In last week’s Webinar on Going Radically Virtual, I did a poll to measure what the participants were doing in their marketing during the pandemic.
The results were telling:
1. Are you reaching out each week and getting meetings with past clients and business associates?
Yes – 62%
No – 38%
2. Are you sending out email newsletters or other information by email to those on your list?
Yes – 50%
No – 50%
3. Are you developing new materials, reports, programs, models, or services?
Yes – 42%
No – 58%
4. Have you been able to generate new business/clients in the past two months?
Yes – 40%
No – 60%
5. How many months can your business hold on before you are in trouble financially?
More than a year – 58%
Up to 9 months – 6%
Up to 6 months – 12%
Up to 3 months – 13%
Up to 1 month – 12%
Although I’m not a statistician, these poll results are enough to tell me that self-employed professionals are in trouble. Forty-two percent don’t have enough money in reserve to last them a year.
And a large percent of them are not taking proactive action to be in touch with their business network, let alone generate new business.
Score yourself on the poll and find out how you’re doing compared to others. Are you doing OK, or are you also in trouble?
In a short video I watched last week, Simon Sinek, the author of “Start With Why,” said the following:
“These are not unprecedented times. There are many cases where change or something unexpected has put many companies out of business and made other companies come out stronger and reinvent themselves.”
Look at all the game-changing business developments in the past twenty years:
The Internet, Amazon, Streaming videos, Starbucks, Uber, and Social Media of all kinds.
Shopping, entertainment, news, restaurants, and transportation have all been turned upside down.
Most of these have crept up slowly. I remember when Amazon was a feisty upstart selling books and CDs. Now it’s the single largest retailer on the planet.
But the pandemic hit us all in one fell swoop. The economy has plummeted, and a record 26 million people have filed for unemployment – just 6 weeks into the lockdown.
Companies and corporations are cutting back dramatically on services; they just don’t need them right now.
Nevertheless, self-employed professionals have an advantage. We are small and nimble, able to quickly make decisions and take action.
And what decisions and actions should we be making and taking?
1. We need to be reaching out by email and phone to be in touch with current, past, and prospective clients. And not in a half-hearted way, either. We need to have extreme persistence to discover what is needed right now and how we can be of service. This approach alone has been the single most effective marketing strategy my clients have ever implemented.
2. We need to be providing ideas, insights, resources, and connections to our network. That is, we need to be of value, more value than we ever have before. If you’re not providing real value, how will you get attention and interest from those who can hire you? You could start by doing a survey or getting a few clients together for a virtual brainstorming session.
3. We need to be innovating and creating new ways of helping our clients. Sure, in many cases, your already existing services are what your clients need right now. But in other cases, you’ll need to re-configure your offerings. The obvious example is delivering all your consulting, coaching, and training virtually. But you may need to make adjustments in the scope and pricing of your offerings as well. Talk to your clients and prospects to understand what is wanted and needed right now.
4. We all need to fill our heads with creative, outside-the-box ideas. This is challenging, of course, because as humans, we tend to seek the familiar and the comfortable. Well, it’s time to jump into the unfamiliar and uncomfortable! What worked for your business a couple of months ago isn’t working now.
You might start with these searches on Google: “coronavirus innovation business,” and “creative marketing ideas during the pandemic.” And remember, you don’t need a hundred good ideas. Just a few will get you started. Keep searching until the light bulb turns on.
And when do we need to do all of this? We need to start now.
Yes, I know this is tough, but what’s the alternative? A government bailout? Those $1,200 checks (if they ever arrive) will cover about one week’s expenses!
No, we need to work overtime to make more connections and come up with new ideas and approaches to generate more business.
Stay safe. Stay Connected.
Please share this article with your self-employed professional friends.