13 Steps to Your Business Surviving the Covid Economic Crisis.

How Can Your Business Survive the Covid 19 Economic Crisis? We are at the beginning of the economic impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic. Business is going to get worse before it gets better but agile and innovative entrepreneurs can survive if they have a strategy to get through the crisis. Keeping your business open is crucial since 75% of businesses that close in an economic crisis never reopen. 13 Steps to Your Business Surviving the Covid Economic Crisis.

In an economic crisis, entrepreneurs tend to bear the brunt of the negative impact but if they keep their eyes open and prepare to take advantage of opportunities that open up, they can not only survive but thrive. They can take market share from less agile competitors and become more profitable as they become leaner to fit the economic environment.

It’s difficult, but entrepreneurs must spot opportunities and be aggressive in capturing them. Look to the future and see how your business can take advantage of the new business landscape.

Here are 13 specific recommendations to get your business through the downturn.

  1. Keep a close eye on your cash flow. Conduct monthly forecasts and daily checks to make sure you have the operating cash to see you through. You should project where your business will be in 3 months as well as daily, weekly and monthly milestones. Negotiate with suppliers, landlords, and contractors to get a better price. They are feeling the pinch as well and might cut you a deal to keep cash flowing into their pockets. Look at bartering for goods and services you need. Take advantage of discounts for prompt payment and don’t pay other invoices until they are due. If cash flow is already a problem, talk to your creditors about payment extensions and don’t wait until the last minute.
  2. Get aggressive with collections (you don’t have to be mean to be aggressive). If a payment is due in 30 days, try and get it paid in 25 or 20. The cash is better in your pocket than theirs. Make sure your payment terms fit your business model and cash flow needs.
  3. Keep your inventory in check. A lot of cash can be tied up in unneeded inventory. Look at what inventory can be reduced, liquidated or sent back. It takes time and money to store products you don’t need right now. Keep enough on hand to keep orders fulfilled but try to switch to a just on time model for greater efficiency and less overhead.
  4. Build up your capital reserves. Become closer to your best customers and see how they are doing. This helps keep competitors at bay, keeps you informed if they can pay or not and puts you in a position to see opportunities. Set up calls and video conferences with as many customers as you can so you can win back customers who are unhappy and sell more to the ones who already love your services. Get as many long-term contracts as you are able and offer early payment discounts to get the money in the door sooner.
  5. Take a good long look at any capital spending. Delay long term projects and high-ticket items until the economic climate shifts. Tying up your resources now could spell our doom.
  6. Maintain a good relationship with your bank. Keep them informed of how you are doing. Banks like knowing where things stand so they can prepare. During economic times it isn’t advisable to get more credit. Increasing your debt load can put an undue burden on your business.
  7. Eliminate nonessential expenses as much as possible. Before spending any money ask if it is really needed. Do the same with your personal budget. Keep it simple and inexpensive.
  8. Try and reduce the cost of rented space. If you have too much room consider subletting the part that you don’t need at the moment. This reduces overhead and generates a little income as well as potentially helping another business out that needs space. Extra space that you rent takes away from your bottom line.
  9. Now is the time to reevaluate staffing, but don’t skimp. Service quality can suffer and your competition could earn business away from you. You may even consider hiring new sales staff during this time. If you are smart you can be aggressive in going after new business and expand while others contract. If you absolutely have to cut staffing do it early and cut deep. If you cut once then have to cut again (or suggest you may have to) then your staff will be worried about their job and not about doing their job. Put your company on stable footing so your employees aren’t worried and can concentrate on getting you more business.
  10. Concentrate on customer service to entice your current customers to spend more with you. As your customers buying power and interest in spending decrease, your customer service should increase to keep them coming back. Customer service is primarily viewed as a time issue by customers. Waiting time to get service, delivery time and how long it takes to help them all play a part in how they perceive they have been treated. People will abandon purchases if they believe the time it took to get help or get a delivery was unreasonably long. Look at your system and eliminate flaws that create time delays.
  11. A related issue is training. Sometimes the slow down is the perfect time to conduct training. Costs go down and there is more time between money-generating activities. Look at what skills will give you the advantage during the downturn and get the proper training for your staff.
  12. Make policy decisions alongside your employees. They are impacted by this downturn as well an being involved not only gives them ownership, it gives you a large pool of knowledge to draw from. “None of us is as smart as all of us” -Ken Blanchard. If workforce reductions are needed they can help figure out how to reduce hours and increase efficiency without having to go through the pain of layoffs. Meet with staff regularly to talk about how to reduce cost, increase production and get through this lean time. When times get tough, get the team together and put your collective minds to work.
  13. When a financial crisis hits most businesses decrease their advertising spend and that can be a mistake. Studies have shown that keeping the same advertising budget or even increasing your budget during a downturn will get your company in a position to outsell your competition. Good marketers can boost sales numbers and market share even when your industry is in decline. Usually, they concentrate on short term tactics like promotions and sales and using marketing targeted at the uneasy situation.

