Updated: Mar 19, 2020
These are trying times to say the least. Fears of Covid-19 run amok but more than that, financial fears abound as more and more cities around the world are being locked down, businesses are being shut down, unemployment will reach 20%. We are in uncharted territory.
But are we though? Just take a look at recent history and you’ll see that we HAVE been here before. Too many times and even in recent history, with the last big meltdown happening in 2008.
And if there is anything we should learn from all these crises is that “after winter comes spring. Always”. And there are a massive amount of companies that not only survived these turmoils, but THRIVED and grew to be giants.
These are not flukes. Companies that changed their trajectory were disciplined enough to find ways to “Future Proof” themselves, changing their business models making their services and products valuable and accessible to their customers and all times (think of a little company called Google that rose amidst the dot com bust of 2000). We at Playground are lucky enough to have partners and clients that are not just weathering the storm but are seeing their sales grow even more as they’ve made the necessary transitions and we’re helping them to capture more and more opportunities
Here are 3 things you can do today to keep income coming in and might even change the course of your company.
Turn from physical to digital. Now. It’s really easy to look at a giant corporation like Disney and learn from them. Disney has shut down all it’s major revenue drivers, parks, stores, movie theater releases and so on. But they will keep earning billions through their streaming service Disney+. Great for them. But what is really inspiring is watching small businesses innovate and change their business model. Fitness coaches - who now can’t teach at their gyms, are doing live streams of workouts to paying customers. Seminar coaches are taking their lectures online and earning money from one-time passes. Rock stars are doing live streams for shows, Even accountants are working remotely for their clients. This goes for whole sports franchises too and could be the biggest boost ever for esports. While the NBA and others are cancelling games, their esports teams can be playing for hundreds of millions of fans on twitch and other platforms. No matter what business you’re in, the need for you and what you offer is still valid, there is a way to take your business online and make it work remotely. And who knows, you might find yourself impacting even more people than you thought.
Turn your services into products: This is a little trickier and work needs to be put into this strategy but it is oh so worth it! The premise is very simple; if you’re already running a business, you can assume you have knowledge others want, crave for even. And if up till now you were selling your services in person, now you can package it up and sell it to a wider audience, sometimes without even being there. This is nothing new but it still amazes me that people don’t do it. Remember the fitness coach from before that is doing live streams of workouts for her members? She can package that into video lessons, sell them online or post to Youtube to get ad revenue. If you’re a digital marketer, you can create video tutorials or written lessons about creating social media ads and sell them on your website. One of the things I like a lot is watching how successful house flippers, who now cant show houses to prospective clients, are actually making even more money than before by packaging their knowledge of how to flip houses into online courses that you can access any time. You own a restaurant? Create a cookbook from your best dishes and let people try it at home. Do that for your business, and then create an online “selling machine” through ads and marketing automation.
Expand your existing offering: This is one of my favorite things and is usually easier than you think (it’s also our specialty and passion). Usually businesses cater to a certain client/ vertical/ persona. Focus makes sense, But times of crisis breed a new kind of opportunity and can lead to growth. For example - one of our clients, www.Discuss.io, is an augmented video platform used by Fortune 1000 companies for marketing research. They’re an augmented video platform because they have an amazing technical layer on top of the video that enables search, transcribing, translation, editing, highlighting and more. Perfect for market research and that is their traditional vertical. But with remote and “work from home” being the new norm, they expanded their offering to sales teams, HR, and many other verticals who now have the opportunity to use their professional tools. Sales have been going up and to the right.
If you’ve read through all this, you’re probably asking yourself “OK, what’s the first step?”.
The first step is actually wanting to do this and committing. Without the commitment to win and get this done, it will never happen.
The second step - start playing around with ideas how to take your business online and try them. Some ideas might fail, but the ones that work - they will keep a smile on your face when the next crisis comes.