COVID-19 is changing things — that much is very obvious at this point. Businesses are going to need to adjust if they expect to survive.
As of March 16, 2020, President Trump announced that he expects this to last until July or August, if not longer. So, what does that mean for you?
I've spent the past several weeks talking with clients, industry leaders, family, and friends. Everyone starts the conversation hesitantly joking about the toilet paper shortage and grocery shopping frenzy, but then the conversations steadily go more serious as we talk about income.
- What are parents going to do with schools closing and sending kids home?
- How are businesses going to help their employees stay healthy, care for their kids, and still manage to generate the revenue they need to keep paychecks coming?
- How do you deal with the fear this causes and the impact it has on our economy?
I can't predict the future — no one can. But I have spent time doing research and talking to colleagues around the world. As marketing agencies, we have unique insights into what impacts a business' bottom line.
Additionally, our agency specializes in working with companies that trade their time and expertise for revenue by offering professional services to business clients. So we know what you're going through from first-hand experience.
The good news... as a professional services provider, you are probably already uniquely positioned to be an industry leader in this new world if you make the right moves now.
Are you going to adapt or react?
My inbox is full of emails about how companies are responding to COVID-19... and I'm sure yours is no different.
- Loom is allowing unlimited videos on their free plan, slashing the price of the paid plan in half, and making their software free to educators and schools.
- Chick-Fil-A announced that they are closing their dining rooms temporarily but keeping drive-thru, pickup, and delivery methods available.
- Nike closed their physical stores in multiple countries around the world. They are still allowing online ordering and they are paying their full-time employees while their stores are closed.
These businesses are reacting to change. This is smart and necessary, but it's not feasible as a long-term strategy.
You can only operate under these conditions for a limited time. How long can Nike keep their stores closed before they can't continue to pay workers? How long can Chick-Fil-A keep their dining rooms closed?
Even when the immediate panic is over and the pandemic has run its course, what are the long-term implications?
- Will employees prefer to work for employees that offer remote work options to have better job security if a similar situation happens in the future?
- Will more business meetings happen virtually and reduce the need for travel as people get more accustomed to software that helps them communicate over a distance?
- What will the job market look like after companies have laid off so many employees?
I strongly believe that the key to survival now and in the long-run is adaptation. For example:
- Bench Builders, is adapting by setting up the ability to offer their Strategic Planning, Management Training, and Business Consulting services virtually. They are also hosting informational Q&A webinars on relevant issues like managing a remote workforce and dealing with HR complications.
- Our Marketing Department is providing additional support to our clients that are embracing changes and delving into new software like webinars and remote working.
- We're empowering our own Tech Support Department to be able to remotely support people that are now relying on their devices more than ever before. They are equipped to help you with new challenges like video streaming as well as the usual support for misbehaving technology.
Identify ways to adapt your service offerings to meet the new needs of your market.
Simple Changes You Can Make Now
As a professional services provider, you are perfectly positioned to work remotely with your clients and coworkers.
You were probably already accustomed to regular meetings with clients and your team. Those meetings can be easily moved online with the help of software like Zoom. They allow both one-to-one meetings and group meetings for a small monthly fee.
- Make sure you get a good headset with a good microphone in it.
- Test the software with friends, family, or other team members before you use it for a client for the first time. You need to be comfortable with the controls and make sure your audio works.
- Make sure you have a computer and internet connection that supports streaming. (Talk to our Tech Support team if you aren't sure.)
Modify Your Services
Think about the services that you already have. How can you modify those to meet new needs as they arise while still preparing for a future 6 months from now and beyond?
A great example of reacting and adapting is Bench Builders. They are a business consulting firm. Their specialty is helping business owners, HR teams, and managers run their business smoothly, effectively, and profitably.
Knowing that their customers are faced with new situations, they added informational Q&A webinars to their service offerings. They also added new packages that specifically address concerns that people have such as managing a remote workforce.
These service offerings are timely and helpful — but they are also services that they can continue to offer in the future even when the current panic subsides. Companies are still going to be managing remote workers and they will still have questions related to management, strategic planning, and HR.
They are also considering adapting some of their training programs that were only traditionally offered in person in a classroom setting into ones that can be delivered live online. This will allow them to be extremely competitive in a future workforce with distributed managers that are working remotely.
What are you going to change? How can we help?
Waiting it out and relying on "duct tape and superglue" short-term solutions isn't the answer to the problems you're facing right now.
It's time to embrace change and set yourself apart in your industry. How are you going to thrive?
How can we help?
You're going to have to get the message out there about the changes you're making and how they can help your customers. It's no small feat — we know.
Contact Us today and let's talk about how we can help you transform and grow instead of being left behind.