How to adapt and diversify your business


Four tips to help your business thrive during the COVID-19 crisis - and beyond

Summary

Matt and Chris are reunited (sort of) in today’s lockdown Monkey Monday, and today they’re talking about how businesses can adapt to crises, not only to survive - but to thrive.

Check out their four tips that will help guide your business successfully through this crisis.

  1. How much of your business can you make digital? Can you open an eCommerce store to sell the things you make? Can you provide an online version of your service?
  2. Connect with your tribe. If you have a loyal customer base, connect with them and let them know what you’re doing. Loyal customers will care about supporting brands they love during this time, and will go to great lengths to keep their favourite businesses and suppliers going.
  3. Can you diversify? Maybe your old core offering is no longer viable, but is there something else you can do instead? A strong ‘why’ message can help you out here, because if you know why you do what you do, it’s surprisingly easy to think of new ways to achieve that same goal.
  4. Do something remarkable. Businesses all over the world are stepping up to offer something that really helps - from entertaining bored people at home to providing vital support to frontline key workers. These are the businesses that people will remember favourably when we’re on the other side.

It’s a scary time and things may never be the same again, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept defeat. In today’s world, technology makes all sorts of things possible, and creative thinking can open doors you never knew were there.

Reach out if you need help adapting your business.

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Happy viewing!



Matt: Namaste!

Chris: Namaste.

Matt: And namaste to everybody out there in the real world.

Chris: Hello! How’s it going?

Matt: It’s going great. I’m Matt. And you are…

Chris: I’m Chris.

Matt: This is weird, because normally we sit together and address the audience but now we’re kind of talking to each other with the audience joining in. In a way. I guess.

Chris: Yeah, I suppose so. It feels a bit odd. But it’s good to have you back anyway. Cus I’ve had to do it on my own for a couple of weeks.

Matt: Thanks, yes. You did a great job. Really instrumentally interesting stuff. You should check out our previous ones. Well done for flying solo.

Chris: Thank you very much. Over to you.

Matt: Well, let’s see how we go. Obviously we had some of these Monkey Mondays planned and sorted out, and then we’ve kind of moved them all over here, and we’ve been working on how we can help people now because obviously marketplaces have changed, the way people buy things has changed, and now the big thing is to help companies adapt.

Chris: Yeah, so we’ve got… how many tips have we got? We’ve got four tips.

Matt: Four tips, yeah.

Chris: Yeah, four tips of how to survive in this coronavirus world.

Matt: Ah, you see, survive is the wrong term though, right?

Chris: Ah well…

Matt: Because we’re sort of encouraging people to take this idea of adapting rather than just surviving--

Chris: Okay.

Matt: Because a lot of companies, they’re going to be battening down their hatches, they’re gonna wait and they’re gonna expect this to blow over and then their life’s going to go back to normal. But that kind of approach may be the one that sinks a company, versus those companies who are looking to adapt.

Chris: Yep. So our first tip then…

Matt: So how can you do it? How can you adapt, what can you do? And it’s gonna be loads easier for some companies than others. In fact some companies are probably going to thrive, I guess, in this marketplace. Hand sanitiser companies, for instance, they’re probably going to do pretty well. Whereas people in the entertainments industry are probably going to do less well.

So tip number one. Can you do what you were already doing digitally? Can you sell online?

Chris: Yeah, it doesn’t have to be too crazy, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a digital shop - you can open something quite easily. Just refine what you sell I think, that’s the main thing I would say.

Matt: Yeah, maybe start simple, and people in the service industry, you can do this too. You know. You can maybe look at what your service is and can you digitise it? You know, if you used to do yoga workshops can you bring that same team in via video conferencing or can you sell small training packages online? There are ways of doing it, and ecommerce isn’t as complicated as most people think. Getting a shop set up is not a huge difficulty.

The second thing is can you lean on your tribe? So if you’ve got a good brand, if you’ve built your audience, and you already have people that sing and rave about you, then they’re killer at a time like this, because they’re the people who are gonna want to engage with your brand and you might be able to do things with those guys that you wouldn't necessarily just do in this period of time - you can do it ongoing really. So there are some great products out there, or great platforms out there to help facilitate this. So for instance, if you’re a bar or something, you've maybe got your loyal audience, they can’t come and share that experience anymore with you, but you can get them involved in other ways. Perhaps you can set up a Patreon and give them some unique insights and unique content that they might really care about, or you could set up a Kickstarter - maybe you’ve got some transferable skills in your pub world that you could lean on.

