After talking to entrepreneurs over the past two weeks, it seems most businesses are imploding or exploding, depending on how well their business model can adapt to a post-corona virus world. There are five general things you can do now to make your business coronable: survive and thrive in a viral world.
- If you have a physical good, start selling online, leveraging Amazon, Shopify, etc. to make it easier for people to buy what you have. Elite Sweets (https://elitedonut.com/) makes a gluten free, keto-friendly donut that is delicious and good for you. The perfect donut to survive the apocalypse, and available directly online. The small coffee shops that usually stock their product are closed, but no fear, you can still enjoy a guiltless pleasure, delivered to your doorstep. Heck, you can even get a free website from downloading the Leia app (https://heyleia.com/) and their powerful AI will build an ecommerce business for you! Consumers are shifting their buying online, move with them now.
- If you are a service, start figuring out how to position your product for social distancing using online tools. ZenYala (http://zenyala.com/) is a software suite to manage meetings and make them more productive. When Corona hit, the founder, Jacob Bernstein, quickly realized that his software made virtual meetings even more productive, and because it is designed for results and accountability, was a better way to organize workflow for virtual teams than other products like Slack and Microsoft Teams. He quickly pivoted and created a new brand, ExecuMeetings (preview at http://execumeetings.tilda.ws/) and is aggressively selling to companies desperate to keep productivity high in a corona world. Kanthaka (https://mykanthaka.com/ and in your app store as Kanthaka) is a marketplace where individuals can find highly vetted and certified personal trainers and book them to come to their home. When corona hit, they had a surge in bookings as gyms closed; however, as the need to isolate became more obvious, Sylvia Kampshoff, founder and CEO, quickly added an option for trainers to do virtual sessions, and providing free group sessions called “Mommy and Me” for kids and parents to enjoy from home for free, further raising awareness of her brand.
- If you are a local business owner, begin no-contact delivery (drop and go). If you’re blessed to live in the State of Texas, companies like Favor (https://favordelivery.com/), will find and deliver anything to your home. Local businesses can partner with Favor to deliver office supplies, hand sanitizer, and pretty much anything. Consumers can go to favor and ask for anything too, including toilet paper! For those of you who have to suffer living outside of Texas, you will need to hire and locate your own delivery people, or do it yourself. There are some new startups like GoShare (https://www.goshare.co/) that are last-mile delivery on demand and will do no contact delivery. Check who does delivery in your area, and bridge that last mile to the customer!
- Learn to nano-target your customers with mobile ads. People will be spending a lot more time on their phones, so learn how to target your ad spend to effectively reach them. Companies like Datum (https://datumxy.com/) can specifically target individuals who are your customers or fit a very specific customer profile and make sure your ads only appear on their phones. For example, if you were a coffee shop owner, you could have Datum only target persons who visit coffee shops daily and live within a two mile radius of your shop. That highly targeted group would make a great audience to launch your new coffee by bike service, eh? The best part of nano-targeting is it’s FAR less expensive than buying bulk ads on Facebook, etc. The good news is that companies like Datum market across all app platforms, so they save you money and keep you in relevant digital locations for your customer base.
- Get cash. We don’t know how long this will last, so make sure that you tap all your lines of credit, raise new equity, sell assets you don’t need, etc. and please do so now. Get your security deposit back from your landlord with Otso (https://otso.io/otso-for-tenants/). Companies that weather storms are those that have adequate reserves to keep employees and suppliers paid so that your business can keep selling through the worst of times.
So, take a deep breath, you’ve got this. Remember, the best businesses in history were started in recessions/depressions. This is the time that heroes are made.
Good luck out there, and please post any suggestions you have on becoming coranable in our comment section.