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.
While it may feel like there are no good choices, we believe there can be good decisions.
Let's take a closer look at what's involved.
Given those assumptions:
Of course, does it "pencil out?"
Be careful; don't dismiss your newly-imagined business too quickly. Embracing those changes can seem daunting.
But, you do have to give just as much constructive thought to whether now is the time to close down your operation. (See the "Ready to Move On?" section in the OWNERS Center for more.)
Start by thinking through all three kinds of assets in your business. This goes beyond the Balance Sheet numbers. You have Other Tangible Assets and Intangible Assets, all of which have value.
Recognizing all of the assets that you have built over the years puts you in much better position to consider what's next.
Of course, you also must consider what would be next for you?
It comes back to three fundamental questions retailers need to answer:
That of course is the most telling question. Do you still have the requisite "fire in the belly?"
You DO Have Choices
Again, while it may feel like there are no good choices, we believe there CAN be good decisions.
So, summon your optimism, and take control; choose your own adventure! It truly may be the opportunity of a lifetime!
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.
Remember thinking that Amazon was the most disruptive force to happen to retailing? (Well, at least since Walmart was the most disruptive....)
However, the coronavirus pandemic eclipses them all. No matter where you live or do business, it is not whether, just when, COVID-19 will impact your life. Disruption with a capital D!
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.
Yes, we know. Owning a retail business these days is one flexibility test after another. And there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
In the United States, one of the most widespread impacts of the virus is uncertainty. With no end in sight. It is the virus that is in charge. As the president of Alaska Airlines noted, "We don't know what the future looks like."*
But the fact remains, whomever is selling to the ultimate consumer has leverage. Might that be you?
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly gained the respect of the general public.
Surveys continue to show that, while folks are eager to be able to resume moving about, they do not expect to resume their pre-pandemic discretionary shopping and dining activities anytime soon. They are awaiting effective treatments or, even better, a vaccine.
Main Street restauranteurs and retailers understand that, according to survey results reported April 27.* In fact, these owners anticipate it could take another eight months – that is, most of the year – for consumer demand to reach the so-called "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!
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"