As the Fall approaches, farmers are preparing for the harvest, students are getting re-established in their new surroundings, and business owners are beginning to see the light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.
This light may not be burning brightly for all businesses and industries, but it seems as though a sense of normalcy is beginning to enter the market for the first time since early March. Some industries have thrived and others have endured irreparable damage, the remainder of the year is sure to bring more unexpected twists and turns, but its time that we begin to sift through the ashes and carve a new path for the future.
Nearly every day for the past seven months, I’ve spoken with business owners and professionals in almost every industry and size throughout North America and the UK. It’s no surprise that the pandemic has effected every business in some way. The main difference between success and failure is and always was in the actions of the business leader. During these conversations, I began to notice a trend forming, and started to lovingly group these businesses into four main categories:
This group refused to roll over and die. They absorbed and processed the information available quickly, and reacted to the situation at hand. They took their licks, picked themselves up, and adapted their business models overnight. They understand that the world as we know it may never be the same again, and followed the opportunities as they presented themselves. This is the group that will not only live to fight another day, but that will emerge stronger than ever once things get back to “normal.”
This group is married to the way things used to be. They sat and watched the world change before them, took an 8-week holiday from their business, and seem to think that things are miraculously going to go back to how they used to be. They have no plans on changing, lots of opinions (which they love to share on Facebook), and truly believe they could do a better job running this country than those in power. Although some may catch a lucky break and weather this storm unscathed, many will succumb to stronger competition and the total depletion of their existing customer based in the not-so-distant future.
This group is in for a real eye-opener very soon. They saw a tremendous amount of success throughout the past seven months due to pent up consumer demand, “free” government subsidy funds, and an overall urge to spend the extra cash many have no outlet for. They reaped the rewards of mandatory shutdowns, and seem to believe that this is their new normal, expecting the trend to exist for years to come. They refuse to believe the notion that this spike in sales may only be a serendipitous moment, not likely to be replicated. They also fail to realize that a good percentage of their existing customer base will either a) not have a job next year due to many businesses being forced to close their doors or b) have spent their 5-year budgets this year and will not have a need for their product or service next.
I have a very heavy heart for this group as they’ve been affected dramatically by factors that are simply out of their control. They operate in or cater to a specific industry that simply can’t generate the necessary revenue due to government restrictions, and has very few options to carry on. They may have the desire to pivot their business models, but are simply too late or don’t have the funds to do so. This group also includes those who have lost the passion for their business – either prior to or as a result of the pandemic. It’s going to take extreme determination for an entrepreneur to be able to pull through this, and they simply don’t have anything left in the tank.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours to make as to which group you fall into, and there’s still time for many to change course. Here’s a hint as well – there’s no wrong answer. Everyone has been affected differently, and many newbies to business haven’t been punched in the mouth during previous recessions or economic downturns. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will have its fair share of causalities, as well as a number of successful unicorns emerge from the dust.
If you need help determining what group you fall into, or developing a plan to emerge from the ashes, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. Sometimes the truth hurts, but a hard dose of reality may be exactly what you need to keep that light burning bright for years to come.