Miki Velemirovich is the President of Cargo, a full-service marketing and advertising agency that specializes in helping big brands market to small businesses. Cargo is an expert in the Business to Small Business space coining the term B2SB Marketing®. Prior to joining Cargo, Miki spent 20 years with big brands like IBM and Mercedes-Benz, in a variety of sales and marketing roles, so he knows how to build strategies that drive results and move the needle. And this same experience enables him to understand the pain points of big brands trying to market to small businesses: while leading marketing for the commercial vehicle division of Mercedes-Benz, he spent countless hours understanding the motivations, behaviours and the drivers of small business owners in order to reach them more successfully. Now, his quest persists – to continue to build the Business to Small Business Expertise and help big brands be more successful in reaching this highly emotional target.
What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times? And what steps should they take to keep their small business afloat during the current crisis?
Until we get a proven vaccine out in substantial numbers, we are going to have to find a way to live with this virus. The time it takes to get to a proven and tested vaccine, available in substantial numbers, may define which behaviours stick and become accepted and which do not. Some behaviours will surely be temporary, but some will simply become just how we do things from now on. I define this crisis like the Great Reinvention, where the innovation curve has just accelerated: remote work, tele and virtual everything, “low touch” or contact-free economy, and a digital landscape that we never thought possible in such a short time. This just may be the beginning of a new era. I don’t even see it as the new normal as normal means typical and there will be nothing typical about how we will conduct business post-COVID-19.
Small business owners should enter this phase with an open mind, and desire for innovation. My advice for any business leader is to take a good look at the existing business model and see whether it will still fit the changes in consumer behaviour. That’s the starting point.
Will I be able to serve my customers in the same way? Will my product or service still be relevant? If the answer is no, then it’s time to tweak or change the business model to suit the changing consumer behaviour aspects.
If the broken supply chain was the culprit of much of the revenue loss during the initial days of the pandemic, the business leaders should take a good look at it. More balance, more local content and supplier choice will be the new requirement. And when it comes to business design, resilience and efficiency will provide the new post-COVID-19 business models the speed and lightness they will need to better deal with any new crisis.