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.
There’s an awareness, an “Oh wow!” sweeping around the commercial world. It’s stated in a variety of ways, but it’s the same surprise.
Indeed, some respected urban thinkers are suggesting that 50% of the traditional commuters may want to and will be encouraged to continue to work remotely. 50%?! Yikes. That’s quite a redirection of the parade!
Think of the ripple effect. How many other businesses are around those office buildings, dependent on that foot traffic? Restaurants, delis, drug stores, card shops, office supplies, bookstores, etc, etc.
So, the challenge for retailers is this: if that is the direction of this New Normal parade, how to get out in front of it?!
Granted, 50% may or may not turn out to be correct. And it may not last. But then again, this “heads up” could be mighty timely.
Now, the next obvious question is,”So, if not by office buildings, where should I locate my store?”
BINGO! If we have gotten you to ask yourself that question, we’ve done our task. Whew!!!
But get cracking! As Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway observed at their May 2 annual investors meeting in Omaha, "The supply and demand for office space may change significantly. When change happens in the world, you adjust to it.”
And a potential sea change adjustment like this might not be the time for a wait-and-see attitude. Instead, before everyone else becomes aware of this huge shift, you could be grinning to yourself. Good luck!
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.
There are three "pandemics" assailing us at the moment: the coronavirus; the economic collapse; the protests of racial injustice. The three months plus of stay at home restrictions and the shutdowns, and the confluence of these three pandemics has been a heavy burden. And it shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
As the coronavirus continues to spread and surge (Apple re-closing 11 stores they had recently re-opened is a sobering reminder), the uncertainty and anxiety is only being prolonged.
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!
Like every natural disaster, whether a massive storm, earthquake, wildfire, we all are victims of COVID-19.
Not all of us have suffered being infected by the virus. But, essentially everybody has suffered losses.
Few have been spared.
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.
There's little that any of us can do to address the public health crisis of the pandemic. Its impact on people and businesses is a widespread and major jolt, akin to the shocks of 9/11 and the 2008-09 economic meltdown.
Even as painful and disruptive as the pandemic is at this moment, we must remind ourselves that it will subside. It's not whether it will subside, just when.
But all of us are going to have to deal with the ensuing economic situation, and its effects on our sales, our customers, our employees.
These are difficult times for us all. Retailing in particular is under enormous stress. Many feel like there are no good choices.
But, there are good decisions. And The ROI is dedicated to helping you be able to make those good decisions for yourself.
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"