Question :
Our suppliers are closed and businesses are uncertain about their future, how can I keep sales up to cover my fixed expenses.

Question submitted 28/03/20 @ 08:37am
Industry: Brand & Marketing
  • Up

    It’s a tricky question given there are so many variables and I don’t know what industry you are in. Some thoughts:
    1. Focus on marketing to existing customers – Direct digital mail, messaging etc.
    2. Review pricing and bundling of products/services – how can you offer more value now and solve new problems customers have
    3. Test low cost, highly targeted campaigns in digital – Facebook, Social… etc.
    4. Take advantage of lower costs in traditional media to promote
    5. Start calling most recent customers to check-in and see if they have needs you can satisfy
    6. Engage in “softer” communications – tips, advise, thoughts. Engage existing customers in conversations.

    Before doing any of that I would:
    1. Lower all fixed expenses immediately – cash is king!
    2. Defer all fixed expenses where you can (rent, payments, etc.)
    3. Lock on what you will have to sell if suppliers aren’t supplying


    1. try to determine which customers are still buying or have needs but they don’t have the cash

    2. provide DIY instructions on how to meet their needs from supplies they may have at hand

    3. provide other IP that may help their circumstance

    4. make your bank account available to accept whatever value they deem possible


    Hi Louise – I’ve checked out your website, watched your video. What a wonderful business ethos you have! Being such a community minded business is a real strength any any time, but especially now. Yours is both a supply and demand question so I’ll try to answer each in turn.
    1. Demand side
    – I would encourage you to connect with your current customers and as both Marc and Andy have said, find out what they’re needing (even if they’re not buying). Listen to them. Record what they say. Ask exploratory questions as to what they might be needing in the future. Call as many customers as you can and listen and record everything. Review overall and see how you can help them, best respond to their needs, be of deep service to them. This matters a huge amount for the long term.
    – Have a think about those industries least affected by lockdown and look at which companies / agencies / govt departments you could approach. You can even ask your current customers who they know in those industries and ask for referrals if so.
    – Ensure the way you approach new customers remains in service, with you having done some thinking as to what they might need at this time. Nothing worse than a non-relevant cold call! Always stay in service.

    Supply side
    Your website shows a wide range of products, which I’m imagining are predominantly sourced offshore. Based on current views as to world wide economy, and the state of our borders, I would encourage you to think about sourcing onshore. You already have a range of eco-friendly, ethically sourced products. Fantastic. How can you build on this to support all the other wonderful small NZ businesses out there? What kind of leadership position could you take to promote and keep in business NZ suppliers? I’d encourage you to go out and see what is available locally. You could get their stories on video too. This would be wonderful marketing for you – far more powerful than flat product ads. Tell stories of how you’re building value in NZ inc.

    Go well Louise, stay true to your values, leverage them and you’ll stay strong.

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