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What to Do When Your Revenue Stream Goes Dry

blogpost covid-19 strategy Jun 30, 2020
Dry revenue streams | How to find new opportunities and increase your business's revenue

Your job as CEO is to lead your company to new opportunities, capitalize on them, and generate revenue streams. But the question is, how do you do that well in a fast-changing environment like the one we’re in?

Owners have often referred to their various revenue streams as “rivers of cash.”

The metaphor flows (pun intended) because one can visualize having to “navigate” these rivers. There are "rapids" of activity; decisions that "make waves"; and resources that push you along like "currents".

And of course, there's the scary reality: these rivers of cash can also go dry...

Finding Alternative Rivers

One of the biggest changes that I've observed among the owners I work with during the Coronavirus crisis, is that many need to find new revenue streams because the river they were on is now pretty shallow.

For some, they are finding (sometimes accidentally) that there are alternatives to where orders used to come from.

Where they used to do business with industry X, they find themselves doing more business with industry Y.

Where they used to get more orders from a particular kind of function or department, they are finding another department is calling them, to their great surprise. 

In other words, they are discovering that there are alternate rivers of cash.

Maybe you're this lucky business owner, maybe not. But even if you aren't there's an important point here: even in a depressed economy, there are still new revenue opportunities, new "rivers of cash."

Don't believe me?

There Are Still Revenue Streams With Water

If a $21.5 trillion economy shrinks by 10% that is a depression level event. That’s a degree of shrinkage that can only be described as massive.

It's a shock to the system. It's devastating. It means millions of unemployed people.

It is a major setback. 

However, that 10% contraction—and all its ill effects—still leaves us with a nearly $20 trillion economy. Pause on that for a moment. $20 trillion dollars.

That's still an awful lot of purchase orders, salaries, taxes, etc.

It is still a massive and significant economy. In fact, it would be what the economy was (even inflation-adjusted) 5 years ago.

The point is that it is still a substantial economy to work with. 

Which means, you as the CEO, have one essential job right now...

The CEO’s New Job

Your challenge as a business leader, as somebody involved in directing their smaller enterprise or even responsible for setting strategy for a larger company (from a marketing and sales perspective) is this:

How do you find and get into those rivers of cash that are still flowing?

This question goes beyond, “Who in my current client base can I call to get an order?”

It gets you to think about where in your "ecosystem" do you recognize orders are being placed—and why? Where among the suppliers that supply you? Where among the related industries that you serve Where (anywhere) in your space do you see that happening? 

Your next job is capitalizing on those new revenue sources.

Short-Term Thinking for Long-Term Success

For owners of smaller B2B businesses, this current environment is going to call on you to be much nimbler. To “zig” where the economy's “zagging.” To find where the opportunities are, where those rivers of cash are and jump in. Here are some ways to do that:

1. Don't over-engineer the solution or the opportunity window will close.

A client I serve provides services to municipalities. He's found (surprisingly) that they're getting way more orders because their clients are working off of a pre-approved budget and they want to make sure they get the work done before those budgets get reset.

So, they're getting more orders to fill than last year—which means they've had to adjust their business model and service offering to keep up with demand. As a result, they've actually grown in sales (at least for the short term.)

The Takeaway: Don't get hung up on engineering the absolute perfect product or service. Just ask your existing customer base or your potential customers these questions: “How can I help you? What do you need?

2. When you hear a need, respond to it.

This is what U.K.-based small catering business owner, Hattie Mauleverer, had to do when all of her 2020 catering contracts got canceled. She pivoted to offering home-delivered frozen meal kits—an idea that she had had on the back burner for years—because she heard the sudden need for more in-home dining solutions.

Mothballing her original business model was stomach-churning, but ultimately it saved her revenue—since her new home-delivery venture has taken off with wild enthusiasm from the market. She says she had the “aim of bringing in maybe £20,000 in our first year”, but actually brought in £15,000 in March alone.

The Takeaway: Jump in and offer your solutions. You may just find that people say, “Wow, I'm so glad you called because we're actually trying to figure out this problem! We didn't know who could help us."

Increasing Your Revenue Is Possible

Do I think any of this is easy? No, but it is doable, and others are doing it. Believe it or not, this is happening every day, throughout America and the world. And, smart operators are jumping in, identifying the rivers of cash, and taking a swim. 

If you're looking for a simple, step-by-step process to help you think through your new revenue model, be sure to check out our free masterclass. It'll walk you through how to uncover more revenue opportunities in just 45-minutes and in 5 simple steps.