COVID-19, often referred to as coronavirus, hit the world—all of us are scrambling, and nobody saw what was coming. If you are a dropshipper, and most especially so if your products are coming from China, your business must have taken a serious hit.
If there is one thing you can be thankful for, it is the fact that you do not have inventory sitting in your house that you cannot ship.
Manufacturers had to put their businesses to a grinding halt, and dropshippers like you are severely impacted, but those who have inventory in their houses are the ones who have a lot of money sitting in their stockrooms.
Today is Apr 4, 2020, and I’d like to share with you my thoughts on what you need to do as a dropshipper during this period. China is now slowly getting back to its feet, but the rest of the world is still fighting the virus.
With China slowly opening its roads again, we are hoping to see a renewed strength in its manufacturing and shipping industries. What we are not sure of, however, is how countries will respond to shipments coming from China, knowing that the virus can live in surfaces for hours and even days.
I do not want to sound like the harbinger of doom, but the coronavirus pandemic is not going away soon.
Brace yourself and read on.
1. Donate if you can for coronavirus victims
A lot of people lost their jobs—and this is not their fault. If you can find it in your heart to share, please do. No amount is too small at a time like this. Many families are going hungry—children have no medication, they have nothing to eat, and their parents cannot go out and find work.
Our nurses, doctors, and all medical practitioners are exhausted. They do not even have the proper equipment to protect themselves while they are risking their lives to treat those who are positive with the disease.
Many families are in despair right now. Share with your neighbors and help those who are in need. That is the first thing that you should do.
2. Cut your dropshipping costs
While China is doing better now, some parts of the world are just starting to feel the brunt of the pandemic.
It is not a good idea to spend so much on your advertising efforts, especially if the products you are selling are non-essential. No one will buy your products.
Reduce your marketing costs and keep your cash for better use. If you are selling non-essential items, stop paying for advertisements for now. It does not make sense to advertise if your suppliers cannot ship.
Surely, you are staying at home right now. If you are paying virtual assistants, I suggest that you temporarily stop their activities for now. An exception is if you have already done your budget for the year and you are sure that you will still be in good financial health even if you pay the salaries of your VAs.
It is painful to let go of these virtual assistants, knowing that they depend on the salary you provide for their work. But it is a business, and you have to make sensible decisions.
3. Contact your suppliers and customers
You need to know the situation of your suppliers. Find out if they are in a lockdown. Ask if they can ship goods. And if they can, where can they ship and how long will it take?
If they are severely impacted, ask if they have a tentative date when they can go back to being operational again. Your suppliers will respond, and also provide you with guidance since you are their business partner.
If all your suppliers are impacted, start looking for alternative suppliers who are at a much better situation. Ask your current dropship suppliers if they can recommend anyone they know.
Call your customers or send them an email. If you have customers who have pending orders, volunteer to issue a refund if you can. Ask them if they are willing to wait, or if they need the money.
Your customers will be angry. You are angry. But this is not the time to get emotional. Deal with your customers and suppliers politely. You are not the only business person suffering from the impacts of this pandemic.
Everyone is suffering.
4. Invest in your business
This period is a slump. However, if you have stashed cash and you think it is going to last, then investing in your business can be a good idea.
This works, provided that you carefully choose the software or program you buy. A lot of businesses today are in the red, and many are forced to conduct a fire sale. Take this opportunity to purchase the tools you need.
For example, I saw SiteGround, a web hosting company, slashing their price from $4 to $0.99. This new price is for three months of hosting, and it is the company’s response to COVID-19. People whose incomes are impacted but still have a dream of putting up a business can still do it now for a really low price.
Economic crises happen from time to time. But the world is going to rebound. Today is the best time for you to re-invest your money if you have more than enough of what you need.
Again, you should only spend if you are financially secure. Check your finances and decide objectively if you are financially healthy. If you are, investing at a time like this is a good move.
Do not let emotions take the better of you. Be objective and use your reason to assess if you are financially secure.
While a lot of people are thinking of stocks and mutual funds, these investments are not secure enough. Just look at what happened to the global stock market—they tanked.
Here are some pointers to think about when investing at this time:
Invest in something that is not likely to lose its value over the long term, like a website or a dropshipping store
Invest in a business that is not going to result in huge losses; a dropshipping store only costs $29 per month if you build it in Shopify
Invest in businesses that do not need physical assets; these assets are too costly, and you are not likely to re-sell them at a higher price except if you are in the real estate industry
Instead of building a portfolio of stocks and bond, invest in a business that you can control. If you already have a dropshipping store, buy the tools that you need to improve your store during this slump. Buy them at a fraction of a cost. Shop for online software that is on sale.
5. Work on your store
If you cannot invest, work on your dropshipping store. It is expected that all dropshipping stores as of this time are barely making a sale.
Why not tweak your store design? Install apps and plug-ins and see how they work. Many apps on Shopify have a seven-day free trial anyway. You do not have to spend to try them.
Just think about it: you are at home, and your business is not making a sale. You have all the time in the world to work on your dropshipping store.
Experiment on apps, create a new logo, write down a business or marketing plan—there is so much you can do while you are at home, and while your business has no orders.
Whatever happens, never shut down your dropshipping store if it is already established. If you are an employee who lost his job and $29 a month is a painful expense, you have to shut down your store for now. You have no other choice. You can re-open it again once all of this is over and if you are back at work.
If you built your store in Shopify, you can shut down your store and re-open it later. Your store will still be there. Surely, your domain name will still be there. Domains are usually paid annually.
Always keep your cool. Have patience. Stay at home. Be optimistic.
This, too, shall come to pass.
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