Chris: Yeah, and it’s really interesting that your tribe doesn’t actually have to be that big. You might think that you need to have hundreds of thousands of followers, when actually just people in your local community would be enough to keep you going and actually do something different.

Matt: Yeah, I mean… There's a curry house that I’ve been going to for years and years and years. I love it. Obviously we can’t go and each there but we try and buy from Deliveroo a curry from them at least once a week - even if we don’t really fancy it - because if I can’t, you know, when they reopen maybe, if I can’t get that curry I’m gonna be really sad.

Chris: Well, I’m glad you’re doing something for the community, Matt.

Matt: Well, yeah. But I think you kind of… I think people will really be into saving and looking after and contributing to those companies that they love and care about.

Chris: Tip number three is diversify.

Matt: Yeah, so again, finding those transferable skills could be really key here. If you’ve gone down the journey of understanding your ‘why’ message, this process may be easier than you think. Because you may run - let’s go back to a bar, why not - you might run a bar, but actually the reasons you run a bar could all really be very different. And once you tap into that reason for having your bar, you’ll be able to identify other services you might want to give that same tribe. Or that same audience, who also believe what you believe.

So maybe you have a bar that mostly looks after old people. An old country pub, for instance. All of that audience may come in there to share that space and you’ve got a ‘why’ message there, you wanna give… you wanna stop the loneliness of people who are of a certain age, you give them a place where they can get together. And once you understand that, maybe you can provide other services that could do that sort of thing.

So what transferable skills have you got that could help do the same thing for the same audience?

Chris: Hm, it’s really interesting. And at the minute Rusty Monkey’s sort of doing the same thing. So we believe that everyone should be happy, and we’ve got a bit of space to use our own marketing to run nice poetry competitions and we want to try and make people happy, outside of their work, as well as inside of their work.

Matt: Yeah, and we’ve seen some of our customers doing some really interesting things as well, and how they can use their skillset to produce something else. Some of that brings us into number four really, which is perhaps now is an opportunity to find a means of doing something remarkable.

I think the overriding concern for lots of businesses and organisations is as the economy contracts, and as that potential audience that we can sell our services to becomes smaller - or potentially smaller - there’s probably some important things to understand actually, because there are audiences out there that are actually getting much bigger. So the two obvious audiences at the moment that you might be able to create something for - the first one is almost everybody. These bored, restless people at home, who are trying to stay sane, they’re trying to stay connected, they’re trying to go outdoors, they’re trying to eat well, they’re trying to exercise - they have loads of wants and needs. And actually, many of them do still have disposable income. They’re still ready to kind of pay for things that are gonna bring them some level of happiness. So understanding what’s going on in their minds is a great thing, and finding the things they might want - and do you have something that you can connect with them?

And the second audience really is anything that could contribute towards the fight against the virus. So we’ve seen some companies who have diversified their product quite far to actually provide services to the frontline health service, for instance. We’ve seen people creating products that can actually - creating apps and things like that - that can actually help measure the virus activity and there’s a whole world of app enquiries that are happening for us over here from companies that are now trying to help those health services with their knowledge and their expertise.

So it could be something really abstract too-- I heard on the radio actually - this is an interesting one - I didn’t quite catch the name of the charity but they help train dogs and what they’re looking into is training dogs to help detect if people have coronavirus or not. So this could really help medium and long-term, as borders start opening up again, to help control people who have the virus and isolate them and look after everybody else. So even really kind of things that you wouldn’t expect normally to be able to be contributing to this kind of fight, there could be something there.

So you should explore what you do, explore what you create, what services you have, and try and find where they might slot into that particular market.

Chris: Yeah, and it’s a really interesting time actually, that business is not going to be quite the same when you come out of all this as when we went in. So it is a time to think about stuff and also just take a bit of time out - maybe sit in a hammock like I do - and come up with crazy ideas. That seems to work for me. Maybe you should try it.

Matt: Yeah, so our overriding message is try and think of these ways you can adapt and be prepared for a different world when we do start coming out of this peak. We don’t expect loads of companies and consumers to be operating the same way. It’s all going to be probably a lot more remote working for everybody. Which is great for the environment. So there’s a positive.

Chris: That seems to be it. That’s the end of our list.

Matt: Well, I hope you got some value from that, and stay happy, stay safe, and if you’ve got any questions, fire them over to us.

Chris: Yep, and we’ll see you next week for another Monkey Monday.

Matt: Ciao!

Chris: Ciao!

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