Since March 2, 2020, The ROI's Co-Founders have been offering insights, strategic approaches, and online resources for independent retailers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
These appeared first in The ROI NEWS.
We believe there are not one, but three(!) pandemics occurring simultaneously right now. Of course, the COVID-19 virus elevated the word "pandemic" to a status that identifies even a generation of babies.
But the other two pandemics are equally paralyzing: the nationwide (even worldwide) protests of racial injustice, and the severe unemployment from the economic collapse.
Indeed, three concurrent, worldwide sinkholes. We call it the "pandemic trifecta of 2020."
So, what's an intelligent retailer to think now?!
Here's one idea that we believe can help you have more confidence in your immediate decisions. Think beyond this week and this month.
Just put a check mark in the appropriate box. Make a copy for yourself, and date it. It's just a way to try to capture your assumptions.
Granted, you are guessing. But we all are!
However, the decisions you must make now about when, how and why to re-open your store(s) will benefit by how you imagine the circumstances 90 days from now.
It's best that you not waste the lead time.
As always, your judgment – your informed judgment – is your greatest asset.
We once knew a lady of an earlier generation who steadfastly championed the idea that Labor Day should be considered New Year's Eve, and the Tuesday after Labor Day as the start of the New Year. (Yes, she was ahead of her time in many other ways as well.)
Here's her reasoning about the "real" New Year's Eve: as summer fades away and vacations end, the new school year starts up; the baseball season pennant race is on; football games begin. As all this happens, she explained, most people take on a renewed sense of energy.
The promise of a fresh start is everywhere. Optimism abounds!
Wouldn't 2020 be a great year to cut short? Aren't we all ready to turn the page on it?
Well, while we cannot do it officially, we can embrace that New Year state of mind.
Let's assume your stores have been closed for weeks now.
We recognize how conscientious you are. So, after paying what you can to your employees (and yourself), the next most-worrisome dilemma is your rent.
As you likely have discovered, a common choice for many landlords is to offer to defer your payments. But that means taking on more debt, as those payments are only being postponed to a later point in time.
You need a better solution than that.
YOUR GOAL: QUICKLY GET TO A FIRST DRAFT.
Face it. Sales are dropping. By how much? For how long? Nobody knows for sure.
But, you can make some assumptions, some educated guesses. Put those into the 3-in-1 Cash Flow Calculator.
These totally volatile times cause a lot of opinions and fears to be swirling around. Seeing "what if...?" can be very helpful.
All in just minutes. On your own.
The Retail Owners Institute® has developed a retail strategy for "Inventory Management Going Forward."
As we often do, it was recapped as an unassuming chart (see above) identifying the Five Stages of Merchandise Mix Management, from "Before COVID-19" to the "New Normal?"
As your stores are able to re-open after the coronavirus shutdowns, how they look tells a powerful story. And for you, a great opportunity.
This is no time to try to go back to normal, back to business-as-usual. Nor to simply have all kinds of protective shields in your store. While necessary, how welcoming is that?
Instead, this actually IS a second chance to make a good first impression! Take full advantage!
Each of us, our households, businesses and communities are in different stages of shutdown due to the coronavirus.
While we cannot speak to when this will end, we do have some ideas for dealing with the "fog of uncertainty" that hangs over us all.
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"