If you’re like most businesses around the world right now, and not producing toilet paper, it’s anything but “business as usual.” The daily barrage of COVID-19 updates and mandatory isolation and shutdowns is all a bit much to digest – let alone navigate. According to McKinsey, there will be a sharp fall in consumer and business spending until at least the end of Q2 2020. You’re likely feeling this impact already. Most of your staff might be working from home and you may have even been forced to lay off a large part of your workforce. It isn’t any better for your customers or competitors. We get it – there isn’t much comfort in the fact that you’re not alone, that this is happening to businesses all over the planet. If you’re like many business owners I talk to, you’re wondering exactly what you should do next just to survive.
For the record, Tigerpaw Software is in the same boat as you. We may act like a big business, but at 44 people we are a small business just like most of you. We are feeling the impact too, but fortunately we moved to a 100% recurring revenue model (something we have been imploring, cajoling, and begging our clients to do for years) and we are able to spend most of our time the way we usually do: supporting our current customers and their businesses. New sales are obviously slow and calls to our technical support team are down. However, these changes have freed up some time (whether we like it or not!) to focus ON the business. Now more than ever, as businesses owners, it is critical that we all consider doing the same. Here are the top 4 things you can (and should) do today to work on the business now for a stronger tomorrow:
Re-visit your revenue model
As mentioned above, our revenue model is 100% recurring, and this allows us flexibilities that we never had before. If your business is fully dependent on new sales every month, now is a good time to figure out how to change that. To illustrate this point, let’s talk about one of the channels we automate business processes for: The office equipment channel. Office equipment dealers, also known as OEDs, currently sell toner by the page or by the cartridge. As people print less, revenue is reduced. Right now, printing (and revenue) has declined far more than a lot of providers can bear. It’s simple math that points to the need for a different model. Maybe you’ve been thinking about researching a flat-rate model by subscription or fixed monthly fees but have known where to start. The good news for you: Recurring revenue models aren’t new – they’re just new to you. Managed services providers (MSPs), Telephony companies, progressive OEDs, and many others have been selling their services this way for years. There are a ton of resources and current business models for you to draw inspiration from. You may even know a few industry experts in your own space who can help. As we’ve made the transition ourselves, we also can be a resource. Feel free to CONTACT US to learn how we did it successfully.
Explore diversified services
We speak with a lot of technology service providers and print providers. The ones who are doing the best in these troubling times are ones who have diversified the services they provide to their customers. OEDs, for example, may be losing print revenue like everybody else, but many are making up for it by offering managed IT and unified communications services. The days of being a pure-play provider are no longer an option if you’re looking to survive – let alone grow. Use this time to really dig in, to expand your business offerings, and ensure you’re ready to thrive when the dust settles. Want to add services but don’t know where to start? We can help you here as well. Tigerpaw Software has over 30 years of experience working with managed IT, VOIP, security, cloud, office equipment dealers and others in the managed services world. We can share what we’ve learned over the years and help you determine which new lines of services suit you best. We are working on an eGuide about the best opportunities for diversification that include market size and projected growth rates to 2025. You can sign up for it HERE to receive a copy as soon as it is available.
Upgrade your business management platform
If you’re looking to start offering managed print via a flat rate model or to diversify your existing service offerings, you really need to think about upgrading your business management platform. You’ve avoided this for a number of reasons to date. If you’re an OED, your current system may be deeper and more flexible for cost-per-page. As a managed IT provider, your departments may have workflows and automations in their business processes that have “been that way” for a lot of years. In good times, these reasons may have been reason enough for not to look at upgrading to a Tier 1 business automation platform like Tigerpaw One. These aren’t good times. If you want your business to grow and thrive after this all settles down, you need to look at a business automation platform that can successfully handle recurring revenue contracts AND more diversified service offerings. If you’re already a Tigerpaw One customer, we encourage you to work with us to go even deeper with the incredible features you may not be using.
Build an inbound marketing initiative
According to BDC (Business Development Council), the buying habits of your customers are changing. They also state that, when inbound marketing is used properly, website visitors are more likely to become customers compared to prospects you cold call. Now is a good time to work on modernizing how you attract and convert leads into customers. You should work on a developing helpful content, a social media presence, and key performance indicators to measure visitor-to-customer conversions. Don’t know where to start? Yet another reason to talk to us at Tigerpaw Software. We’ve developed a rich inbound practice of our own, and just by reading this blog you’re experiencing that. We also do a podcast series called Tigerpaw Radio and consistently release helpful downloadable content. We track and measure all of this through a marketing automation platform. We’re more than happy to show you how it’s done.
Hopefully you’ve found this blog useful and have ideas to get you started working “ON” your business. Of course, business isn’t everything, and no time has illustrated that than now. Tigerpaw Software wants you to know that our primary concern is the health and well-being of you and the people in your lives. Be safe, be strong, and know that we will get through this. We can do it together.