In late March of 2020, no one could hide from the rising negative impact of the pandemic. As the proprietor of a PR firm specializing in supporting innovative creative businesses in the U.S. and Europe, more than one of my entrepreneurial clients made the decision to scale back.

Drawing on several decades’-worth of experiences, I extended my research to take in a broad sampling of counsel from business leaders and trusted experts, then seized the day to advise those still with me. Each of those I wrote to that day already fully understood the value of dynamic, proactive, expert communications support.

After reaffirming my commitment to their businesses, I shared a very well-vetted article on ways to cut costs. A key takeaway was firm encouragement for increasing shrewd marketing.

Erin Sarofsky is one of the super-savvy clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with since 2014. For me, her response to that message provided a key to the future: “Truth really is,” she wrote, “in-the-box creative problem solving is going to be essential … and that is what we do better than anyone!”

Digging deep together with Erin and her colleagues, and my clients at Cutters Studios and other companies, we essentially kicked ass together and came through the fire of the pandemic spectacularly. Improving our core strengths and doing our very best work together, the extended, recalibrated creative problem-solving capabilities lifted all business aspects for these exceptional companies and their clients, too.

Taking stock of the present and setting sights for the future, it is often helpful to see how other successful leaders are plotting their courses. Here are five ideas that are widely heralded as proven pathways to solidifying business success in the most challenging times.

Focus on Profitability

Generally speaking, running a successful company requires a positive cash flow. At the moment, many companies are making drastic staff reductions and otherwise cutting costs, where the impact on their businesses seems devastating. This article I mentioned above provides expert guidance on assessing ways you can cut costs to survive a downturn while also reminding readers of what needs to remain in place to ensure the business can live on.

How to Cut Costs and Spend Less

Bolster Brand Trust

Now as always, your customers’ experiences (CX) are of the utmost importance. Every CX interaction represents your opportunity to rise or fall. For this reason, tightly managing the full spectrum of customer engagements, and strengthening the weakest links, is an essential business priority. Once those measures are in effect and all systems in place for ensuring optimal customer satisfaction are reporting success, the details of those CX wins can provide rocket fuel for your marketing purposes.  The ability to trust your brand is a guidepost for consumers and B2B audiences as well. Here are some priceless suggestions on heightening brand trust and using that to advantage.

Eight Effective Ways to Increase Brand Trust

Get Better

Isn’t it interesting how discussions about, and uses of, generative artificial intelligence are dominating our personal and business newsfeeds? Regardless of how we feel about this technology, every day, we can expect to be exposed to some new angle as innovation spins ever onward. Meanwhile, a commitment to ongoing professional development is a well-established requirement for relevance in an ever-changing world. What is the most effective way for you to improve your core capabilities in ways that truly make you more valuable to those you want to serve? These ideas can help you hone in on this imperative.

Four Steps to Grow as a Thought Leader

Get Busy

Building upon all of the above suggestions to address leaner times, a business owner has taken the steps to address business profitability, the business is making its customers happy, it is making itself even more valuable, and mindfully distinguishing its brand positioning and voice. Now, it’s time to get that information out into the world, using storytelling and/or content marketing approaches that are most certainly at work among the leading businesses in every industry, all around the world. Activating these initiatives requires focus and diligence, much more than it requires big budgets and large-scale marketing teams. Although this story is addressed to B2B audiences, its tenets apply to anyone wanting to powerfully reach all types of audiences.

Five tips to developing B2B content that drives leads

Stay Cool

There is a wise adage about the benefits of behaving like a willow tree: If we wish to avoid breaking, we should learn to bend. The winds of change are howling right now, forcing many highly talented people out of work, and raising the bar for success in countless ways. The standards for something to be considered tried-and-true are being rewritten with each new day. Therefore, all of the above well-advised counsel needs to be refreshed constantly and approached with highly thoughtful diligence. Especially for the suggestion about getting busy, attempts to be forceful, aggressive, or anything other than “cool” are probably destined to fail. For that reason, consider the value of having a presence even in places where you probably won’t make a sale.

How Vendor-Neutral Coverage Can Still Make a Positive Impact