Blood Money: How to recession-proof your business during the Coronavirus.
In late December of last year dozens and dozens of individuals who visited a live animal market in Wuhan, China were being treated for pneumonia-like symptoms. Two weeks later, a 61-year-old man died from what health authorities called the Coronavirus.
Fast-forward a few months to today, over 500,000 cases of the virus have popped up all across the world and it is now a global pandemic.
Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases, told Joe Rogan and the millions of Americans tuning into The Joe Rogan Experience (thankfully from afar) that it hasn’t even begun…
“This (the Coronavirus) could be at least 10–15 times worse than the worst seasonal flu we’ve ever seen. We conservatively estimate that this will cause 48 million hospitalizations, 96 million cases and over 480,000 deaths to occur over the next 3–7 months.”
I’m not a health expert, so I have absolutely no intention to advise you nor anyone on how to avoid the Coronavirus — a simple Google search could swiftly transport you to countless folks who know a great deal more than myself in this arena.
However, business is a slightly different story.
I run a creative writing shop that works with brands of all shapes and sizes on selling their goods with pretty words.
Like you, I’ve been having to fight like hell to stay sane and avoid freaking the hell out during this time.
The full weight of the situation hit me like a bag of wet bricks late last week while in Chicago.
Practically overnight, my favorite restaurants, bars and coffee shops like Chiya Chai, Longman & Eagle, The Owl and Pilot Brewing began closing their doors to the public.
It felt like a foreshadowing…
The reality of the current situation is that we very well could be entering into a recession (if we haven’t already).
How to recession-proof your business.
Over the next year, businesses we know and love will shut their doors and never open back up again. And for me, as both a freelancer and entrepreneur who runs a small business himself, that’s a kick in the nuts.
I do my best to support small businesses and it’s painful to know some aren’t going to make it out of this alive.
With that said, there is good news. Some of us (scratch that, many of us) can do something to stay afloat…
First and foremost, we must begin cutting costs.
When money feels like it’s growing on trees, it’s easy to splurge on fancy tools and software that cost a small fortune. After all, they can easily be written off as a business expense. But now, as the money stops flowing, these expenses can quickly begin adding up.
Start by taking a peek at Truebill, it’s an app that helps you find and cancel any subscriptions that you have.
Treat this process like thinning out your closet: if you haven’t worn it/used it in 3 months, throw it in the trash-bin (and get your fucking money back).
Additionally, shop the market for cheaper alternatives to the software you are using. Here at SaaS Mule, we have reviewed nearly 18 different email marketing tools. Take a look at them, I can promise you there are cheaper alternatives to whatever you are using.
Lastly, while I don’t want to entertain the thought of firing employees or cutting salaries, that might eventually be something you’re forced to consider. If this becomes a reality for you and your business, I encourage you to keep past employees on as freelancers.
Many times, businesses have this misconception that firing must be something that is black and white. It doesn’t have to be.
Sell something else.
Canlis is an award-winning restaurant in Seattle that sells $135 4-course meals. Now, post coronavirus, they’ve transformed into a drive-thru that sells burgers.
Los Angeles Apparel, the ugly step-brother to American Apparel, announced the other day on Instagram that they’re available to start producing masks and other medical supplies for government agencies. Before recent events, they produced mostly t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies.
There are countless examples of brands that have made a fortune the moment they started selling something else.
Cheetos janitor invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos after putting his own spice recipe on an undusted batch… it went on to become a billion-dollar snack.
Kingsford Charcoal was spun off of Ford Motors when Henry Ford decided to turn the scrap wood in his factories into charcoal.
The bottom line is this…
There are other products and services you can offer the world right now. You just have to look closely.
Business can be busy. And, when business is busy, it’s easy to get hung up in the day to day shit that keeps the starship running but doesn’t necessarily position the brand for massive success down the road.
If your business has slowed some these past couple weeks, stop fretting and use this downtime to begin implementing the projects you’ve been brushing under the rug.
Here are a few examples of projects that might not be “time-sensitive” on a day to day basis but could kick your brand into hyper-speed once this filthy shitty mess is over.
- Write a badass confirmation email like CD Baby’s.
- Craft a brilliant email opt-in page like The Hustle’s.
- Discover a genius advertising opportunity like Bud Light.
- Build a lucrative online retail business like The Sill.
Whether it’s doing away with your logo that’s stuck in the 90s, refreshing your stale brand, building a brand spanking new website, creating an entirely different product or coming up with a marketing strategy that’ll suck in customers like a giant octopus vacuum monster… it’s important to remember this strange period should be treated like an opportunity to go deeper with your business.
There have been 17 recessions throughout history here in the United States and we’ve survived every single one.
If we do enter a recession, it will do you tremendous good that we will get through this with but a few scrapes, bruises and bloodied up noses.
By Cole Schafer.
Like what you read? Let’s play Grab SaaS next week.