This blog originally published in Printing Impressions
No one signs up for adversity. No one signs up for having to deal with a global pandemic. No one knows for sure how long and to what degree business, and life, will be effected. And these conditions no doubt are unpredictable at best. But you know what, here we are and now it’s about the choices that we all make. We can hunker down and “hope” things get better. Or we can forge ahead the best that we can, and work on the things that will allow not only our businesses to survive, but for a better, stronger, more agile business once we get through this.
This isn’t a rah-rah speech. This is trying to play the cards that you’ve been dealt. Some parts of the country and some businesses have only been mildly affected thus far. While others have market conditions that are devastating. And while there is no one cure for all businesses in all market segments, there are some basic things that you should be focused on during these times.
If you’re in the solutions business, then guess what — your customers and prospects need more help today than ever before in solving their business communication problems. With events being canceled or postponed, how will they stay top of mind with their audiences, how will they keep their members informed if there’s no conference or event? Your customers are still trying to sell things and communicate their message to keep their businesses going, and they need all the creative ideas that they can get. That said, this is no time to call and just ask if there’s anything you can quote on. If you were ever a trusted resource to your customers, now is the time to step up.
Internally you need to assess the work you have, the work you think you’ll have and what type of staffing you’ll need to meet those demands. These are difficult times, unprecedented times, and you need to make the right decisions to allow for business continuity now and in the future. Now more than ever, having good data and dashboards on your business is critical to helping you make these important decisions. Get with your staff and talk to them about the challenges that are ahead and the options that can be explored.
Depending upon your situation, you may want to reach out to your lenders and strategic partners and discuss terms and allowances that can be made for the short term. If you are in good financial condition, you still need to protect and be prudent with cash.
Don’t be left behind. When there wasn’t so much uncertainty in our markets, you could wait out a downturn. Today, as in the recession of 2008, you either get better or you’ll be left behind. Now is the time to work on increasing productivity and efficiency, driving out unnecessary costs and becoming more competitive. Work to become a more valued, trusted resource to your customers or you will be left behind when things do get better.
There are no silver bullets here. There is no “just do these three things,” and everything will be OK. Leading in uncertain times is a challenge not for the faint of heart. Pull your team together (even through teleconference) and communicate, execute, evaluate and then do it all over again. I’m happy to speak with anyone who is looking for ideas or validation of their plan. And 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 www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.