Here are some key guidelines to marketing during a downturn:

  • Keep track of your competitor’s advertising. When they cut back may be the time to increase and get a bigger market share.
  • Don’t use gimmicky advertising. Use your benefits and advantages to drive your advertising. Clear solid statements rather than appealing to emotions.
  • Direct-response advertising is important. Simple and clear language with impactful copy and a crystal-clear call to action. The other advantage of direct-response is you will see the results (or not see them) quickly.
  • Try to avoid regular looking ads. Position your ads as important messages offering them great value.
  • Present value and dependability. In a downturn, people want the most bang for their buck. Avoid clichés by showing the value rather than telling about the value.
  • Perception is key in a downturn. If people think things are bad financially, they will act like things are bad. Present your product or service as a smart investment.

Be ready to pivot and take advantage of the economic opportunities presented to you and your business will survive the economic crisis just fine. Keep your eye on the bottom line but not to the detriment of growth activities. Take advantage of your competition’s missteps and bring your whole team along with you. Together you can succeed, if you do it alone you won’t. Today’s difficulty is tomorrow’s triumph.

If you need help or guidance putting together your survival strategy I am just a phone call or message away. (435)554-8209 Jason@Jasonmporter.com

Online Marketing Strategy – Is Yours Ready?

I am seeing a lot of people who relied on in-person marketing starting to panic as social interactions decline. So now is the time to take a look at your online marketing strategy, are you ready to go digital? I feel a lot of products are better sold in person (including mine) but if you don’t have that chance you better have a solid backup plan until things settle back into normal. So quit panicking and strategize.Online Marketing Strategy - Is Yours Ready_

Content Marketing

It’s a long game but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now since you can still get short term results. Content Marketing is about providing value to people and showing you are worthy of their trust (and business). I still am waiting for an industry that shouldn’t be doing Content Marketing on some level. A lot of the things on this list are part of an overall Content Marketing strategy but could be used alone as well. If you are not doing Content Marketing you really should ask yourself “why”? If the reason is not extremely compelling, you should get started.

Email Marketing

If you are in business and you aren’t collecting emails you are doing it wrong. Email marketing can bring big returns if you do it right. No need to overwhelm your audience with spam, have good information or timely and valuable deals and you will maintain a loyal following. Be consistent on when you send out emails, keep it relevant to the interests of your audience.

Social Media

If done right social media posts can bring a big return. Lead with your offer or your value proposition. Make the post valuable and not just another generic “buy me” ad. It is also a great place to spread your Content Marketing if you have that plan in place. Join groups and interact rather than just advertise (though some groups that is all they are for, ads). Keep your business page active, engaging and useful. Make sure the social media platform you are on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) matches your target demographic.

