Are You Ready for Business as Usual?

strategic planning Apr 30, 2020

Peter Hannes IV

 

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”  - Confucius

            We’re an entire month into our quarantine with at least another four weeks to come. Even with the best doomsday scenario planning, it was hard to see this coming. But this too, shall pass. The question is, will you and your business be ready?

 

            Two months of closed or limited operations puts a strain on any business.  The months immediately following the safer-at-home order will make or break a lot of companies. To a lot of companies, the coming months will be the most critical in the history of their business. The need to be prepared and have a plan is at an all-time high. Each business has their own model and processes, but there are core concepts that every business needs to make sure they have covered when they fully re-open.

 

  • What are my customers going to want first when we’re open again?

 

            Most businesses offer a variety of products and services. The customers that come to see you have been waiting weeks to get to you. What’s the first thing that’s on their mind? Make a list 5-10 items deep of what you think people will want first and focus on how to deliver. If you’re a bank, you’re probably going to get more calls for refinance than new mortgages. Plan accordingly.

 

  • If I were to open for business today can I deliver my full lineup?

 

            If a customer walked into your store right this instant, is there anything you can’t do for them that you normally would? If the answer is yes, that is completely acceptable. Disruptions to the supply chain are inevitable, you might be short on necessary equipment. But you have to have a plan to fulfill that need. You cannot afford to let business walk simply because you’re not prepared to meet the need. There is a huge difference between “I can’t do that.” and “I can absolutely help with that, but it might take longer than normal given everything that’s going on.”  Customers are understanding. They’ve waited weeks to try and do business again, a longer lead time is not the end of the world.

 

  • Who have I missed since I’ve been closed?

 

            Nearly all businesses have repeat customers. If you look at historical sales reports you’ll see trends of customer habits. Whether it’s “every April we get this order” or “this customer orders from us every few months” your customers out there have missed you. Maybe they haven’t needed your product or service in the time things have been closed, but when we’re all back to normal again, they’ll need you like they always have. It says a lot about a company that is proactive and can reach out to this customer before they reach out to you.

 

            This pandemic will end someday, but the consequences of not being prepared could last forever. We are all itching for our businesses to safely open again. It’s easy to look ahead to the future and just say to yourself, “well when we open again, business will be fine.” That’s hoping it to happen, that’s not a goal. Your goal should be “when we’re open again, our customers will come back, we’ll be ready, and business will thrive.” You need to take concrete steps to make that goal a reality, because a goal without a plan is just a dream.

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