If your business was on shaky ground before COVID-19, you are probably sitting back trying to figure out if your business is worth trying to save or if you need to blow it up and reinvent. No matter what decision you make, you will need a framework to evaluate what you even have, so you can formulate a plan for how to reinvent your business to be successful.
Back in 2007, I had to do this with my own business. I asked myself, “What is the most valuable thing in my business?” Was it my employees, customer list, IP, inventory, or equipment? My answer was NO—it was none of those things. The most valuable thing in my business was what I learned from running it. So, I made a strategic decision that I was going to bottle and sell small business advice and become America’s #1 Small Business Expert. It took a few years, but by 2010, I built the business I dreamed of and first envisioned back in 2007.
I know you may feel lost right now, but it is time to get strategic about how to reinvent your business in these uncertain times.
The SCAMPER Formula
Start with the SCAMPER formula to develop your new business approach using creative thinking.
SCAMPER is an acronym for seven techniques: (S) substitute, (C) combine, (A) adapt, (M) modify, (P) put to another use, (E) eliminate, and (R) reverse.
These keywords represent the essential questions addressed during an ideation session about reinventing your business. This formula can be used to evaluate an existing product, service, or idea which you want to improve or which could be a great starting point for the future development of a new business model.
How to Use the SCAMPER Formula to Reinvent Your Business
First, take your top existing products or services. Then, simply go down the list and ask questions regarding each of the seven elements.
Apply the questions to values, benefits, services, touchpoints, product attributes, pricing, markets, and essentially any other related aspect you might be able to think of that has relevance to your evaluation process.
Look at the answers that you came up with. Do any of the answers stand out as viable solutions? Could you use any of them to create a new product, or further develop an existing one? Take all the good ideas and explore them further.
- Substitute: Can you use different vendors or staff to lower your costs?
- Combine: What offers can you combine to innovate or develop new offers?
- Adapt: What changes need to be made to serve the customer better?
- Modify: What can you modify or magnify to add value without increasing the price?
- Put to Another Use: Is there a secondary market or niche your product or service could serve?
- Eliminate: Look at what you need to stop doing. Do you have products or services that just don’t effectively compete anymore in the marketplace?
- Reverse: How can you reorganize to make things more effective?
Applying the SCAMPER Process to Your Marketing
Once you complete the SCAMPER process, then it’s time to look at your key marketing messages on your website and in your emails.
Does your website make a good first impression? Here are some action steps you can take as you reinvent your business.
- Conduct a Site Audit: This is an SEO review of your site. Check your load time, links, navigation, and flow.
- Test Your UX: How does your user experience work for your visitors? Ask 20-25 objective people what they think of the experience they have on your site.
- Review Your Lead Magnets: Every website should have 2-3 lead magnets to build an email list. For example, you can ask visitors to sign up your newsletter, offer a free eBook, or video series, or share a webinar or podcast interview
- Content Strategy: Professional websites are updated with content 2-3 times a week. Are you going to add a blog, podcast, or video series? Whatever you do, make sure you can leverage the content at least two more times after you produce it.
- Use Google Analytics: Track your most popular content, bounce rate, sources of referral traffic, time on site, and organic search rate.
Email is KING: With a list, you have the power to sell. Here are some things to be aware of as you reinvent your business.
- Know Your Audience: Everyone says this, but I can overemphasize it enough. The more you know about your audience, the more you can serve their needs.
- Give to Get: Share helpful information at a 7-1 ratio before making them an offer.
- Calls to Action: When it comes to CTAs, you want to use the 3 Cs: be CLEAR, be CONCISE, and be CLEVER. By the way, ‘Click Here’ is not clever.
- Email Must Align with Overall Brand: You want to show up the same way everywhere. Make sure your graphics look and feel similar, and your messaging is consistent with the rest of your website, social media profiles, and any creative your produce.
- Track Email Metrics and Watch Email Fatigue: Open rate is an unreliable measure, but you do need to keep track of what content your audience reacts to. Also, be careful not to email your list too much. Ask yourself ‘why’ three times before firing off an extra email outside your regular newsletter.
- A/B Test Every Element of Your Email: Title, call to action, time of day, day of the week, long copy, or short copy. There are a lot of elements to test to really find the right day, time, and message to communicate with your audience.
- Keep a Clean List: Purge your email list every six months, if people don’t engage with your content, cut them loose. You don’t want anyone who does want you.
My final email tip is that if you can’t afford to hire a professional copywriter to write your own newsletter or sales emails, write it yourself using the P.A.S. Formula:
- Lay Out Their Problem: Demonstrate that you understand what your audience is going through. Are you tired of feeling like your business runs you?
- Strum the Pain, Then Agitate Them to Take Action: How would you like to go on a laptop free vacation? You know you can’t because you don’t have systems in place to keep the business going without you.
- Offer Your Solution: What would your life be like if you had a team that could run the business while you enjoy some much deserved time off?
I hope taking the time to think about what you offer and how your business can be more competitive will help you to reinvent your business and find greater success. Take advantage of this crisis to get your house in order. There will be winners out of this recession…and I want one of them to be YOU!
Don’t Forget to Download my New Ebook How to Recession Proof Your Small Business