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COVID-19 Update: 9 Dos and Don'ts of Business Development

COVID-19 has brought about unique challenges in almost every area of business, but it has especially impacted the field of business development. With many companies holding their cards close to their chest and being wary of making any major investments, it can be difficult to expand your partnerships during this time. With that said, that doesn’t mean that your company can’t see success or development in 2020!

So how exactly can you continue to grow and scale your business this year? We asked the same question to nine business development gurus, and they broke down all the dos and don’ts for us! Keep reading to hear what they had to say.

Focus on Your Current Clients

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, people and businesses are dealing with difficult personal and financial choices. Now is not the time to focus on landing that new client, although if you can manage to connect with a new client, certainly don't pass up the opportunity. Instead, focus on serving your existing clients and local businesses that need support. By focusing on your current clients, you protect the income of your business and build stronger client relationships. By promoting local businesses that are struggling, you embrace the community and will be rewarded for it. Once the pandemic is over, you can return to your normal, more aggressive marketing practices.

Robert Reder, Blythe Grace

Share Your Expertise

Small business owners often need to promote themselves to promote their business. For most small business owners, “promotion” can feel awkward and uncomfortable. I’ve found that one thing that feels natural for people is sharing expertise. Everyone has unique insights to share around a given topic. If you seek opportunities to share your expertise, you’ll find yourself promoting your business in a way that feels organic and fun.

Brett Farmiloe, Scottsdale SEO Company

Review your Pre-Planned Campaigns

When moving forward with your company’s marketing efforts, review any of your pre-planned campaigns for how they might be ill-timed, tone-deaf, or even in poor taste given what’s going on in the world today. Don’t stop email campaigns or other marketing efforts altogether that are vital to business development, but just adjust them to be mindful of what people might be feeling.

Carey Wilbur, Charter Capital

Be Transparent About Your Restrictions and Challenges

The first thing business owners should do when running a business during the era of COVID-19 is to be up front and transparent about how your company is now conducting business in light of all the restrictions and challenges. Staying silent and pretending that nothing is happening could damage your reputation. Clear communication about how your business is responding to the pandemic will let your customers know what to expect and will combat confusion.

Megan Chiamos, 365 Cannabis

Find the Tactic That Works and Expand Its Budget

Business owners should use a multifaceted approach to promoting their business. They should look at both offline and online marketing tactics to use to capture their audience. Depending on the persona of their customer would depend on which tactics they should try first. When they find some that are successful, keep going with that and expand on the budget investment for that particular tactic (i.e. a trade show, social media paid ads, paid search etc.). Business owners should refrain from just doing what "everyone else does" as that is not targeting your marketing to your customer that you want to pursue. Do the research to figure out your customer’s wants, needs and what they respond to. You will benefit with higher results.

Larry Drago, Independent Marketing Consultant

Try Cause Marketing

In these challenging times of COVID-19, economic uncertainty, and societal upheaval, it's more important than ever to project your business as an authentic, helpful member of the community. Using cause marketing (promotions that are seen as helping the community - such as discounts for struggling families or front-line workers) is a great way to get positive brand exposure and build good will. This would go much further than a frivolous sweepstakes or a "crush the competition" type of promotion, as it just wouldn't strike the right tone for these times.

Luke Grant, Principal Consultant

Humanize Yourself Through Video

Business owners need to humanize themselves by using video. During COVID-19, it is really hard to make a personal connection these days. Highlight your story as a business owner in a 60 second video of how you got started, your passion and the love for what you do. Remember, people work with people—not logos!

Trevor Rappleye, Corporate Filming

Determine Your Role in the Company Brand

Some business owners like to stay behind the scenes and organize their employees rather than be the face of the brand. Others, the one that wants to be the face of the brand, should be sending out personal messages (via any media they're using) about what their brand is about. The best business owners have the ability to inspire, explain and encourage. They should use their expert or entrepreneur position to give their brand social proof and therefore drive more customers via making their company more trustworthy.

Jakub Kliszczak, Channels

Choose a Channel to Dominate In

I'm a believer in choosing a channel and dominating it, rather than spreading your marketing too thinly across multiple channels. It's better to have a great presence on a single channel, than a mediocre presence on every one.

Doug Dennison, MailNinja