We have all learned in the last few months that not only is “change inevitable” but it is astonishingly unpredictable. Forecast Covid anyone? Did your business plan take that into account?
Businesses all over the country, of all sizes have had two basic outcomes from Covid implications: It was either “good for my business as we are essential,” or, “we have been damaged.” Whichever scenario fits your business, please consider this question:
Are you taking the position of “we need to wait to see what happens in the next few months” or are you thinking “this shook up all the business plans/models as we knew them, what do we need to do NOW?”
Here are a few basic thoughts for both the Covid winners and the Covid losers as you consider what to do today as well as down the road:
Are you carefully evaluating the financial stability of your customers? I spoke to a CEO of a mid-sized manufacturing/distribution company who said they had some big orders placed with factories overseas but after Covid hit, a few customers canceled. Who pays for that order? Do we tell the overseas vendor we will not pay because our customer will not pay us, or do we just add the goods to an already burgeoning inventory? Some can afford to do that, many cannot.
It is imperative to make sure the marketplace knows if you are financially stable in these times, but you must also consider the A/R side of Covid. How do you establish customer ability to pay without alienating them? Establish some criteria. Communicate it.
Has your website been a nemesis? Is it an outdated storefront that gets minimal attention? If so, consider a few things reported by Digital News this month:
- Businesses who sell online have experienced a 46% growth
- 64% plan to spend more on their sites and
- 52% more on social media
- 67% will spend more on commerce technology and tools.
Where are you and what have you considered? This is not a place to leave unattended, yet it is often the most ignored. Personal contact (traditional sales) will return, but you may not be able to solely rely on that to secure business as much as in the past. How well positioned are you for a non-contact sales world? This is as important for B2B as B2C.
Which have you considered? How have you evaluated the ROI and is it time to pull the trigger and get it done? What will give you an advantage over the competition? Cash flow may be dismal for some companies but there is investment money looking for opportunities. The Wall Street Journal reports “investors are sitting on the biggest pile of cash ever.” Can you build a “come back” story for them?
Do not spend money on your website or marketing and sales efforts without a competitive advantage-based value proposition. That message can be a strong tie breaker for your customers and prospects when deciding where to buy. Do not let prospects think their selection of a company is a crap shoot. Give them a solid reason to select you.
These are fundamental steps to consider. Use the spare time you may have because of shutdowns and put together an action plan. Think ahead. Do not plan just for the rest of this year, plan in detail for 2021. Be that business that outperforms the competition by acting very deliberately. Create your own competitive advantages!
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. — Thomas Jefferson