No matter how good your business is doing right now, there will come harder times down the road. It is inevitable. There are many types of dangers that will rock the boat. And rather than being blissful about them, and just enjoy the good times, any entrepreneur should have a plan to face ideally any type of crisis that will come to them.
I would say your workers and your customers are the two driving forces of any business. In times of a crisis, for example financial downturn, but other types as well, they should be your immediate concern. The loyal client during a crisis is the ticket to your business salvation. You should be aware even before a crisis hits who are your best customers, try and have a mutually working relationship with them, and try show them the value of collaborating with you. But in tough times, especially during a financial crisis, when you both will be lost likely hit but it, you should augment the relationship with them. A strong partnership, will carry both of you through the crisis. Because there is good communication and understanding of each other’s problems and challenges, you can come with a mutually beneficial solution.
Economic hardship makes everyone more careful with how they spend their money. People still spend money during a financial crisis, especially for essential services, but they will be more careful with their spending. They will postpone any un-necessary purchases, and rather utilize best what they have, maintain and repair what they own already, and will look for discounts and bargains to spend less cash for the products and services they need.
This is an opportunity for you to come forward with discounts and attractive offers, and also to identify the clients that are likely to not pay, or pay with a delay. Remember that during a crisis, your focus should be maintaining your most loyal and solid customers. If that means giving them a discount so they keep coming to you, and thus earning less money, it is still the best choice.
For a customer to be loyal to your brand, your products and services, there must a be an emotional connection to them. This is not built simply by creating customer satisfaction, as important as it is. And this should be built at the start of a crisis, this should be an ongoing process. Customer loyalty is built on the trust they have for your brand, and you should emphasize these things in your communication with them. Identify those who will be the most loyal client during a crisis and focus your communication efforts and also your discount policies on them. They will be the most likely to continue shopping with you. Assure them of the value of your company, the products or services you are offering. They must know that the values that attracted them to your company are still met even during the crisis and after.
Transparency and communication will be the foundation of their trust in your company. The same goes with your employees as well. Identify the key employees who will take your company through your crisis, and focus on their loyalty and dedication. In hard situations, it is almost impossible to focus on everyone, you most likely will have to cut ties with some, but keeping a strong and loyal relationship with your key customers and employees will prove your strongest asset.