How To Make an Essential Business During Tough Times

A trophy representing businesses that are winning during tough times

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Apple has always had a product as a priority mentality and business model. Think back to 2008 and the global financial crisis. The company released one of the most expensive smartphones in history back then and never looked back. It’s a great example of how to make your business essential, regardless of the times.

Apple did it for one simple reason: they knew that their loyal customers wanted and needed that product. The user experience was too good to pass up because it made their buyers feel good. Even during a crisis, people still lined up for blocks to buy that phone. The launch was successful, and Apple solidified its position in the market while others failed.

…And they did all of this without deviating from the company’s primary offering.

A great company can figure out a way to enhance its products and become indispensable to its target audience. Of course, this doesn’t happen without strategic planning and understanding your audience. Or without implementing core business principles, taking risks, and changing your mindset. On that note, here are some tips for creating and maintaining an essential business that should steer you down the right path.

Essential Business Tip #1 – Reposition Your Offer

How can you reposition your offer? Take a page out of Global Work and Travel’s playbook. During a time when flying is extremely difficult, our client turned things around. They did it by repositioning their offer in a way that makes sense for the travel industry – and turned them into one of the most successful travel agencies in the world during the pandemic.

Instead of focusing on the now, the company has directed their marketing efforts towards packages for the future. It gives people something to look forward to – and as a result, their sales have increased.

Global Work and Travel didn’t have to switch niches or close down offices. The point is that a different revenue stream can compensate for a dead one. Instead of focusing on short-term relevance, you can secure your company’s future by planning ahead.

Reposition your product (or your services) in packages that make sense for your customers. Assure your audience that there’s something to look forward to. Offer your clients a chance to invest in future partnerships and products that will help them.

Essential Business Tip #2 – Don’t Jump Into the Cutback Mindset

Companies sometimes get scared too quickly during a tough period. They often respond by immediately making cutbacks to save money. That’s not even the right short-term solution in many situations…

It’s much better to assess and react to the situation in a measured fashion.

So, how should you respond to a crisis? Figure out a way to make your business essential. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, take action instead of accepting defeat… And defeat is precisely what a cutback mindset often indicates.

If you have an offer that’s considered “nice to have,” turn it into a “must have.” Think about any aspects of your business that you may have overlooked. Look at your goods and services from a different angle and highlight features that would benefit your audience. 

Answer the question: why is now the best time to invest in your product?

If you don’t have a compelling answer, then ask: what needs to happen in order for NOW to be the best time to invest in this product?

You may have to workshop this idea with your business coach or team to develop the answer.

Essential Business Tip #3 – The Idea of Failure Shouldn’t Scare You

Shama Hyder is a successful entrepreneur who started her company when she was just 23 years old, and during a recession. She grew her company by around 400% in the first year alone. It was hard, but not impossible… And it taught her valuable lessons.

Failure is not something to fear as an entrepreneur. That fear will suppress the drive and enthusiasm that are critical for business owners to succeed. To help overcome her fear, Shama asks, “What tools do we need? Who do we need to work with?”

Don’t obsess about what could go wrong. Shama focuses on retaining the company’s loyal customers and generating interest from new ones whenever possible. With that in mind, here’s an essential business tip from a massively successful entrepreneur (and Predictable Profits client):

Always ask yourself, “How can we serve? How can we provide value?”

This mindset helps keep your audience’s loyalty and your business reputation intact… And maybe even stronger than ever before.

Essential Business Tip #4 – Don’t Alienate Profitable Markets

Sometimes companies have to learn a lesson the hard way. A case in point: the Neiman Marcus bankruptcy story. Here’s a company that had a strong brand and a loyal audience. The problem was that the department store chain did not cater to millennials… Not even when the global financial crisis started affecting the company’s bottom line.

In contrast, Nordstrom, another luxury department store chain, embraced a more diverse customer base. The company understood the need to expand its audience during hard times, even if it meant branching out to a slightly different market and adopting new product packages.

To compete in a tough economy, sometimes you have to pivot to changes in the market and create a new message by asking yourself, “Who is buying right now?”

By offering something that potential clients needed, Nordstrom gained a bigger following. This goes to show that many of the mistakes in the B2B and B2C sphere have to do with the mindset.

A conservative mindset that alienates prospects and a fear of risk can do a lot of harm to your business during hard times. A global crisis can be an opportunity to solidify your brand – and even find other lucrative revenue streams.

You can look at a tough period as a great opportunity. It can give you a different outlook on the market and your business. Look around and you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities you can find… Opportunities that are easily overlooked when times are good.


Opportunities are around every corner, whether you’re in the B2B or B2C sphere. You can still make your business relevant and your offering matter if you adapt to the new market conditions. Identify what you can do better than your competitors, and find ways to expand that part of your business.

Understand your customer base and identify its needs. Think about how you can pivot without making too many new investments or changes. Find that unique aspect of your business that you can promote to turn the tides in your favor.

Let go of your fearful mindset and take action by seizing opportunities that weren’t there before.

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