How to Navigate an Unexpected Downturn in Your Business

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We’re all feeling the squeeze in this unprecedented time (unless you’re a face mask manufacturer. If so, thank you but stop reading this and get back to work) and it can be a tough, scary time to be an entrepreneur.

While there are no guarantees when it comes to being self-employed, I think it’s a safe assumption that we will see our way through this turmoil eventually. But you’ve got bills to pay and people who depend on you. So how can you keep your business afloat in an abrupt downturn like this?

How to Navigate an Unexpected Downturn in Your Business

1. Diversify your product line

If your business has been affected by shelter-at-home directives, or even if you’re reading this after COVID-19, it’s time to expand your product or service line. A very cool distillery here in Rochester has ceased production of their liquors and instead begun to manufacture hand sanitizer. How awesome is that? Brainstorm ways you can pivot your brand to offer new services or products that can keep you going. What other skills or opportunities do you have that can (if you’ll forgive the term) capitalize on the current situation?

2. Stay active

Don’t hide or put your head in the sand. Now more than ever is the time to deliver value and stay top-of-mind. Keep consistent on social media marketing, keep your website updated, and stay engaged with your customer base so that you maintain a supportive community who will champion your brand.

3. Ask for help

If your business is struggling, now is the time to speak up about it. You’re definitely not alone in this, and being prideful won’t do anything to keep your doors open. Talk about your situation, be honest about your worries, and ask for support. No one will help you if you don’t tell them you need it. (Which is why calls to action are always essential in any marketing!)

4. Curtail expenses, but not marketing

In my experience, downturns are the times when companies cut their marketing budgets or efforts. I may be biased, but I always see this as a short-sighted and panic-induced decision that’s usually a terrible idea. Marketing should always be a priority for a business, as it’s the way new customers find you and current customers stay in the know of what you’re up to. If you want to cut advertising budgets, then find other ways to create content that will take the workload for free and handle customer outreach for you. I’ve started a series of ideas for what to post on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok if you need help with that.

Lastly, take care of your well-being and mental state. Stress does a number of terrible things to your mind and body and can tax your immune system. So it’s important to keep up self-care routines and to try to keep an eye on the end of the tunnel. We’ll get through this together, and your business can find ways to survive if you allow yourself to be flexible in your offerings and honest/vulnerable in your marketing. 

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