Paid Ads

It’s just a fact that every platform is trying to get you to pay them to put your ads in front of people. The only way around this is Content Marketing, but it isn’t all bad. The reason people pay to put ads out is that it works. They wouldn’t be able to sell ad space if no one clicked through and bought products. The good news is you can spend just a little money to find out if it is right for you. If you don’t have a strong marketing strategy I would recommend getting in touch with a professional first because it is easy to waste money on paid marketing and get nothing in return. Start with less expensive platforms and move on to the more expensive ones once you learn how the whole system works and you have a value proposition that pulls in sales.

SEO

Probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of online marketing. Basically, your SEO determines how close to the top of the search results you are. It takes in a lot of factors and is almost constantly shifting. There are some basics you can do to increase your SEO like having robust content on your page, a relevant URL, and a fast and mobile-friendly page. You might have to bring in an expert on this one but looking up SEO essentials articles will give you some other ideas you can use to bring your ranking up.

Blogging

The cornerstone of Content Marketing, a blog is so much more than just a place to put down thoughts. It can be the centerpiece of your online efforts. A well written 1200 word article produces at least 7 pieces of content for your other platforms. If an article you write trends higher and gets more engagement then that subject might be your next idea for your value proposition ads. Besides bringing in leads on its own, a blog makes the rest of your online marketing better and easier to maintain.

Tactics

Beyond strategy, there are hundreds of online tactics to increase readership, engagement and online sales. Discounts, contests, auctions, live events are all examples of ways to get more eyes on your products and services and get more selling done. Watch for future articles on tactics to use in the online world.

If you need help with any of this then give me a call or send a message. I have over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing and am an expert on Content Marketing and maintaining an online presence. Let’s craft your online strategy while everyone else is still figuring out what to do about the shifting sales landscape.

Jason@Jasonmporter.com (435) 554-8209

Is Your Content Marketing On Track For 2020?

We are almost through the first quarter of 2020 so you should have enough information to know if you are on track for hitting your goals this year. If Content Marketing is still in your strategy (and it should be) then take a look at this infographic for a little help.

Remember, one long-form blog post can generate 7 different pieces of content so it is an efficient use of time. Longer blogs also convert better and give your potential clients the reassurance that you are the authority in your field they want to work with. Aim for a couple long-form blog posts a month for maximum impact (or more if you can afford it).

If you need help formulating your Content Marketing strategy feel free to reach out.

Jason@jasonmporter.com
Is Your Content Marketing Plan on Track for 2017_

How to Market Your Business with Zero Budget

How to Market Your Business With Zero BudgetLet’s talk about how to market your business on little or no budget. One truth I have found in marketing is that when you spend less money you must spend more time, it’s a tradeoff. It is truly astonishing how many ways there are to market without spending money if you are willing to spend the time. When you feel you shouldn’t spend money on marketing your business ask yourself what your own time is worth. Depending on how valuable your time is it might be more expensive in the long run not to hire someone. Of course, you can learn to do it all yourself, just make sure that’s the best thing for your business.

So how do you market without a budget? The answer is by simply spending time on your marketing. The less money you spend on marketing the more time you will have to spend on getting your message out there. For example, Content Marketing is a great method for establishing your brand voice, gaining credibility and getting your message out to your target audience. Personally, networking has done the most for my business in terms of time spent to dollars earned. Each industry is different, but I am of the opinion you can’t go wrong with networking as you explore the methods that work best for you.

When some businesses say they want free marketing it means they want someone else to do it for free. They just need to remember that everyone’s time is valuable and in general, people do not like working for free. One method to reduce your marketing spending is to consider a trade, consider what you can do for them. If you find a way to compensate others even when you are cash-strapped, you will find people are more willing to help you. Doing it yourself is the intent of this article on marketing without a budget but if you can get help, go for it.

So, what methods do I recommend to market on zero budget?

Email Marketing

According to Imaginepub, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. No matter what business you are in you should always be building your email marketing list. You can have a sign-up list at the front counter or use gated content to build your list, but you should always be generating more names for your email campaigns. Email marketing has one of the Highest ROI and conversion rates, in fact for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.  Use a free email service to get you started and upgrade when the email list becomes profitable. To keep people subscribed make sure your email campaigns provide value. People leave lists that don’t provide them something they feel is valuable to them.

