In addition to being a Marketing Consultant I  have a travel company; Atlas Discovery Holidays, organising walking tours both in Europe and the UK. Of course now it is on hold, so I totally understand how many of you feel with cancelled plans, dealing with concerned Customers whilst trying to work with suppliers and service providers. I should currently be in Spain trekking in the sunshine mountains, but as I can’t I decided rather than sulk, though I must admit I did for a few days, I would focus on this business and see if I could help others in a similar situation.

Often when travelling we use economy airlines and when we leave to get our separate Ryan Air seats we all shout “See you on the other side”. We leave the UK often in the dark early hours or on a cloudy day and the flight feels long and a bit dull but as we near the end of the journey we see the sun in the sky. The Captain announces to take our seats and fasten our seat belts for landing and then off the plane we descend taking in the sunshine and heat of our destination. We gather excitedly to head off for our planned tour. I’ve got my agenda under my arm and I’m prepared.

We are currently in a very dark hour and it feels cloudy and grey. We are worried about our families and friends health and maybe our own, but of course we are worried about our businesses.

Looking at a few websites and Face Book pages it looks like businesses have already given up, packed up and gone home. At the onset a few tried different ‘quick fix tactics, but as Government restrictions tighten now most of those won’t work.  There is a dark spirit around and whilst I know I am an optimist I have to be realistic. This period is going to be very tough for us business owners. BUT we need to focus on survival based on Resources, Resilience, Relationships and Retention.

Resources

So money will be tight and you need to look at how you can source income for yourself. You may also have a team of staff; again you need to prioritise the care of your valued team. Treat them wrong in their eyes and they may go all over Social Media. Then look at the resource of time which you may not have had for a long time to sit down, look at your business and seriously consider the way forward. If you had a 2020 one year plan or 5 year plan sit and adapt it now…Beware many online companies or business on Linked In are offering FREE Emergency Contingency Plans. They may be genuine, but I just tried to sign up for one to see what is was about and after asking for endless data then asking me to click links – a red flag went up!

Resilience

We all feel panicky, but we need to be tough and be prepared. Read motivational books. Read books about Companies surviving recessions, pit closures, economic crashes. Use this time to be armed with knowledge whilst you are self-isolated at home. Also build up resilience through exercise.  My best ideas come when I am out walking or running. You need to do this also for your mental health because as a Business Leader you will have a strong mind. Build resilience through sharing experience with your trusted business colleagues or networking group; which may be meeting online.

Relationships

The Big Questions are:-

What do you want your Customers to remember you for after this crisis is over? Write several words

Your Brand Is it still running strong through the COV-19 problem

Your logo Are you standing true to your word

Customer Service It is vital you communicate with your Customers and don’t put your head in the sand. Use Face Book, Email, texts and even the dreaded telephone. Everyone now has time to take a call. Go one step ahead. Staff may be limited so you may have to do it and this could be the perfect time to go ‘on the front line’.

Retention

It is vital you not only communicate with clients but look forward to what you can offer them after this crisis. It is hard to do this, but once, we hope, this situation is resolved people will soon want to get back into real life and you need to let them know you are prepared and able to deliver.

I run a tourist company and I am working on tours ready when we can get out there again. I have to be sensitive not to push it too much, but I know my Customers and through a balance I can ‘drip drip’ market happy memories through previous holiday photos and also show some of the wonderful places we have to visit to give them hope. I’ve had so much support offering ideas of new UK tours and messages of kindness.

I use a Customer Relationship Management software programme, called Capsule with a small fee per month. This is a wonderful way to keep in touch as you can email different sectors of your clients. Also once the Crisis is over you can send out discounts, updates on what you can offer and tell them how prepared you are. Plus offer a great big thank you for supporting your business throughout.

I will be offering regular updates so please sign up to the newsletter. This is all FREE. Hopefully once you have some money in your pot you might like to call me in for some Marketing Advice.

Hope the above helps and keep positive. Always smile when you put up a Face Book Post or send an email or Make a Call.

Thanks for reading Diane (Photo show me in preparation for the Caminito del Ray, Malaga last Christmas) walking over one of the scariest gorges in the world.  Can’t wait to do it again and I will!

 

 

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