Are your profit margins growing right now?

It may seem wild to believe that some businesses are succeeding while other industries struggle. Guilt may be setting in or you find yourself wondering if you're somehow "cheating" the system or taking advantage of consumers.  

Profiting during strain is a difficult emotion to balance. But, if you shift your focus and execute from an ethically opportunistic mindset, you open yourself, and your business, to growth right now and in the future.

If you aren't profiting now, or struggle with the notion of your success during tough times, here are three ways to be ethically opportunistic in business.

1. Meet your customers where they are.

If you can sell more, that's great.  But, think about what your customers are going through.  These are people with human needs and emotions, not simply a metric for you to measure each month. And right now, they are probably living in some variable state of fear. Use this time as an opportunity to support them, not push your product onto them. Step up and be the one who offers a sense of solace and peace through your product.  

This is the perfect moment to focus on selling an emotion, not a product. Create content and resources to support your audience, even if that means branching out from what you have done in the past. I recently saw a STEM research company offer online courses to teach children all about STEM. Their typical customers are adults, but right now, many adults need resources and tools to keep their children engaged and learning while at home. This is a great way to give their customers something that brings a sense of peace into their lives. 

2. Adjust your marketing approach.

Day to day life has shifted, and the priorities of consumers have as well. It's time to position your marketing in the same direction. Consider how your product or service can be a benefit during this time, and market it from that frame of mind.

Phone cases were once marketed from an aesthetic and protective standpoint, but now, with cleanliness as a top concern for consumers, the approach must shift. Pelecase, a phone case company, recently launched a BOGO campaign labeled as "Buy One, Wash One". Sure, they are selling their product, but they are doing so in efforts to support keeping things clean for consumers. Their product is now positioned to offer a sense of safety and comfort to consumers.

3. Sell for the future.

It might not feel like it right now, but at some point, this will pass.

It is tempting to be reactive in nature, and adjust on the fly to ensure that you have what you need today, and squeeze out every last penny you can from consumers. But that isn't necessarily what will ensure your business profits for the long haul. Be aware of what your business will need in the six months, not just in the next six days.

Take a moment to consider how your adjustments today will impact the trajectory of your business. Create a product and marketing approach today that remains in alignment with the mission of your business. Find creative ways to create cash flow now that set you up for the future. This could look like selling gift cards with discounts or offering promotions for new customers to redeem in a few months. Use this opportunity to create growth down the line, not derail your business and all those who benefit from it.

My eCommerce business, JavaPresse, considered our community members' need of having coffee at home and marketed our bags of beans from a view of "Buy One, Freeze One". Our customers can now rest easy knowing they have coffee grounds for the foreseeable future. Not only that but this has positioned us in a place to make a plan for the future without worrying about today.

Profiting doesn't mean you are a bad person. It means you have found an opportunity to offer a product consumers need. When you approach opportunities ethically, rest assured that more will come your way.