COVID-19 Survival Kit For Entrepreneurs, By Bukonla Adebakin

RED | For Africa COO Bukonla Adebakin shares some strategies from survival kit at RED | For Africa which si focused for entrepreneurs.

Four themes from experts jumped out:

  • Conserve and lengthen your cash runway as much as possible
  • Try to retain your team and prepare for recovery beyond the crisis
  • Maintain extremely strategic spending choices
  • Be of service to and invest in the communities you serve

But what can entrepreneurs do in this time of crisis and uncertainty? Many Entrepreneurs in the region have had to make budget cuts across all lines of business, so I decided to share some of the strategies from our survival kit at RED | For Africa and The Future Project, which is essentially focused on entrepreneurs.

In this survival kit are strategies that entrepreneurs can employ:

  • Do a stakeholder sense check: You’re probably on this already, but if not, talk to all your stakeholders involved with communications and decision making as soon as you can. Garnering their collective viewpoints will ensure you have everyone’s input from the start, and it will help shape your new strategy and make next steps easier.
  • Define objectives and strategy: Your objective may be survival right now. Or it could be looking at attracting a new audience. Either way, think strategically about opportunities that can make a difference, and align PR and communications to it, but whatever you do you need to ask yourself: what do you need to do right now? And what will you do when this is over? Because it will be at some point.
  • Re-evaluate your plans: The business plan you had last month, or even last week, is now defunct. Relook at all your plans now, get a new one in place, and keep refining it as often as you can. Things are changing all the time and you need to make sure you’re adapting in all areas of marcomms.
  • Be human: Your overall positioning and tone of voice should be one of safety, empathy, all delivered in a human way. Soften language, banish corporate jargon, and ensure sensitivity. Now more than ever, your audience wants to see and hear from human beings.
  • Showcase strong leadership: You need to show this now more than ever. Ensure clarity, empathy, and strength via all communications. Have you spoken to all your clients and re-assured them? Are you checking in daily with team members working remotely? Could you look at some video content to convey your message in a more human way to inspire confidence with your stakeholders?
  • Preparation is key: Ensure you have statements prepared for all possible scenarios you can think of. Have you prepared for an employee contracting COVID-19 and it escalating to the media? Have you got social media Q&A for customer concerns on hygiene? Handling this correctly is vital. This is where brand trust can be won and lost in an instant.
  • Keep communicating regularly: Don’t go quiet. Even if your business has been impacted, keep talking. Government directives are changing daily, and you have a duty of care to reassure people that you’re complying with them and will keep them updated as things develop. Keep talking and listening to your audience and customer base, the beauty of social media is that you can have a two-way conversation.
  • Building creative content: A content-led approach is a great strategy for your marcomms right now, and it can be very cost effective — all you really need is a decent smartphone and internet access. Remember this isn’t a time to benefit, it’s a time to show you care – e.g. if you’re a management consultant, could you release some content on how organizations should be temporarily re-structuring their businesses, or give some practical tips on working from home and keeping employees motivated? Get creative, but in an empathetic and authentic way.
  • Give back: We all need to help each other get through this, so what can your business do to make a difference? Can it donate money to charity? Can you help with the distance learning movement? If you make a positive impact right now, you will generate brand affinity, and people will remember it. Whatever you do, please make sure it’s within legal guidelines.
  • Stress on measurement and analysis: This is still fundamental to ensuring what you’re doing is working in the right way. Yes, the quantitative metrics are still important, but more important are the qualitative ones, bearing in mind it’s all about humanisation of our activity right now. Looking at the comments on social media posts and getting feedback from stakeholders will ensure that you stay on track.

Stay safe, stay strong, and remember, this too shall pass.

Reference: Entrepreneur | http://www.rachaelburgess.com | https://www.smartcompany.com.au/

 

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