Last month, I wrote about how leaders let their true colors shine during tough times. We are navigating circumstances in our personal and professional lives that most of us have never seen before, and may never see again. It is normal, then, to feel uncertain about the future. We are taking one step at a time, learning and making adjustments as we go, and trying to remain positive.
As marketing and business growth experts, my team and I have had numerous conversations, both internally and with our customers, about how to navigate business through circumstances which require rewriting our playbooks. With people facing real issues – family members and friends getting sick, forced shut-downs, the inability to pay bills – business leaders are concerned that it may appear insensitive or opportunistic to market during times like these. Yet putting your business on hold is likely a risk you can’t afford.
Here are 3 tips from our own 5280 Accelerator playbook to help you communicate appropriately and authentically:
1. Revisit Your Mission
When asking yourself how to effectively and genuinely reach your prospects during these times, let your mission be your guide.
Our mission at 5280 Accelerator is to: Bring a process-driven, professional and strategic marketing approach to small businesses, enabling their leaders to focus on growth. Our mission is the foundation upon which we stand – in certain and uncertain times. It reminds us of our purpose, which we have an obligation to fulfill for our clients.
In assessing your mission, ask:
What do you bring to your customers?
What does it enable them to do better?
How do you uniquely serve them?
Your mission is what connects you with your customers and is the catalyst for your messaging.
2. Match Your Messaging to Your Mission
This is an ideal time to share your knowledge and find ways to offer your expertise to support others. Your customers may need a completely different range of services from you today than they did a couple of months ago. As you hear your customers’ needs, think about how those concerns may also be affecting your prospects and find new solutions for addressing them.
How can we provide support and encouragement in our messages? Lean on your mission to inform and inspire what you should be communicating.
What tools can we provide to help solve issues our customers are facing today? Make these available to your customers and prospects to help them bridge gaps they face during this time.
How can we communicate most effectively? Consider hosting free Zoom meetings or webinars to provide advice specific to your area of expertise. Field questions, offer suggestions, and provide support. Use this opportunity to help others stay connected and moving forward.
3. Conduct a Here-and-Now SWOT Analysis
You may have assessed your business’ SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) in the past, but – at least for the near-term – we are facing a vastly different business world. Your threats and opportunities have certainly changed, and the current demands on your business have likely uncovered weaknesses and strengths of which you’ve never been aware.
Brainstorm each SWOT element. Bear in mind that strengths and weaknesses are internal factors; opportunities and threats are external.
Make a list of issues.
Prioritize what you need to address most in the current business climate.
Note deadlines and what internal or external expertise you need to get it done.
When times are challenging, we lean into our mission to keep things moving in a positive direction for our customers’ well-being, as well as our own. By focusing on what you do best, and providing support for those who are struggling, you can write your own playbook for success, even in the most uncertain times. If you need help identifying and navigating your next steps, we are here for you.