Blogging

Blogging is the cornerstone of Content Marketing. Research conducted by Demand Gen Report in 2016 found 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. HubSpot found that marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not so the number tell us it is worth the investment in time if used right. There are many blogging sites you can use for free and others that have a reasonable fee structure. Make sure you take a look at the user agreements regarding monetizing your blog if that is a direction you eventually want to go. If you create your own unique content and publish it yourself, you won’t have to spend a dime unless you want a specific domain or program features for your blog. Couple that with a program to create your own graphics and it makes it easier to brand your business online in a uniform way.

Social Media

Using social media platforms to reach your potential audience can be cost-effective and powerful. Sprout Social found that 80% of social marketers said that their key strategy is to increase engagement across social channels. You don’t have to buy paid ads to talk directly to your audience you just need to speak about things they want to hear. The same company found that 73% of consumers want to see posts about discounts and sales, 60% want to see posts that showcase new products and services and 59% want to see posts that teach something. Between preexisting groups and growing your own following, there are many channels to get the word out about your business. Use only the Social Media channels that make sense for your business and the ones your target audience uses. Don’t waste time on Social Media Channels that don’t make sense. Using a graphics program will also help gain more exposure as visual content does well on all social media platforms.

Networking

The number one way to get the word out about your business is Networking. Forbes conducted a survey and found around 9 in 10 people claiming that small meetings are their favorite communication method. Networking reaches fewer people but has the potential to create a richer client list and more impact than any other method. The biggest impact is that the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%. No social network or online ad has a close rate anywhere near that high. Also, if you network properly you aren’t just finding new clients by yourself, but you are creating an army of advocates who will feed you warm leads and more business. The most powerful part of networking as a marketing tool is that people buy from people they trust and networking builds trust.

 

Conclusion

You may want to spend zero dollars and do all the marketing yourself, but it could be worth bringing in outside help. Regardless of which direction, or combination of directions, you go you now have more of an idea of what is possible with a little time and determination. Stuart labs found that 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search so marketing is more important than ever in the modern world. Make sure you have a plan and know which parts you are willing to do yourself.

Small Business Marketing With No Budget

5 Things Marketers Can Learn From Magicians

It’s amazing how many things Magicians and Marketers have in common. They both need to get their audiences full attention and usually have a very small window to do so. Missing that golden window can cost them dearly so they develop techniques to draw in a crowd and keep them paying attention. Because of these similarities, they can both can teach the other new and different ways to hone their craft. Here are a few ideas on what Marketers can learn from Magicians.

Look at the End Result, Then Figure Out How to Get There.

Professional magicians start with the end in mind. They look at what the desired outcome is and what the restrictions and working conditions they will have to deal with are before they set up a plan. This planning stage can take up the bulk of the time. There may be some trial and testing, but planning is the most essential part of it. Look at the end result you want, list the pros and cons of each method to get there, find a way to make it happen that fits the parameters.

Think Outside the Box.

I hear this phrase a lot but what does it really mean? For both the magician and the marketer I believe it means to explore new ways to get to your goal despite the limitations. Placing limits on your resources inspires creativity and outside the box thinking. People get stuck thinking about what they can’t do or what resources they don’t have and forget to look at what they do have. For example, if you have no money find ways to counteract that. Propose a trade. Do it yourself.  Collaborate with someone who can help with the project. There is almost always a way around your limitations if you put enough time into figuring it out.

“Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” Teller

Focus on the Feelings You Want to Create.

As it’s been said, people don’t remember what you do they remember how they feel. Use this emotional memory to make a real connection with your audience. Magicians exploit this human tendency in many ways, through script, audience participation, music, or a host of other methods. Use your marketing to bring out emotions whenever you are able, through music, pictures, well-written copy, or any other method you can come up with. Keep the message consistent as you evoke the emotions, going for what your core message is trying to be and getting people to feel it rather than think it.

“Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.” Teller

 

Learn the Basics, Then Combine Them to Fit Your Style.

