April 21, 2020 (by Dave Parsons)
As a small business owner, I have to think; What do we do now? The pandemic will end and the economy will begin to recover. We will again do what we should be doing, running our businesses. The shutdown and upcoming restart is a new challenge none of us saw coming. No, there was not a pandemic shutdown in my disaster plan book, yet.
So, what do we do now? We need to realize one thing, that for most of us with an entrepreneurial spirit, this is a restart to a race we were already running. Think about it for a minute, the race was going, and we were either losing or winning over our competitors. We either did or did not have the dominant market share, brand recognition, or top presence in the market. Now we have been told to go back to the starting line and get ready to rerun the race.
The rerun of the race is valid even more so for business as sleep is the great eraser. The time between your business impacting a consumer, and the amount of time that consumer sleeps, eventually wears away the recall ability of the ad. Many studies on sleep and memory reorganizing have shown a relationship between the retention of the brand’s awareness. We have had a lot of sleep since the government in your state shut it down. So we are all restarting to some extent with a new race, in close to the same starting position. Though the starting position of each racer (business) is relatively parallel, it is granted that some of the starting positions on this race are altered based on those who continued to market during this time or could get market attention.
Business is not going to return to normal in this new race, but your chance to change your pace and be the leader for the first time (or remain) is better than it has ever been! You can change the whole course of your business with this restart.
What should you do?
- Think like a start up again. Yes, this means you will have to go back to long hours and dig deep for those wins. While it is something obvious, what you should remember is YOU DID IT ONCE, AND YOU HAVE GREAT KNOWLEDGE TO MAKE IT FASTER AND BETTER THIS TIME!
- Rebuild your business plan. The fundamentals of business in post COVID are going to be much different. While some guidance is not clear at all, you can assume some of the changes you will see. From there you can build a plan and revise as you go, instead of creating a plan when you should have restarted already.
- Reimagine your Vision statement for the business. The vision will need to be checked, rechecked, and reimagined to get you to win this time. If at some point, you thought you should have changed your vision to compete better, now is the time. Maybe a focus on the business you want to be now with your past experience?
- Reconnect with your old customers. If you have not been communicating with your customers out of fear of not sounding like you are capitalizing on the pandemic, then you need to reach out now. Don’t forget to reach out to those customers that tried you once but went to your competitor. Remember, this is a restart!
- Friends and Family plans can be better now. You have proven you can start a business and run it. That proven commodity will be more enticing to friends and family to fund your restart in labor, funds, or other support. The community of your network can be a driving force.
- Advertise. Yes, we’re an advertising business, and live life consulting and advising on advertising and marketing. Though it is key that you get out of the box fast with advertising messages that match your vision and new foundation. Remember the minds have been erased by sleep and time, and it is a perfect time to remind and gain new customers. But be selective, the retooled marketing plan as part of the business plan, must match where you advertise. Keep working on the plan.
Vince Lombardi built a great football team with some amazing leadership. One of the critical components of his leadership was his insistence on the vision he had. He would never accept anyone to vision less than the ultimate goal of the win. It is time for a bit of Lombardi in your management with a good quote:
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up”!
Get up and restart this amazing business.