There are a lot of questions right now so how can you adapt your business to ensure you can remain resilient and relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve not included in the list but it’s so important – Tip No.1 is to try to stay calm. This will help you think more clearly and come up with the more imaginative ways to get through this.
1. Review your product range. What is essential and what can you drop? The more rationalised your range, the more efficient you’ll be in production.
2. Speak to your customers, would they be prepared to increase orders on a fewer lines, so you don’t lose out on volume, whilst improving efficiency.
3. Let your customers know your contingency plans. They will prefer to know what’s going on and work with you. What are their pinch points, how can you support them?
4. Speak to your suppliers, understand their contingency plans, how they are being impacted and how much stock are they holding, what plans to they have in place to keep trading effectively?
5. Find new routes to market:
- If you’re not already selling online, DO IT! I know this is easier said than done but could be the difference between continuing to trade and not.
- Offer click and collect to reduce contact with customers
- Talk to your competitors and other producers, work together. If you normally trade at farmers markets or a place of high footfall, you won’t be the only one. Build up relationships with other key suppliers and producers nearby, create a ‘virtual farmers market’ – work out logistics so you have one delivery collated and delivered . Could a local farm shop be the collation point, and then delivery arrange from there?
- Promote the cr*p out of these new routes to market – make sure your customer know you were still there and open for business. You don’t want to lose those customers to someone who did remind them they were available.
6. Provide the option of gift vouchers – this keeps the cash flow coming in at the moment, even if people aren’t able to buy immediately
7. Is your product range what people need right now? Is there an alternative you can provide? For instance in small quantities, a cheaper option, or using different ingredients if you are having trouble sourcing your normal raw materials?
8. If you are a producer using perishable raw materials, speak to the local growers and suppliers, are they having problems with moving stock? Can you utilise their stock, to either make your current range, or something different – name it ‘we helped small business’ chutney’ or something!!!
9. Can you freeze stock or ingredients to reduce waste. Is offsite storage an option for you for a short period of time until you can get back to ‘normal’
10. Reduce costs where possible – raw materials, packaging labour and distribution all cost, review your ordering quantities accordingly, it may be better to pay a little more per unit for a raw material and buy less to support an immediate cash flow situation, and potentially a reduction in sales.
11. Question everything… if it’s causing you problems in production, ask yourself, why are you doing it?
12. Above all stay safe and healthy. Your business can’t run without you so you need to be on it! When this is all over you will hopefully come out stronger, and potentially of found new ways to work – this could create a new ‘normal’ for you.
If you want to chat through any of these, or get our heads together to come up with new ideas, please let me know. Please visit www.cj-consultancy.com where you can book a 30 minute call on my website, so you can schedule a time convenient to you.