Submitted by LaShaun Collier
FSBDC at FGCU
September 21, 2020, Fort Myers: A major key to keeping your small business sustainable is to position and package your product or service when facing new market conditions. While positioning and packaging are “must-haves” for your business, pivoting should only be the option you turn to when you’ve exhausted all others. Only pivot as appropriate to help you make it to the “other side” – you may decide you don’t need to pivot at all, but you will definitely need to recontextualize your positioning to fit these unusual times (and your current needs).
The 3 P’s
Everyone’s needs have shifted during this pandemic – not just small businesses. In order to ensure your audience’s needs are being met just like yours, it’s important to look to the 3 P’s – positioning, packaging, and pivoting – for help.
- Positioning: Let’s look at Nike, which put out a campaign encouraging people to ‘play inside’ as governments enforce social-distancing measures. As per Nike’s usual standards, the copy – by advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy – turned heads: “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance.”
- Packaging: Companies adjusting to this crisis in a multitude of ways, from restaurants turning waitstaff into delivery drivers to boutiques focusing on selling loungewear and pajamas. Ask yourself: How can you package your own business differently?
- Pivoting: There may come a time when you have to concede that pivoting is the best option for you and your business. You may sense that something isn’t quite right with your model, or be forced to rethink your operations due to external influences, and decide to pivot – like designer handbag company Louis Vuitton selling hand sanitizer or bridal companies selling face masks to match wedding dresses.
Find Your Inspiration
Before COVID-19, Kidadl operated as an online platform for discovering and booking family events and experiences. With its community of parents going into lockdown, the company has found new ways of providing a service by pivoting to become an online destination for ideas and inspiration for stay-at-home fun and learning. The new Kidadl homepage launched for lockdown now lists over 1500 free activities and resources to make family life in lockdown much easier.
Necessity vs. Luxury
Individuals and businesses alike are choosing necessity over luxury right now. Less and less people are spending money for fun and instead choosing to be more deliberate with where their money is going. In order to go with the flow, you must become a necessity.
Crises create moments of truth in business-to-business relationships. Companies that provide other businesses with values that are higher on the Elements of Value® pyramid will exit the crisis in a better position than when it started. Focus now on being a strategic partner, demonstrating stability, going the extra mile to make your offerings available, and taking the high road by helping those in need. Then amplify these actions and messages over the coming weeks.
Refocus Your Priorities
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a five-tiered pyramid model of human needs. From the bottom of the pyramid upwards, the needs are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. As predicted by Maslow’s model, if your priorities are lower on the pyramid, then you find yourself less focused on needs that are higher on the pyramid. In other words, if you find yourself in a crisis, you’re not likely to worry too much about being a self-actualized being.
However, this global pandemic has knocked many of us, regardless of where we may have been “on the pyramid” just a few weeks ago, to the bottom of the pyramid. While the fiscal fallout of the pandemic will be nothing short of enormous, it must take a back seat to the more imminent health crisis that we are facing as a broader community. We can’t worry about higher-level needs when our physiological and safety needs need to be addressed first.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers globally are valuing services, products, people, and institutions that reduce their anxiety, reduce their risks, or provide some sense of safety and belonging. This is where refocusing your priorities – both as an individual and a company – is highly important.
Put It Into Action
Everything is different right now – everything. Now is the time to refocus the lens and figure out what YOUR needs are as a business leader and organization. Encourage your employees to share their own needs as they relate to your business, and use their ideas to create a hierarchy of needs based on what’s important to your organization right now. In practice:
- Every leader wants their business to succeed. Having something tangible – like a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs specially created for your team – can be that extra boost of motivation your employees need to keep their spirits up and feel supported.
- When brainstorming ways to personalize your organization’s own hierarchy of needs, consider using the pyramid as a business framework. How can this hierarchy be as much a strategy for success as it is a source of inspiration?
- Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be an important asset for you as a business leader, but it can be a driver for your customers, as well. You may discover more successful ways to connect with your customers, build lasting customer loyalty, and engage new customers on a more human level.
Do you want some help in strategizing how to position yourself as a thought leader? We can help, schedule your no-cost, one-on-one consulting session today at FSBDCSWFL.org