Feb. 28, 2020
All the signs of a perfect storm are coming together. The stock market has fallen nearly 3,000 points this week and is now in "correction" territory--Wall Street's softer term for the crap is hitting the fan. A significant stock market decline is usually an advance indicator of an impending recession, based on history. Now we have the coronavirus, which is starting to impact economic activity. As more people in the U.S. become infected, this will affect travel and activity and lost business in a whole range of sectors, and people will cocoon themselves at home over fear of getting exposed. That means that less customers will be visiting weight loss centers
In my view, recession this year is almost a certainty. So, what does that mean for weight loss companies? What should you do and what can you do?
First, prepare. Cut any unnecessary costs and staff. Make the most of the "diet season" (now until Memorial Day) because business is likely to tail off in the second half of the year. Follow up on all leads and prospects, and treat current clients very well. Make sure that your website is up to date, functioning properly, and capturing leads. A check of your SEO is in order, to maximize traffic and conversions. Check public comments about your company on Yelp and other forums, and address any negatives or problems.
Another thing to do is to beef up your digital capabilities--delivering your services virtually, via phone coaching, Skype, email, chat, and other online vehicles. Beef up your social media accounts and make sure your Facebook and Instagram accounts are up to date and include "calls to action" and have ways for consumers to connect with you. Do more posts that add value. Consumers will want to access your services online while at home, rather than come to a weight loss center in person. Do you have an online/virtual program now? If not, create one, and price it less than an in-person program.
This may also be a good time to squirrel away some cash and earnings to use as a cushion to weather the recession.
Slack time during a recession is a good time to also update and refine one's email leads database, make more outgoing phone calls, do some deep market research, evaluate franchise operations, form more joint partnerships with companies/services that enhance your service, and to develop some new products and services (diversify) that can be launched in the next, 2021 diet season.
Perhaps you can develop a new guide or content, or You Tube videos that deals with how consumers/dieters can cope with the stress of a recession, and how not to fall into the trap of stress-related overeating.
Think about your local competition. Will any of them be likely to go out of business during the recession? If so, how can you capture their customers?
The recession is coming-- prepare for it! It can be a time of opportunity as well.
Note: John LaRosa, MBA, Marketdata's President & Research Director, an independent analyst of the weight loss market for 31 years, is available for consulting and coaching, for weight loss companies. He can help with business plans, competitor analyses, market potential estimates, new product development, strategy, and more.
Phone: 813-971-8080. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org