Get prepared for times of crisis with new business models

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Improving your internal processes, technology or betting on new business models are some of the solutions to overcome unexpected situations.

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has dominated newspaper headlines and covers for months. And the reality is that we have not been able to respond in time, neither from a social point of view, nor politically, much less economically. The crisis is expected to mean a change in the way consumers act and buy, and even affect our social interactions.

And although for companies, trying to survive may make sense in these moments of crisis, keeping activity afloat and prioritizing actions, it is important to take this time to consider, was my company really prepared? How can I respond to this crisis? How can I be prepared if another one arrives?

The truth is that there are no accurate answers. What we do know is that technology and new business models, such as those based on the subscription economy, can help you diversify risks and plan ahead. Here are our tips for dealing with the crisis:

1. Analyze your internal processes

Whether your company is based on a traditional industry, or if it is natively digital, now is a good time to analyze how your internal processes work: from working remotely, to logistics, through your billing or accounting provider. Having a good infrastructure is key to keeping all data centralized and under control. As we already know without real data and numbers, it is difficult to prioritize actions.

From SlimPay and Zuora, we recommend having powerful software to support your company and your business model. These types of tools are designed to automate your operations, centralize your data and manage your clients in the most efficient way possible.

2. Adapt your business model

Unfortunately we find many businesses that have closed down and others that are very affected by the current situation, such as activities related to tourism, travel, hospitality or catering.

While on the other side, given the new (or mandatory) consumption habits, we are seeing new proposals and services that try to respond to the demand for basic goods and entertainment. Good examples that are beginning to emerge strongly: online education, remote medical services, subscriptions to remote communication tools, subscriptions to products for recurring use or to food services, streaming or online games. Trends, which we will explain later, are likely to continue after the crisis.

  • Companies with subscription-based business models.

These companies are likely to be grateful for this business model: they have recurring revenues and a stable customer base; they shouldn’t see a precipitous drop in sales.

However, Zuora believes that it is time for companies to start creating closer relationships with their customers, to double the number of subscribers. How? Providing value and innovating. Caring for clients and the community: offering free additional services, facilitating or helping the common good.

  • Companies that are based on other economic models.

For larger companies, who are relatively new to digital services, or have just started testing this model, now is a good time to move forward. Why? Because they will want to have their activity ready for when the economy comes roaring back. The current crisis is not the cause of the shift towards new models based on subscriptions and recurring services. However, these days, we are rediscovering the importance of digital services both at work and at home. Now is the time to ask the big question: do you want to be ready to take off running? Would you consider a subscription-based model to support your business? Perhaps it is time to give it a second thought.

3. Be creative. Be different

In many parts of the world, we have been asked to stay at home, avoiding all human contact possible, putting in serious trouble many companies whose businesses are based on face-to-face relationships. Undoubtedly, it is time to get creative and think about how we can offer our products and services: restaurants offering home deliveries, fitness clubs giving online classes, monthly subscriptions with weekly or monthly deliveries …

Also do not neglect your brand image, make sure you are visible and different, marketing is also crucial to make your clients and potential prospects see that your business is still running.

4. Plan your strategy after the crisis

It is not a matter of just surviving and continuing to act as if nothing happened. It is important to design a post-crisis strategy. Do not assume that everything will be as before; the coronavirus will be a before and after in all aspects.

With confinement, we are obviously seeing a clear trend towards the consumption of digital products and services. And it seems that this trend will continue after the crisis. That is why any change you consider to carry out within your company should be made not only thinking in the short term, but also has added value for your company for the future: automate your internal processes to save administrative costs; establish a CRM to manage your customers, propose a subscription model to ensure recurring income or offer an online payment method to support your online business effort and maintain control of your payments.

5. Identify the main challenges for your business

To be strategic and implement all of the above, a good starting point is to build a list of potential obstacles that your business may experience.

It is crucial to develop strategies thinking about different scenarios and take into account all the possibilities. Considering everything, from possible failures in logistics, stock outages, server crash to communication difficulties, hard times for customer acquisition and/or competition. Good risk management will help you contain the potential impacts that you may suffer, even those that seemed more remote, such as a global pandemic.

These are just some tips that Zuora and SlimPay, as partners, wanted to share.

As natively digital services, we want to support you during this period of crisis, helping to digitize your company, whatever your sector is: from the most traditional ones such as energy or insurance, by automating and facilitating both customer management and recurring payments; to even new subscription-based models like streaming or music.

All with a double objective, serving consumers needs, offering an excellent user experience, without friction and flexibility; and internally, promoting efficiency and data centralization, facilitating customer tracking and monitoring billing and accounting.

If you need help figuring out what should be next steps, we offer you our support. Do not hesitate to contact us to know more.