Vladimir Gendelman, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Pontiac, Michigan, is the founder and CEO of Company Folders, an award-winning online printing company specializing in presentation folders. The company made the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America for three consecutive years. As a thought-leader in print design and business, we asked Vladimir how business leaders can take advantage of downtime to prepare for future success. Here's what he shared.
During difficult economic times, it's natural to hunker down and cut costs, which includes your marketing and branding budget. Though times are tough right now, it's important to remember that this isn't the end of a great economy. It's simply being "paused" because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 has closed our schools, restaurants and many businesses. All conferences, trade shows, conventions, and other special events also have been canceled or postponed. And that's okay: Our population's health is the most important thing right now.
Will you be ready to jump back into business?
However, forward-looking business leaders know that the moment the threat of this virus is over, restaurants and businesses will reopen. Conferences, trade shows, conventions and special events will resume as quickly as they were canceled. And it may happen in record time--because speakers, vendors and venues will all be available and ready to go.
When that long-awaited moment arrives, a lot of companies will find themselves caught off-guard because there won't be enough time to get custom-printed marketing materials and promotional products made. Printers will be inundated with orders, won't be able to rush production, and may not even be able to meet standard turnaround times.
Everyone will be in the same boat--which is why now is the best time to consider revisiting your marketing and branding strategy.
Take your brand into your own hands
Typically, businesses hire professionals to create and implement a new marketing and branding plan. This is an expensive strategy, but you can reduce costs by doing the work yourself.
Why not? No one knows your company better than you do, so the more closely you can be involved in the process, the better. And, the fewer outside services needed, the more money you save.
There are abundant resources available to help you better understand branding and use it to your advantage. Here are just a handful:
- Donald Miller's Building a Story Brand addresses many of the solutions struggling business leaders can use to improve how they connect with customers and grow their companies.
- Take an online brand personality quiz to learn which of the 12 unique archetypes your brand matches--and use that knowledge to connect with your audience.
- Learn how to build your brand in five days by following examples of smart branding strategies from five fresh, dynamic companies.
- Explore resources that detail how to design the perfect business logo yourself.
And remember: If you're not positioned to complete every aspect of your marketing or branding work in-house, you can leverage the gig economy to outsource specific functions such as graphic design or video production.
Be proactive, not reactive
Time is our most valuable resource. If you find yourself with an abundance of it during this crisis, it's important to maximize it. Keep your spirits up and accomplish projects that will enhance your company's resilience.
Use this unexpected pause in operations to make a positive contribution to your company's future. If you focus on getting your marketing and branding strategy in order now, you'll be in an advantageous position.
When the virus is gone, and the business world reawakens, you'll be prepared for sales meetings, trade shows, conferences and conventions with a supply of high-end folders, flyers, brochures, business cards and giveaway items featuring your updated branding and marketing strategy.
In the immortal words of Zig Ziglar, author, salesman and motivational speaker: "A negative thinker sees difficulty in every opportunity. A positive thinker sees opportunity in every difficulty."
The Covid-19 crisis is a difficulty full of opportunities for every single business. Find yours.