Magicians have certain move the must learn even if they find better ways to do the magic later. There is no getting around the grind of learning the basics in magic or in marketing. Take classes, watch videos, read blogs, but most of all, learn! As you can produce consistent results you can start to adapt the basics to fit your style and ultimately the style of your brand. Hard hitting and journalistic or lighthearted and fun? They both have their core in the fundamentals. Don’t neglect the basics once you have them figured out. Almost every marketing campaign that fails can trace the bad results to ignoring the basics.

“You have to be creative. It’s the basics. You can’t be Picasso unless you know how to draw a real face; then you can turn it upside down.” Diane English

Clip the Script.

This one is easy. Don’t say 25 words when 5 will do. Even in long form blog or video content make sure each sentence adds to the whole and there are no fillers. The best magicians in the world make sure every word is in the show for a specific impact it has on the audience. The same is true for the best marketers. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point for maximum impact.

“Most of the scripts performed needed a great deal of editing. Sometimes for grammar and sentence construction but always for length. Too many words! Too many words before something happens and, especially, too many words after the magic has happened.” – Eugene Burger

 

There you have it. Some tips and tricks you can steal from magicians to make your marketing better and create a more lasting impact on your audience. Add in a little showmanship and a surprise and you will have a marketing campaign that is truly magical. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. http://www.MyBusinessAdviser.com

Keeping Tabs on Market Trends

Marketing is always shifting and someone always has the next best thing that will “do away with traditional marketing”. There are new ways to deliver content, new ways that consumers prefer to be marketed to but marketing and the marketing fundamentals never really go away. Keeping up with the latest trends can be exhausting but don’t worry, here are 6 hot trends that actually work. Explore your marketing potential with them.

Marketing - 6 Hottest Marketing Trends to watch.png

Tapping Into the Buying Power of Millennials

There are 86 million Millenials in the United States with a collective buying power of $1.3 Trillion. We all know it’s a market that can’t be ignored but a lot of businesses find out it is a market that isn’t like the previous generations. They have a less collective identity but they still exhibit overall preferences in how they buy and consume goods and services. Here is a quick infographic to help with marketing to the generation that still hasn’t flexed its full market potential.

Marketing - How to Market to Millennials

 

Marketing With No Budget: The Meat! (Part 2)

It is truly astonishing how many ways there are to market without spending money if you are willing to spend some time. Of course, when some businesses say they want free marketing it means they want someone else to do it for free. They just need to remember that everyone’s time is valuable and in general, people do not like working for free. Consider a trade, consider what you can do for them, find a way to compensate others even if you are cash-strapped and you will find people more willing to help you. Doing it yourself is the intent of these articles on marketing without a budget but if you can get help, go for it. Of the methods on this infographic, I like YouTube. It’s the worlds second largest search engine and can find an audience that other platforms can’t match if you do it right.

Marketing - More Small Business Marketing With No Budget

Marketing With No Budget: The Meat!

Let’s get to the meat of it. How do you market without a budget? The simple answer is by spending time on your marketing. The less money you spend the more time you will have to spend on getting your message out there. Content Marketing is a great method for establishing your brand voice, gaining credibility and getting your message out to your target audience. Of all the methods in the Infographic below, I am partial to Networking. It has done the most for my business in terms of time spent to dollars earned. Of course, each industry is different but I am of the opinion you can’t go wrong with networking as you explore the methods that work best for you.

 

Marketing - Small Business Marketing With No Budget

 

Marketing for the Little Business

This week we will be talking about how to market your small business. We will discuss Guerilla Marketing, Traditional Marketing, Content Marketing and how to do it all on little or no budget. One truth I have found in marketing is that when you spend less money you have to spend more time, it’s a tradeoff. When you feel you shouldn’t spend money on marketing your business ask yourself what your own time is worth. It might be more expensive in the long run not to hire someone. Of course, you can learn to do it all yourself, just make sure that’s the best thing for your business.

“Don_t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” - Mike Volpe