Welcome to The Pivot Pod, where we'll figure out together what's next for small business. Hosted by Frances Cook, with a new expert on each episode. Today it's how we can learn from survivors of past crises.
So we've finally confirmed the news that everyone already knew; New Zealand has hit recession, and hit hard, with GDP shrinking 12.2 per cent over the June quarter.
The silver lining is that, in the fine print, economists are cautiously optimistic. Many different economists say we're experiencing a rebound already, and should expect to see it confirmed when the next quarter's numbers are released.
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Low levels of Covid-19 in the community means that when lockdowns are released, so is the pent-up demand that was hiding indoors with the rest of us.
People bounce back into the world ready to spend, produce, innovate, all the things we will desperately need in order to get through the next months.
Which is particularly good news for retail, one of the areas that has been hit hard.
On the latest episode of The Pivot Pod, Laybuy co-founder Gary Rohloff said there were key similarities now to what he'd experienced as CEO of Number One Shoes during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
It's true – even though we're constantly being told we're in "unprecedented times", there are still lessons we can learn from the past.
While a global pandemic, and a virus that keeps us in our homes, is highly unusual, the business sector itself has survived plenty of other unexpected severe shocks.
Rohloff said 2008 taught him how important it was to give customers choice, and to be very clear on what you offered that was valuable.
"We stepped back for a bit and said, what do we really want to offer our customers here, and how best do we achieve that? How do we make the experience in our stores one that they'll tell their friends about?
"It was a mixture of the things you would think about in the normal retail environment, but amplified."
He said in any recession it was important to check all business costs, and make hard decisions about what stayed and what could go.
The one thing he didn't recommend was cutting all marketing activity.
"When you think about it, how will your customers know what you've got if you stop talking to them? And how will you find new customers?"
But while business fundamentals may not change, there are certain advantages of going through a virus-instigated crisis in 2020, rather than in previous years.
As we carefully keep our distance from each other, retail still has the ability to reach customers through the online world.
Rohloff said now was the time to treat your online presence as seriously as physical stores had been until now.
"Without being rude, I think that any retailer who doesn't have an online offer right now, needs to get it, fast.
"That's an expectation now," he said.
"And whatever you do, build it for mobile. Because everybody carries one of these things.
"We know, in our business, 70 per cent of our interaction with people is on mobile."
Rohloff said that while online shopping trends had accelerated forward at a pace previously only seen over several years, now that customers had embraced it, they wouldn't be going back.
Listen to the full interview on The Pivot Pod here