Why you should broaden your offering immediately.
There is little doubt that the business climate right now is almost unrecognisable from the one we lived in only six months ago. It would be easy to feel despondent, but instead I invite you to look up, get excited about change, and adapt your business to meet the new market.
Here are my TOP TRENDS for SMB right now.
Trend #1 – Cocooning
I absolutely love this term. Its referring to our desire to make our home space ‘cocoon like”. A safe space we can escape the world, perhaps work from as well. If we are put into lockdown, we can enjoy the home we have created.
Therefore gardeners, furniture companies, cooking utensil companies are BUSY! People are spending their cash on cocooning at home.
How can you embrace this and meet the market with items that are affordable but allow your customers to cocoon?
Trend #2 – COVID is the new norm
For anyone expecting this to go away next month, forget it. This will be years of re-emerging waves people.
It will keep our overseas borders closed for potentially years. I mean who wants the waves in other countries to come back into ours when we have contained it for the fifth time?
It will mean we need to wear masks, get used to lock downs and border closures.
It’s the new norm.
When you have adjusted to that, you can plan to incorporate this into your business plan. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
Strategise around ways to get your products made locally, not overseas. Forget about bricks and mortal sales, focus on ecommerce and edistribution. Find experts to help you set this up properly.
Trend #3 – Luxury is OUT, Affordable is IN
Headlines this week include luxury brands like Chanel stopping all production of their expensive luxury items. Why?
Because people are not going to be spending their hard earned big bucks on luxury items like they did pre-covid.
Instead they will be focusing on paying down debt, saving dollars, surviving.
Affordable, necessary items are the new focus.
How can you sell them things they NEED in their home, but give them an alternative to conventional supermarket brands.
People like to buy local, but they don’t like to pay more. So give them affordable items so that they can support your business instead of the big corporations.
If you have a brand selling luxury items, pivot by adding a new range of products which compliments what you already do, by selling something affordable that your clients already need. Give them your brand as an option. Sell them with your story. Tell them why they should support you.
Trend #4 – Onshore, not Offshore
If you watch the headlines like I do, you will have been astonished to find that our Australian government is currently working on breaking ties with China. I find this astonishing because China is our biggest trade partner, in both directions.
The fall out of this failing relationship is that it won’t be as cheap or easy to buy from China moving forward. If you think that you can keep buying your products out of China, I would suggest that you find a new strategy.
So instead of manufacturing offshore, think onshore. Try and find producers or manufacturers here in Australia that can make products that your clients will buy.
This ties in with the trend to Buy Local. Consumers want to support local businesses, but they don’t want to pay a lot more to do it. So focus on affordable locally made items.
And if you have onshore products made in Australia, make sure you highlight this everywhere in your marketing!!! Tell people you are doing the right thing and producing items here and they will love you for it.
Trend #5 – Lean Business
We are currently in an economic recession, and this may head into a depression (this is worse than a recession). We are largely buffered from feeling this because of the Government Stimuli, and because this recession landed when we were feeling pretty prosperous as a country.
Mark my words though, next year and beyond consumers are going to feel the pinch and slow their spending right back.
We will see major retailers continue to collapse, as well as many smaller ones.
Some may call this end to consumerism a great thing!
Certainly it will change the world as we know it.
So how do you prepare for tougher times? You lean up. You pay down your debts, you run your business on a shoestring. If you are bricks and mortar retail, or have an office, consider working from home and changing your business model.
The lower your overheads, the easier it is to get over your break even point each month.
Being lean also helps you to be nimble and pivot in different directions easily. And this next decade will call upon your skills in pivoting like they never have before!
Trend #6 – Ecoethical
I love this term!
As some of you may know, I built a pretty big business making eco friendly baby nappies. So making sure a business has eco credentials is true to my heart.
But what I believe will start to become more important to people is Ecoethical.
Is your product manufactured locally using an environmentally friendly process?
Do you employ socially responsible practises inside your business?
How can you look at both ethical and eco?
One of my favourite examples of this is my local beekeeper who turned her hand to making beauty products with her honey. I buy from her for myself as well as any present or gift I need. Her products are local, ethical, helping another business woman out, AND as a bonus the more money I spend with her, the more bee hives she can afford to keep. I am passionate about the future of bees so her business is about as Ecoethical as I can get! Check her out @mieledoro
Trend #7 – Broaden, don’t niche
Only a year or two ago, everywhere you looked you saw flashing signs telling you to niche your business down!
Well I’m now telling you the opposite!
Niching is great when the economy is strong and there are enough sales.
But when things get tougher, you can help yourself more by offering a broader number of products to the same clients.
Consider carefully what else your clients might need right now. Great examples of this are alcohol distilleries now making hand sanitizers. Material manufacturers now make masks. The inspiring story of the company Stagekings, who were a huge staging and event production business and overnight their next 2 years of business evaporated (live events being cancelled). They wallowed for a few weeks then pivoted and started to use their team and warehouse to manufacture flat pack office furniture and now they are crazy busy!
What else can you sell to your customers? How can you find new customers?
I hope these trends give you some food for thought!! Comment if you are already trialling any of these and how you are finding business.