How to evolve your business model as the times change
Are you ready to meet the needs of new customers?
We’ve been working our way through uncertainty for a few months now, and I have to say, small business owners are resilient.
In a time of stress and sadness we took a turn, we adjusted and I hope that everyone, their families and their small businesses are well.
I’ve written a lot about managing your small business during the pandemic, from “Driving Your Small Business Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis” to “Building a Crisis Response Landing Page” on our website. .
Now, we are focused on the next step: emerging from the coronavirus pandemic not just in one piece, but as successful entrepreneurs who have learned some valuable lessons.
As we move forward, it is obvious that some things will change forever. In a recent poll, 81% of Canadians agreed that the crisis will create a new normal and have a lasting impact on society.
So as my province of British Columbia, Canada begins to reopen businesses, it’s time to take a look at your marketing and assess whether it still makes sense to your target audience.
How to define the needs of your customers
Let’s go back – it dates back to 1943, when Abraham Maslow proposed his hierarchy of needs. According to his theory, people are motivated to meet basic requirements (food, shelter) before moving on to more advanced ones (intimate relationships, sense of accomplishment).
During the coronavirus crisis, people focused more closely on basic needs, like staying safe from COVID-19 and shopping. These different needs may also have led them to buy things they wouldn’t normally buy, like a lot of hand sanitizer or takeout several times a week.
Some of the customer behaviors we saw during the pandemic may be here to stay, such as:
- Continue to wear masks in crowded areas and wash your hands more frequently
- Think more carefully before buying “wishes”
- Work / study from home most of the time
- Choose the most empathetic and conscious brands
So ask yourself: how have your customers’ needs changed during this time? What do they expect from you?
How to evolve your business model to meet the needs of new customers
Just because we are slowly returning to a “new normal” does not mean that everyone is going to get on airplanes and head to big parties. Especially for those who have been personally affected by COVID-19, it will be difficult to reintegrate back into society, so to speak.
Here are some ways you might have to change to meet the needs of new customers:
1. Maintain / increase communication around health and safety measures.
A large part of the dynamics of your business model will include how you communicate with your customers.
For example, salons and spas have been closed for months, and even once they reopen, consumers want to know what steps they are taking to protect their health.
Some clients will not feel comfortable walking into a salon unless they know there are certain health measures in place.
Don’t be too quick to remove your COVID-19 landing page. or health and safety messages from your website or the Google My Business listing; Instead, look to update the copy with new information to reassure your customers.
2. Address new patterns.
If you’ve started offering heat and serve meals, curbside pick-up, or telemedicine sessions to clients, they may look forward to you in the future.
This can be a good opportunity to take a closer look at what worked and develop your business model accordingly.
If you don’t sell essential services, you may need to change your marketing strategy to address different spending behaviors. Many people have been hit hard financially and will not have as much disposable income.
Others will have gotten used to a new way of doing things. Similarly, to what I mentioned in # 1, COVID-19 has changed the way people consume certain services.
For example, a school may have to integrate more online learning into its model to attract students who are now used to and more comfortable with totally remote classes.
Many organizations are reconsidering face-to-face conferences and other events. Will employees want to travel to large convention centers to network with other attendees? Or will they also be happy with a virtual conference next year?
READ: “3 Ecommerce Challenges and Solutions for Tough Times” on our website:
There is no doubt that this pandemic has led to an increase in Internet traffic as people work, socialize and entertain themselves online. But an increase in Internet use does not necessarily translate into increased sales for your small business.
Many consumers hesitate to buy, either because they are not sure when they will be able to use the service you sell, or because they have been laid off or have had their hours reduced.
This is why I share 3 Ecommerce Challenges and Solutions to help you stay and even grow as an entrepreneur during this crisis.
How can you better meet the needs of new customers?
No matter how your business model evolves, it is important to remember that meeting the needs of your customers is an ongoing process. Whether it’s two weeks after the pandemic or two years, always:
Listen, listen, listen. From monitoring your customer reviews to submitting a questionnaire, it has never been more important to take your customers’ feelings into account.
Listening on social media can also be a great way to “check the pulse” of how your customers are engaging with your brand and content. Then use what you’ve learned to modify your marketing strategy in the future.
Always be attractive. I hope you have been doing this during the pandemic, but it is also critical after COVID-19. People will continue to spend a lot of time at home in the near future, so create uplifting, inspirational, and / or informative content for your website, social media accounts, paid ads, and newsletters.
Pay attention to changing trends in your industry and customer behavior to guide your content strategy.
Here’s an example: During the pandemic, DIY was great. -from home reindeer to crafts. Nielsen reported that yeast sales increased nearly 650% from the previous year as homebound people braced for a storm.
So think about how your customers might be using your products or services and provide them with good content, whether it’s tips for baking bread or getting out of debt.
No matter what your company sells, communication and peace of mind with your customers remains paramount. And remember: your customers can tell the difference between a sales gimmick and authenticity, so be sure to communicate value at all times.
So what comes after the crisis? Nobody knows it for sure. But by changing your business model as needed now, you’ll be ready for whatever the future holds!