Repackaging your business offer for the changing environment

COVID has forced change upon us all as we ride this rollercoaster. Businesses have been turned upside down and we are in a state of ‘business-as-UNusual’. Change is inevitable, it has been thrust upon us and we need to do something about it.

It starts with adapting. Humans are great at this. There are many things outside our control that are changing but there are still many things within your control that you can adapt to the environment. The reality for some of you is that you can’t operate like you used to. That might mean foot traffic into a restaurant, face to face meetings or selling via a storefront. Focus on what you can control and decide how can I adapt my processes and business model to suit - doing nothing may be the riskiest option.

Review how you package and bundle and price your products and services. Your market now might want certain products bundled together or perhaps you used to bundle but now more appropriate to unbundle and sell individually. Adapt to the changing environment. Consider your pricing - how can you still stay competitive and continue to generate review. Don’t rush to discount as this has a big impact on your Gross Profit margins. Instead if you used to charge a higher fee, how can you repackage the service to remove stuff if the market want to pay less. Also consider extended payment terms - so the price stays the same however the customer can pay off over 2-3-4 months and so on.

Many pure storefront offline stores have had to quickly consider and adapt to operating online via ecommerce. Remember that just because you have operate offline for many years doesn’t mean you can’t quickly adapt to an online store. Consumers are used to buying online so this isn’t revolutionary for them. In fact they might find it more convenient. Focus here on progress not perfection. If you need to move online then do it and refine as you go. Don’t wait until you have a fancy pansy website with all the bells and whistles, just get something usable up that can showcase the product and take payment details. Start using email and social media to communicate with your clients. If you have there phone numbers you might want to hit the phones as well to give them an update. The same applies here for services - you might need to use the phone or Zoom as opposed to face to face meetings. Even as conditions improve you might find consumers are not that comfortable rushing back to face to face meetings. I’ve already heard many instances were customers now prefer Zoom and the new ways of working with service providers and suppliers.

Also the opportunity to collaborate with other businesses has never been greater. We are all looking around as to how we can support and work with fellow business owners. Brainstorm non-competing businesses that have the same target customer as you and reach out to them. You might be able to cross-promote your services. You might bundle together and sell as one unit and split the revenue. You might collaborate with a marketing agency and a logistics company to deliver your products to customers when you’ve only ever had a wholesale business model. You might connect with a social media influencer and have them promote and endorse your product. The options here are endless and you can get as creative as possible.

The key lesson is to control what you can, adapt to the changing environment, communicate with your customers and open channels for collaborations with fellow business owners. You might end up completely flipping your business model and it might stay like that going forward.

Brad Turville is the Director at BJT Financial and a Small Business First Business Champion!