Time to respond to my impetuous friend Chris Brown’s blog RIGHT-SIZE YOUR BUSINESS. NOW…….SHRINK OR SINK! BY CHRIS BROWN, FORMER CEO OF WIEDENBACH BROWN – Energy Watch News He is right, that’s right, I agree with him, he is right, but in my humble opinion, for different reasons. He contends: “plan for the worst case, that the epidemic is going to stay with us, that vaccines for all are still a long away, and that major economic disruption is going to be ongoing, and is a new fact of business life.”
I like his other option: “plan for a future that is rich with opportunity. That we can and that we will adjust to the new normal.”
Planning for the worst case may be safe and reduces risk but does not prepare you for the opportunities that planning for the best provides. The vaccine is not a long way away, it may happen before year end. Pfizer just announced that their vaccine is 90% effective and they have produced 100 million shots, already. Moderna’s vaccine is 94.5% effective and will start rolling out in December. That’s significant. That’s planning for the best case. Major economic disruption most likely will not occur now. Balanced government prevents wild swings in economic policy…….if the GOP hold the majority in the Senate, that’s what we will have, checks and balances. Pandemics come and they go. Some hit harder than others as history tells us, and we know, unfortunately, they will be in our future again but we are getting better and better at overcoming such epidemics ……science tells us that over and over again. We can and we will adjust to the new normal this time and the next time too, when it hits us again sometime down the road. Plan for the best…
From a business standpoint, all my life, my interest has been strategic marketing, in my career in the lighting industry, and my work in Attardi Marketing as well as an adjunct professor. This is what I see now: COVID will change everything, strategically speaking! The primary reason is customer buying habits will change dramatically and forever. Accountants follow the money; marketeers follow the customer.
I had a chance to talk to the owner of a local pizzeria (they make great thin crust Bayonne pizza). He said he is having the best year ever! What??????? I said, they locked down the country in March. What are you talking about? Well, pizza is a take home product. He said he could not keep up with the pick-up and delivery business. He adapted: some waiters became cooks to keep up with the increase; others went to delivery, and yes others were furloughed. All, a positive effect to the business. And as luck would have it, the biggest effect was half of his service was always outside……so he expanded the outside dining area and when NJ approved outside dining and 25% indoors, he was ready and he is mobbed almost every night. By the way, they had to hire more people………. “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s always too crowded” (thanks Yogi).
Follow the customer. Thanks to COVID, or not, buying habits are changing. This is a dramatic disruptive change and does not happen often in human history. When it does happen, like overnight, you better “RIGHT SIZE YOUR BUSINESS” as Chris alerts us. Because of this horrendous pandemic, some businesses will adjust strategically to this reality and thrive, some will not survive.
Will this change affect our industry, your business? Let’s take a look. How much of your business is done online? If none, then you are out of business and don’t know it yet (Illumigeddon). Just check out what happens this year on Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday. In 2019, 75% of all sales were done online, even on Black Friday. Most likely this will be greater this year…
Consumer buying habits have been changing for some time. Here are the major reasons why:
THE Cs HAVE IT: Convenience; Choice; Customization; Cookies; Control; Cost; Communications. Now we can add COVID! The game changer…………. Opposition to doing business online has just disappeared, in every industry, not just retail. EVERYWHERE! Part-time and even full-time working at home will be the dominate work activity. (You think you have problems, cannot image the effect on the commercial real estate industry). E-commerce will eliminate the outside sales force at a faster pace, or rather, they will be working at home. Human contact will suffer but that is where we are headed. So if your customers do not want to see you, do not want to be contacted physically, prefer to place orders in cyberspace, how do you adapt to the changing buying habits of your customer? Do you have the skill sets to adapt to this change, does your sale force? Nothing happens until someone sells something. So don’t get rid of your outside sales force….re-train them. They must develop new selling skills. You are going to need them now more than ever. Want to stop now and tease you a little. My next blog will discuss the sales skills necessary to compete successfully in the COVID new normal.
…..but first Chris has something to say next……watch out for it.