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Building business resilience in a climate of fear 

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere any time soon. There, I said it. But instead of sitting tight and waiting to see what happens, 2022 can be seen as an opportunity to take more action than ever before, and move forward. 

Businesses have been in an uncomfortable state of business limbo for two years and need to learn to live alongside the pandemic and all of its hurdles, rather than waiting for them to fall.

The very worst thing a company can do is to buckle under the weight of fear or wait for something to change. Leaders who are sitting quietly in a corner waiting for this thing to blow overrun the risk of not having a business to go back to at all, or what is left of the business no longer being useful to its former custom. 

There will be businesses that are literally unable to sell in their traditional form, of course; travel agents, an events business, or one of the many other businesses that have been forced to close their doors. But the question I am most often asked is: can I sell right now or not? The answer is always yes, no matter what sector your business is in. 

Don’t hide, adapt

Step one is to stop shrinking in fear, or waiting to see what happens. Once you’ve turned off the news and calmed down enough to think, here’s what you need to do: adapt. You need to look at ways that you can modify your business model and your service and product offering to be in line with what is going to work right now.

Obviously, if you’re selling a 12 month contract or a huge investment, this is probably not going to be the best time to be selling that solution. If you’re in the restaurant game, you’re not going to be able to operate business as usual. 

So how do you adapt? If you’re a restaurant business that’s used to having 200 heads a night visit your restaurant, you need to let go of that vision. Instead, focus on what you do have.

You have a kitchen, you have ingredients, and you have your staff. You could sell lunch packs for takeaway, you could boost your online delivery capacity, you could start catering to all those people who are currently in isolation with little access to the outside world, or you could even close your doors completely and operate as a trending ‘Ghost Kitchen’ until your footfall is looking healthier. 

Embrace change

Things need to change, and those changes aren’t just confined to your business model. You’ll need to adapt your ads, your offers, your landing pages, and all of the processes attached to that revenue creation, including how you approach people and how you follow up with them. Your email nurturing sequences need to change. The language and the messaging that you’re putting into your marketplace needs to change. 

Dig deep into your website and see everything with a fresh pair of eyes. Does your contact form need updating? What about your About Us page? Do you need to create a new section on your FAQ page? And, what are your competitors up to? 

Take the time to ensure that everything your potential lead will see is aligned with the circumstances they’re currently facing. If just one sentence is slightly off, you’re risking turning that potential sale away immediately. Unless you’re going out into the marketplace with vigour and tact, your business might struggle in these new times. 

Don’t cut the oxygen

During times of uncertainty, the typical response is to contract and go into survival mode, harbouring everything you have like an anxious business squirrel. But when businesses do this, they’re running the risk of cutting out the things that might actually be benefiting them. 

Instead of cutting out only the unnecessary extras such as their office space or their team lunches, they start amputating the things that could actually bring oxygen into their business. They start demolishing the sales teams, the marketing teams: the things that actually serve to bring cold, hard cash into the company. Cash is more valuable to your business right now than oxygen. 

The organism that is your business needs oxygen to survive, and that oxygen is new customers, new leads and new revenue streams. You need your sales and marketing teams to make that happen. 

Your sole focus should be on putting grease on the wheels to keep your engine moving through these difficult times. That’s the only way to ensure that when your business does bounce back, it’ll do so stronger than ever. If you absolutely have to make cuts, ensure that it is not to areas of the business that generate revenue. 

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Sabri Suby

Sabri Suby

Sabri Suby is the founder and head of growth at Australia’s fastest-growing full-service digital marketing agency King Kong, and author of international bestseller Sell Like Crazy. King Kong is the 17th fastest-growing company in Australia across all industries and has been named the fastest-growing digital marketing agency in the country by the AFR and Deloitte.

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