to cause you to reassess every facet of your business, but you’ll come out better for it. These seven tips can help you survive a downturn while ultimately providing you with a stronger foundation for a healthier business. While each business and industry is different, this framework should help you pivot toward profitability once again and sustain growth in the future.