Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

The Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared. It’s one every business owner, marketing pro and salesperson should know by heart, and if you haven’t already made plans for post-COVID-19 business, now is the time.

Many business owners have already developed cash management strategies and short-term disruption contingencies. How to use the PPP dollars if they receive them, negotiations with lenders and landlords to defer payments and so on. Others have pivoted their business, developing alternative products and services designed to help them survive through the pandemic. What about long-term strategies?

It’s not enough to know how you’re going to manage through the crisis – business leaders also need to have a plan B for what their operation looks like on the other side. Ideally there is also a plan C and a plan D. Maybe even E. The goal is to have strategies for coming out of the business shut-downs.

  • What does your business look like if social distancing lasts another six months? What about 12 months?
  • Do you need to offer online ordering and in-store pickup for your retail goods?
  • How do you recruit, interview and hire?
  • Can you meet with homeowners virtually?
  • Do you buy out a competitor, or perhaps merge?
  • Do you need to update your marketing materials to show installers wearing masks?

    Note, social distancing may be in place, even when your doors are open again.

This is essentially redesigning your business – some of what you’ve already adapted may serve you well, but how does your marketing need to change? What about your sales process? If you hope to return to in-home sales, what if that’s not possible, or not possible to the former extent? Don’t rely on others to tell you how this will work. If you’re a salesperson, share your ideas with your sales manager. If you’re a sales manager, meet with your team and talk through scenarios where the old ways of lead development sales calls are no longer available. If you’re a business owner, tap into your network, including those in other industries.

The good news is sales and marketing fundamentals won’t change – the right message, delivered to the right person, at the right time, will create an emotional reaction that drives decisions. Even though the future isn’t clear, you can still plan for success.