Most business owners have read the survival tips for managing during tough economic times. Those tips can work in a recession. And for some businesses, an economic downturn can be a time of growth. But this time is different. We’re in both economic and health crises. So, what steps should you take for your cannabis business to survive and thrive?
“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the lifeblood of business.” – Sir Richard Branson
Protect and maintain cash flow. Reduce or stretch-out debt. Strengthen your relationships with your bankers, creditors, and customers. Negotiate with suppliers and customers. Reduce or delay capital spending.
“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” – Shigeo Shingo
Become a leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient operation. Review and manage inventories carefully. Consider converting inventory to cash.
“ You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” – Carl Jung
Provide excellent service. Meet customer needs with attentive, timely service. Stay connected to your customers. Be active in the community.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Develop deeper relationships with your customers. Check to see how they are doing during this crisis. Remain close to your customers to create new opportunities (and avoid unpleasant surprises). Consumer buying power or their willingness to spend is lessened during tough economic times. Make it easy for your customers to communicate their needs to you.
“Always be closing.” – Anonymous
Always be closing (NOT the Alec Baldwin “Glengarry Glen Ross” way). Always be closing each step along the way to the final sale… prospecting, communicating, consulting, problem-solving, and so on. Actively seek out new business as part of your plan. Develop marketing and sales strategies to win the competitors’ customers and gain market share.
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford
Don’t cut back on marketing. Maintaining or increasing marketing and advertising investments can boost sales and market share. Re-examine your marketing mix to be sure it’s effective and cost-efficient.
Tailor your message to the current crisis and focus on the benefits and advantages of your product or service. The cannabis business is a health-related industry. And it’s emerging to be an important part of our economy, affecting not only healthcare but also the entire hemp supply chain, “from seed to sale” – farming and agriculture to the finished product. Find ways to include in your marketing how your business is helping support healthcare, your local community and economy, or the environment.
Be sure your marketing is reaching your target audience with enough frequency to deliver results. Use paid advertising, direct marketing, social media, and news media to distribute your message. Be sure your message and communications schedule are integrated and consistent.
Most importantly, be compassionate and sensitive. Most of us are scared and stressed, including your customers, prospects, suppliers, business partners, and staff. This is the time for you and your business be your best.