Building a Resilient Business in a Rapidly Changing Retail Landscape
You’re probably hustling to rise above choppy waters in the midst of a difficult business climate, and we see you. We hear you. We are praying for you.
Here at Kerusso, we’ve reached out to our retail partners and business allies to learn what’s working for them, sharing what’s working for us during this challenging time, and we’d love to share a few key thoughts with you.
As the Scripture states, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” As a Christian in business, we can be assured that He is secure and consistent.
We’re in this together, and we’d like to share some of the elements we believe are key to remaining resilient in business, even when you don’t know what business will look like.
DEFINE YOUR BIG WHY
If you don’t know why you went into business in the first place, it can be difficult to keep going when the going gets tough. At Kerusso, we know our mission:
Proclaiming the Good News to the world through products about Jesus.
This mission is at the heart of every decision we’ve made. And when we have to figure out what our next steps are, we always ask ourselves if it fits into our mission.
Use this simple template to create a mission statement for your business:
[Business Name] creates/sells/distributes [product/service description] in order to [desired impact].
What a blessing to be able to create focus with this mission statement as we determine the many options and avenues we’re presented with in this rapidly changing landscape!
KNOW WHO YOUR CUSTOMER IS
Who is your customer? Is it the mom who is running her kids around for activities? Is it the grandma who buys all her birthday gifts at your location? Do your homework and find out the key persona for your store or business. Give him or her a name and focus on that persona for your company.
ASK HARD QUESTIONS AND THINK THROUGH YOUR ANSWERS
Once you’ve figured out a main persona, you need to ask the harder questions to give yourself different scenarios and to walk through solutions for those scenarios.
What if a resurgence happens with COVID-19?
What if I have to pivot to only doing curbside? Am I prepared for that?
Do I need to have an online presence if there is a pause again?
What inventory options do I need to look into?
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
If you’ve been intimidated in the past by really digging into the financials of your business, now is the time to get in there and take an honest look at where the money goes.
Look at each expenditure and ask questions like:
Does this contribute to sales growth?
Does this bring in new opportunities/leads?
Can we survive without this expense?
Are there affordable alternatives?
We are in no way financial advisors, but as you go through the exercise of looking at your financials, consider many businesses are having success during this time by contacting creditors to negotiate lower payments, repayments and interest rates on a loan or debt to free up cash flow.
EXPLORE NEW SALES CHANNELS
If you’ve been waiting for the right time to consider online sales channels, drop shipping or other expansions of your brick-and-mortar operation, you can no longer afford to wait.
If businesses are forced to close again or stronger restrictions are put in place, you’ll need these channels to be up and running so you can continue to make sales. Talk to business owners in your network about their web presence and consider seeking a mentor in this area.
Drop shipping is a no-fuss option to continue making sales. Kerusso works with retail partners to blind ship our products directly to customers. This means the package that arrives at the customers’ door is not Kerusso-branded, so for the customers, the transaction is simply an order they placed with your store. This can be done on the phone, email, website or even Facebook.
INVEST IN GROWTH/NEW OPPORTUNITIES
It may seem counterintuitive to invest in your business at a time like this, but for business owners who are able to dive in, taking calculated risks can really pay off.
If you can afford it, now is an excellent time to diversify your product line to meet changing consumer needs and interests, to invest in new sales channels, to consider new advertising mediums and to invest in expanding your knowledge base in areas that can make your business stronger.
Think beyond your current customer base. Spending money on marketing designed to acquire new customers can help you increase sales now, as well as contribute to future growth. Some examples can be:
Is there a church or Christian organization that you can reach out to and be their go-to place for resources?
What other non-competing businesses around can cross-promote what your business has to offer?
If you are a social media novice, invest time in learning the ins and outs of Facebook, or hire a part-time contractor or a student to help you start or run your store’s Facebook page. Your customers want to hear from you—not just about new products or sales, but about your store’s policy for face masks, new hours and how they can support your business while staying safe. Right now is a great time to go live on Facebook with updates and encouragement for online friends of your business. Social media has allowed brick-and-mortar stores to show their stock of inventory to shoppers from the comfort of the customer’s own home!
GIVE IT TO GOD
You’ve got a lot on your shoulders right now. But one benefit of being a Christian believer is that we view all of this—the local and global economy, the pandemic and the balance in our bank accounts—as being in God’s hands.
Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Commit to praying over your business daily. God gave you the skills, talent and opportunity to run this business, and your concerns matter to Him. Ask for peace, perspective, wisdom and clarity as you work through each challenge you face. Ask God to remind you He’s got this in meaningful ways, and to help you shepherd your team well. Print a favorite Bible verse that gives you courage and post it on your bulletin board or office door.
The business and personal lessons we learn as we navigate this challenging landscape will make us stronger and more agile in the future. We look forward to looking back on this time and thanking God for His provision and His work on our behalf. CRA