The lockdown situation is in fact temporary, just with the little unknown – until when it will last? But for me, the hardest thing to watch ever, even more challenging than being locked at home for an uncertain period, is to watch some of our clients, small business owners, slowly going under the water. Most of our customers are on an extremely short timeline. Without significant parachute savings, they will have to completely shut down their operations within the next 3 – 4 weeks. Submissions for small business aid to governments are going through the roof in Germany, Switzerland and other countries. Aid promised will only arrive in May-June, if at all.
I am in calls all day long with our customers – those who got hit the worst are in travel/accommodation, automotive industries, restaurants, as well as all kinds of freelancers. Freelancers are especially challenged – mostly possess no savings, nor secure social benefits. I dare to predict this will have the unemployment rate in the US shooting up to 7% (now 3.6%) and in Switzerland up to 3 – 4% (now 2.3%). Some of the businesses, I must admit, would have failed down the road anyway – no product-market fit or being too expensive are the main reasons. But most will stay afloat if they’d taken rational but drastic decisions. It's much harder to do a complete stop and restart the business from scratch, than trying to keep it at just above water and giving it a serious boost later when conditions allow.
In this situation, it's more important than ever to stay rational:
1. Sales – forget about making a profit or being paid fairly for your efforts and time. This is not the time to be picky or to wait for offers to come, keeping prices as high as one month ago. Most people are now stuck inside and would love to improve their homes. For instance, if you’re in the renovation business, your offering of an upgrade for bathrooms at a rock-bottom price would be hard to ignore. Convince your prospective clients by providing concise online content about your extraordinary special deal. Get as many pre-sales as you can: you are now able to take longer delivery times and effort, everyone will understand. All you need is to stay afloat, for a limited, though uncertain, period of time.
2. Plan new products and offers. Start preparing their launch already, today. This challenging time will end and everything will come back to a new normal. If you're ready with your new offering by the time the lockdown in your country is over, you will be sure to win your prospective customers immediately, faster than anyone else in your ecosystem.
3. Loyalty does pay back. Postpone letting go off your staff, to as late as you possibly can. Cut their salaries instead, including yours. If you let your trusted employees go now, they will never come back, knowing that you fired them once to save costs, while still paying yourself a full salary during a time of need.
4. Move to an online business where you can. Almost any physical business can be translated into the online world with some minor or larger adjustments. We at Nanos have a hotline on our website on how to accelerate re-engagement with your lost clients and keep them updated about your recently-opened online business.
Nanos has started with an extraordinary action – we support any drowning business at no cost: we create a simple website or a landing page for you and advertise it across the globe, anywhere you want, and absolutely free of charge. It will take you less than 30 minutes to set your new website up and running, and 24 hours later you can already receive orders from your new clients who are eager to find out that your business exists!