Philie Group Blog

Create Your Plan Forward
By Mike Philie

Whether you’re the CEO, a senior leader, or a sales representative, you’re working hard every day to refill your business pipeline. Three factors will impact your recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis. Focus on the business impact you experienced, your timing, and your sense of urgency going forward.

Your World Today

Start with a realistic grasp of your current situation. Certain parts of your business may be thriving, while the other areas have been negatively affected due to a change in the mix of your business. You’ll also be evaluating your staffing needs as most PPP stimulus money has been depleted. As your product mix may have changed, you may see a need for different skills needed in parts of the business. Finally, your existing customers may have separated and here are three categories to consider.


The first category has hardly been affected by the slowdown and their business is at a normal, or in fact, even better level. They may be leaning on you and hope you’ll provide the same type of products as before, or perhaps a broader mix, depending on their specific market.


The second category of customers are only now beginning to discuss how they will reengage with their customers, and their marketplace. They are open to new ideas from their trusted partners, as there is no marketing handbook for emerging from a health pandemic.


The third category has been severely impacted, and may take a long time to regain their footing, if they do at all. Think about the sports and event related industries, the retailers and the restaurants. For you to recover, you’ll need to replace this business as their re-entry into the market will face severe headwinds.

What’s In Your Way?

This will be an all-hands-on-deck effort for it to be successful. You may have some folks who are resistant to change and new ideas. Their thoughts about a recovery include “waiting for things to get better, because they always do.” While those ideas are admirable, I’m not sure that there’s time available just to wait this out. You’ll need to win the hearts and minds of all of your key influencers in the business and help them to align with the recovery efforts. Their support and involvement in the effort will be key.


Staying close to your other stakeholders will be very important during this time. Banks, creditors, and suppliers will all be looking to see if you have a plan. It doesn’t have to be the best plan, but it needs to be a plan. A plan that has been shared with everyone and is achievable.


You must have the ability to make the timely decisions that will lead you forward. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. There will not be room for complacency and indecision in your actions.

Your Plan Forward

Take care of your people first. Based on your current needs, and your projections, who will you need to help you achieve the goals you set forth. Some of your existing staff may need additional training as the needs of the business have changed. In other circumstances, you may need completely different skill sets that aren’t available on your team today. Evaluate each area and make those decisions in a timely manner.


The post-COVID core business is vital and you need to protect and nurture it. Seek out opportunities that can expand your share of their spend. The revenue from those key accounts, products and services, will buy you time as you re-engineer your other offerings.


With transition and change comes opportunities — for those who are prepared. Create small teams to identify and build the case for new products and services that you’ll be able to provide. Act swiftly on their findings.


Don’t let complacency set in! Create expectations that are high enough to make a substantial difference for the business. Effective and timely communication and daily execution excellence will be two important drivers in preparing your company for its best and brightest future.


These are only some of the tasks that your business will depend on for success. Have a clear picture of where you want to go, a map of how to get there and engage your team to make it happen. If you have any comments or thoughts as to how you’ve approached these issues, please send me a note or include them below.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at


This blog originally published in Printing Impressions.


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