We’re going through an unprecedented period right now. The professional world has been turned upside-down and inside-out. Companies that have long resisted the remote team model are now forced to accept it. Many businesses have effectively been forced to adopt an entirely different business model within a matter of days.
“Is It Advisable and Ethical to Market My Business During a Crisis?”
Amid all of this, there is the entrepreneur who had been planning a big launch at about this time but is now hesitant. Is it even feasible now? Do you have to wait until all of this passes? How long will that take? And if you can make money during this period, is it even ethical to do so?
These are natural and good questions. In our agency, we have dealt with numerous people who are thinking those very things, and we have approached the situation by asking two more concrete and definitive questions:
- Does your target market still need what you offer, regardless of the market situation? There are businesses that sell things that simply will not be in demand during this period…but there are also plenty of businesses that sell things that absolutely will be in demand. Could you imagine if all of the toilet paper manufacturers were to suddenly just stop making toilet paper just because they got this vague notion that they’re supposed to do that? None of us want to see (or feel) that.
- Could it be possible that your target market needs your offer even more than before? An example of this would be companies that make certain medical supplies or that provide online collaboration tools. In this case, not only is it advisable that you push forward with your launch, but you actually have a moral imperative to do so. The world needs what you offer, so offer it!
Many people, upon realizing that they should keep doing business, will then follow up with another question:
“But Is It Okay for Me to Charge for My Services During a Crisis?”
Yes, it absolutely is okay. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer products and services for free when you can, but your ability to help is going to be much more limited if you’re doing everything for free.
So here are two more questions to address this issue:
- Did you help to cause the problem? If a doctor were to keep someone sick so that he can keep charging for treatment, that would be unethical. But how many entrepreneurs are actually guilty of something like that?
- Do you offer something that helps to ameliorate the problem? It may not be that you are able to provide more respirators or face masks, but maybe you offer solutions to help people continue to interact remotely and maintain their sanity while in quarantine. Little things like that actually do contribute to help us solve the problems we are facing as a society.
If you didn’t help to cause the problem and you offer a solution – or at least a treatment for the symptoms – then keep charging! Businesses that charge for what they do will always be able to do more total good than those that don’t. You can’t help anyone when you’re bankrupt. Hey, if you want to give away some things for free, great! Do it! But don’t feel like you have a moral imperative to suddenly stop turning a profit altogether. Not only would doing that limit the total amount you are able to help, but it could possibly turn you and your staff into additional liabilities that strain society’s altruistic resources even further.
Examples of Businesses Launching During the COVID-19 Crisis
Here are some examples of our own real-life clients who are conducting launches in the midst of this crisis:
- A bookkeeper training and business course. Our client teaches stay-at-home moms the skills necessary to become bookkeepers and shows them how to find clients and make real money doing bookkeeping work.
- A WordPress coding course. This client gives independent professionals the opportunity to expand their opportunities and increase their earning potential by learning some valuable skills within a short period.
- A ghostwriting business course. This client teaches people the business fundamentals of ghostwriting and helps them to find their first clients.
If you offer a solution that will help people to earn a living, fight boredom, or maintain optimism and health during the crisis, you should not have any qualms about launching your business while this is going on and making good money. We all seek payment for the work we do. Is it better to get paid for a useful solution or for something that doesn’t address real problems? Obviously, it is better to get paid for a useful solution…and yet, for some reason, people often seem to think that the opposite is true, and that is preposterous.
If you are poised to launch a new or improved offer from your business, the thing to do at this point is to perform a beta launch as soon as possible. Make it available to your existing contacts at a reduced rate or under beneficial terms. Get feedback from them to see how you can improve or reposition it to give it broader appeal and better solve problems. Once you have done that, book a consultation with us to see how we can help you to perform a full launch and propel your business to the next level.