Top Tips for Business Continuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 13, 2020

The world is changing quickly. As the COVID-19 pandemic ripples across the globe, the economy is transforming before our eyes. But even as so many industries face hurdles, there are things we can do to feel a sense of control, and there are positive steps we can take to get ourselves ready for the day when the world is ready to reopen for business.

We recently held a webinar with our suppliers from around the globe to share thoughts and ideas on ways to remain productive during this uncertain time. Here are a few steps for facing this crisis one day at a time - as a team.

1. Optimize your communication.

Communication, both with your team and with your clients, is especially important right now. The key with both is to be transparent. Keep people in the loop and maintain an open dialogue. If you don’t know an answer to a question, be honest. If you have tough news to share - like an upcoming layoff - try to be as upfront as possible so your team can be prepared for what’s coming.

Of course, there are also plenty of logistical hurdles to communicating right now as teams adjust to working remotely. Keep things cohesive with daily online check-ins and shared calendars, so you know when everyone is on the clock together. Find a consistent platform for regular video calls (at TO THE MARKET, we use Zoom), and utilize other technology to keep in touch. One of our suppliers shared that they created a WhatsApp group for their team to share snapshots of their work-from-home lives, which we love. That’s a great way to create a sense of community from afar.

2. Improve your marketing materials.

    Now is a great time to review your marketing materials and ensure they reflect your business in the way that best resonates. Your website, written content, photos, catalogues, line sheets, one-pagers, and pricing sheets are all great materials to revamp right now.

    3. Take stock of your technology.

    What kind of tech do you use to run your business, and what do you want to be using in the future? Whether your org depends on vital factory floor tools or a small army of laptops, take an assessment of what you’re currently using. Research which tools could optimize your process and consider what kinds of technology you might want to invest in down the line. 

    4. Pour energy into training and development.

      One of our suppliers shared with us that they’re using this season to set up technology training sessions and language lessons for their team. These types of trainings can be done virtually, so they’re a great use of your socially distanced time 

      5. Focus on product development.

        Take some time to think about the products you offer, and how you can make customers’ favorites even better. Ask yourself questions like:

        - What are the most commonly purchased products or services I’m selling?

        - What is the price point and category of those products?

        - What kind of new designs and versions of these products can I create so I’ll be geared up to thrive when the world is ready for big orders again?

        6. Adapt to current consumer patterns.

          While businesses and consumers may be tightening their purse strings right now, they are still spending money - it’s just a matter of honing in on what they are willing to spend money on. See if you can provide more budget-friendly product or service offerings that reflect current priorities. For example, most shoppers are socially distancing in their homes right now, so they’re more focused on creating a cozy house than buying cocktail dresses. If you usually sell luxury products, consider keeping a few luxe offerings while integrating products at lower price points - especially products that are functional while still providing a “fun” factor. 

          7. Reassess your core offering.

            This is a big one. As the economy and consumer landscape shifts, this can help you prepare to pivot if needed. Think about which products you offer to your clients that are core to their needs. What do people need consistently, regardless of the state of the economy? And if you don’t sell something like this, how can you adapt to offer it? For example, let’s say your company makes fashion tops. As shoppers tighten their budgets, you could pivot to making undershirts for the time being, because consumers will continue to need undershirts even as they cut their spending. No matter what your business specializes in, there’s likely something you can make that will be needed no matter what.

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