COVID-19 is an unexpected wrench that has shaken up many businesses of all sizes. This time has elicited many feelings for me, with the most prevalent ones being fear and uncertainty.
The purpose of this post is to update you on what our business is doing during this unprecedented time. As of today, we’ve lost close to 20% of our monthly recurring revenue and I anticipate it will get worse. My thoughts go out to each and every one of you, especially those in ever more dire straits.
This period of time has me scratching my head and pondering the following ‘never-before-asked’ questions:
- What is going on?
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- Are we going to survive?
- What is coming next?
Confession time: anger, frustration, and sadness have all crept into my head, but I’ve tried to remain positive even with no end seen in sight. I keep reminding myself that with adversity comes opportunity.
For others, unfortunately, it is probably much worse at this time. Many of our cancellations/pauses in service have occurred because some of our clients literally have to close their doors and cease all operations. California has just shut down and will face one of the hardest hits at the time of this writing.
Local, small, and large businesses, everything from gyms, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, to schools are being forced to close down. Even those that are internet-based, or have functional abilities outside of person-to-person interactions, are experiencing the trickle down effect of businesses closing their doors.
For other business owners, you know how detrimental even a week or two weeks without revenue can be for your business. Imagine a month, two months, six months, a year? At this point, we are expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.
The purpose of this post is NOT to focus on the negativity or sadness, but to help open your mind to potential opportunities during this time. Right now, I want you to get those creative juices flowing and have you ask yourself, “How can I turn this adversity into an opportunity for my business?”
One thing is certain: winners never quit, and quitters never win.
None of us knows what is going to happen this week or next month. All we can do is put our heads down and work each and every day at getting better and improving the situation.
Walk with me down this road, as I guide you through what we are doing at Flying V Group during this COVID-19 outbreak to keep our business going. I hope you can take something from this that will give you that drive to keep going. We MUST keep going.
Here is what Flying V Group is doing during COVID-19 with potential takeaways:
1. Reaching Out to ALL of Our Clients
As a business, it is important that you are open and honest with your clients. We are in the process of reaching out to all of our existing clients to update them on our response to the pandemic, and to check in on their needs. During this time, it is crucial to be honest and supportive.
For us, projects have been delayed due to resource issues. We must inform our clients of this. We are all in the same boat and having compassion for one another’s situations is vital.
Any business should have a deliberate, regular, and consistent way to stay in touch with their clients. Email. Social media. Blogging. You name it.
2. Reaching Out to ALL of Our Potential Clients/Leads
Not only are our existing clients important during this time, but our prospective clients are as well. We have reached out to all of our prospective clients to let them know that we are thinking about them and that their health and wellness is of the utmost importance.
Take off your sales hat for a moment and show compassion for the issues others may be facing. A simple email extending best wishes and understanding that they probably are not focused on that proposal you sent last week will be crucial to new business acquisition once things settle down.
3. Supporting Clients that are Closing Up Shop
The majority of the 20% loss of our revenue comes from clients who are being told to close their doors. What choice do they have? Why would they continue with marketing and advertising expenditures when there are much more pressing needs?
We have been very lenient and have allowed all of these clients to pause their services. What we have also done is ensure that we continue providing maintenance levels of their service in hopes that once things bounce back they will be able to rebound quickly. Extend an olive branch in any way possible to help us all get through this together.
For example, we are continuing link building activities for SEO clients. We want to support our clients in any way possible.
We are also encouraging clients to start creating with the extra time they have. Make a difference for yourself and your clientele. Release content for social media, write that e-book you have always wanted to, connect with your clientele in different, creative, and remarkable ways.
One example is that we have encouraged clients with gyms to focus on blog post content creation and social media marketing/creative ideas (workouts from home) in order to provide value to clients while the doors are closed.
Think about it. When doors are closed, open the window. You might see opportunities you never thought possible from a new view.
4. Considering the Essentials and Keeping an Eye on Spending
This is something you can do in less than an hour or two.
Go to your bank account (online is better and faster) and check your credit card statements. Determine what you absolutely need to keep and what to cancel. Cancellations are not ideal, but you must trim the fat.
Can you believe we have found upwards of $1k/mo. in expenses that were not doing much for our business?
Many times we get set up on automatic monthly payments, and then forget that we signed-up for these services in the first place.
Your business is waiting for you to identify and eliminate these money leaks. Stay lean in spending.
5. Getting Aggressive, Staying Proactive
You don’t have to roar like a lion, but take proactive measures.
At this point in time we plan on NO MAJOR CHANGES to our core business model including layoffs, furloughs, and such. We want to support in any ways we can for as long as possible.
Now understand, due to our digital nature, we are much more fortunate than other organizations that have high overhead costs. We have little to no overhead outside-of-core-business essentials, which are mostly online. At this time, we are actually ramping up activities and efforts.
We have increased ad spending and told our salespeople to continue onward.
We want to have candid conversations with others. They might not be able to work with us now, but when things return to normal, we want to be there for them to help them bounce back.
6. Focusing on Our Own Business
Due to the nature of the downturn, things have slowed, but that does not mean we should sit around and do nothing, or panic.
Currently, Flying V Group is creating new marketing messaging and adding new content to the website for the benefit of clients we have worked with in the past.
We are refining our marketing collateral and taking time to help our employees get the training and certifications they need.
Do a business audit on your marketing, advertising, and operations, and analyze the things you need to reconsider - what you need to remove - and what else you can do to improve your own business during the next 12 months and beyond.
Growth is great. Evolution is the next level.
So, what does every business owner need in the current climate and economy? A rock-solid business foundation: a clear understanding of who you serve, what they need, and what you do for them. You should be able to talk about what you do with clarity. Before anything else.
7. Enjoying the Little Things
At the end of the day, none of us knows what is going to happen in the next few months. There is so much uncertainty with no clear end in sight. Now is the time to reflect on and appreciate the important things in life.
Connect with the important people in your life more often, read a book you’ve always wanted to read, learn a new and exciting skill or ability, re-watch your favorite movies, or connect with old friends.
Now is the time to do all of the things you have been continuously putting off. Life-changing moments you should take advantage of.
So What Should You Do Next?
I hope that this blog post provided you with something that you can take back to your family, friends, business, or other venture. We are all in this together and we must support one another through the good times and the bad. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
For all the fearless entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business owners who are currently stuck and want to reach out for a chat, please do. I encourage anyone that would like to have a candid conversation about what they are seeing or what they are doing, or just to chat for any reason. Please book a time on my calendar.
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I’d love to hear how life and business are treating you, and what you are considering doing to adjust the sails.
Everyone needs new friends, and I would love to become your newest. Thanks for reading and continue to build one another up and put one foot in front in the other as we forge on together!
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.