The most important thing to know in this economy is two-fold, “Who is my customer?” and “Why do they buy from me?”
I know these are fundamental questions in any business, but the key is, things have changed. The pat answers that were true in March 2020 are now likely to have changed. And the changes will become more evident as we restart the economy.
Let’s use a restaurant as an example. The primary income for a restaurant is table service. But what has your primary customer been doing during the shutdown? How has this affected their business?
Likely options are an increase in meals cooked at home or meal delivery services. I know there are other factors, but let’s just use these two to keep this email short and straightforward. As the owner, it is important not only to know what but why. Why they did something foretells what they will do again or next.
Meals cooked at home. Perhaps the first reason they cooked was that your business was closed. But other factors might be changes to their economic situation (e.g., job loss, reduction in pay), an increase in availability from working at home or a relaxed schedule, or the family came to appreciate the luxuries of a home-cooked meal and comfortable time eating together. Online ordering and delivery from local markets, or meal delivery plans, offer conveniences that may make cooking at home more attractive.
Meal delivery services. Nothing is more straightforward than ordering online or placing a call and the meal showing up at your doorstep. Often, prices are higher even before the delivery fee, and it lacks the restaurant’s atmosphere and service. Deliveries from some restaurants are not packaged well, so what arrives is a mess. Delivery services also encourage me to try different restaurants and make it very easy to do so by advertising restaurants I didn’t know existed.
The key is knowing what your customers are doing and how it is changing their thinking and behavior. The next time your customer orders, will they order from you? Will it be every order, or have they had an experience that will cause them to try a different supplier? What have they experienced, or been told, that causes your customer to try them? Or what have they not received from you?
The same information can put you on the offensive. What can you offer a prospect that they are not getting from their current supplier? The answer could take some digging as it might be something they didn’t know they could get, or even wanted. How are you staying top of mind with your prospects, and what can you offer them to get them to try you once?
These same questions are essential for you, no matter your business. In recovery, the economy will start by getting back to how it was, but it will quickly move to its new normal.
Get ready for the new normal. Sight your business to things are headed, not where they were.
And if you would like help forming your strategy and plan, contact me here.
“Innovation needs to be part of your culture.
Customers are transforming faster than we are,
and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.”
– Ian Schafer