So we’re three, or is it four, weeks into lockdown …
It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks.
It’s been worrying, and unsettling. But these weeks have also been interspersed with surprising moments of positivity.
For the first time in a long time, it’s very hard for anyone to clearly see what lies just ahead. Our imminent future is unknown, and that brings a strange mix of emotions.
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But as we all start to settle into this new – current, at least – reality, I’ve noticed that more and more people are starting to focus on positives.
The environment. The sense of community. The slower pace of life. The time we have to do things we’ve been “meaning” to, for who knows how long …
I’ve also noticed, however, that many people are expressing a sense of guilt.
In many ways I suppose it’s a nice thing … it comes from a good place. It comes from empathy. Concern for others. We all know that the whole world is feeling the effects of this situation. We all know that there are others who are struggling; suffering, even. Many of us know we’re in a better position than others … and our consciousness of that is leading to a greater sense of compassion in the world. A greater concern for others. A greater care.
But it’s also leading to a greater sense of guilt.
In particular – from a business perspective.
“How can I charge for my services when people are so worried about money?” To calculate how few clients you actually need to reach your financial goal and have financial security click here…
“How can I charge my normal rates when some people are struggling to pay the bills … or buy their family food. When people are worried about losing their businesses … their livelihoods, entirely …?”
Not irrational thoughts … so I suppose, not an irrational emotion.
But is “not working” … or “charging less” really the most sensible solution to overcoming that emotion? … for you, and your business … but also for others?
Think about what YOU are spending money on right now … and how you feel about spending that money.
Supermarkets, for example. We’re all still buying food … toiletries … cleaning products … wine (!?).
Should supermarkets be charging us less? Should food and toiletries and cleaning products be cheaper than usual, because of what’s going on in the world?
Should we no longer have to pay for our electricity, or gas? Should our phone bills be free … our wifi … our newspapers …?
I don’t think any of us have expected these products or services to suddenly become cheaper, just because so many other businesses are suffering.
We simply keep buying the things we NEED … and are GRATEFUL that they are still available. Or grateful, even, that the service exists at all.
Perhaps we reflect, once in a while, on how lucky certain companies are, that their services are so vital right now.
But then – how vital would we have assumed some of these services to be “before”?
In which case … is “vital” sometimes … a little more subjective?
Zoom is an interesting example.
The online conferencing platform, popular and well-known by many businesses previously, has almost overnight become THE most well-known, and most-used tool on the internet.
People are creating accounts for their 90-year old grandparents so they can stay in touch. Entire families are uniting through this app, friends are throwing “zoom-parties”, and, of course … businesses are holding their “remote” meetings.
Zoom, as a business, is having a very good month indeed.
They offer a free service. One-to-one calls are free, for as long as you want to talk. Calls with more than three people are free for up to 40 minutes.
Want a group call for more than 40 minutes? You can upgrade to a paid plan, and voila: uninterrupted multi-person video calls for as long as you desire.
Should they be offering that upgrade for free?
Should they be offering it at a discount?
They have, in fact, made it free for schools … so that our children are able to continue learning. That’s a pretty wonderful thing.
But should they have offered that to everyone?
If we don’t want to pay, we can still use their service. We can still hang up, and start a new call – for free – for another 40 minutes.
But for those of us who don’t want that interruption … those of us who want to ensure a seamless, continuous, group call of longer than 40-minutes … we’ll be prepared to pay for it. We’re prepared to pay for that value … that service.
And good for Zoom that they are able to maintain a highly profitable business right now.
And good for Zoom for offering a service, for free, to those that have different needs.
Yes, money is a concern for a lot of people right now. But it’s not a concern for everyone. Or at least, not to the extent that they can’t afford to continue paying for the things that they need … those MUST HAVES, which – let’s not forget – are always going to be different for different people.
And that’s what we have to remember for our OWN businesses right now.
People still NEED things. And for the things they NEED, they will PAY – gladly.
You still have an expertise: an ability to solve a particular type of problem. And people still have problems they want, or need, solved. So you just need to ensure you are positioning your service as the MUST-HAVE.
Maybe that means a repositioning of some sort. Maybe a slight change to your service or product … maybe a change to your target audience … maybe you need to reposition the reason people want their problem solving.
But position yourself with a MUST-HAVE offer, and people will take it up.
It’s the nice-to-haves that people may be less inclined to purchase right now.
But that’s ok. Because a nice-to-have for one person, is a MUST for another.
My mother is happy to redial for her next 40 minutes of zoom conversation.
I, in my business, am happy to pay Zoom so that I don’t have to.