If the quickest path through a jungle is behind an elephant, the quickest path to business reinvention is behind a global pandemic. Tearing everything down provides a clear view of where you have been and an opportunity to plan the road ahead using what you have learned from the past to guide you. This is your moment for reinvention.
Print is Essential, but Not ALL print
We have learned that print is an essential communications device for a society to function in a global pandemic. We have read amazing stories of print shops, industry vendors and suppliers creating and providing much needed COVID-19 protection and social distancing graphics to the world. That is an amazing reflection upon the ingenuity and spirit of the print industry and we should all feel proud to be part of it, but that good feeling will fade as quickly as the need for ‘stand here’ signage. We should focus on what print will be needed in the months to come to stay essential and, in some cases, keep your print shop open.
If your post-COVID recovery strategy is based on ‘getting back to normal,’ you will miss out on this unique moment in time to evolve with the world. Here are three things to think about.
1. The Cloud
If your business had to first create a system to work remotely when you needed to, now is the time to gather feedback, do research and make improvements so it can function optimally for employees and customers. If you had a system in place, get feedback from everyone currently using it — especially your customers — and make improvements. Develop best practices for remote work and continually educate your staff and customers on your process. It will become a point of differentiation you can sell. No one will want to work with a supplier that doesn’t have a clear disaster plan in place after this.
2. Your Staff
Tough love time. Now is the time to clean house. It is a clean slate for everyone. ‘Old’ relationships have value, but new ideas and energy will be priceless for your future. Look for hires outside of the industry to bring a fresh perspective — people who not only embrace technology but use it and see clearly how print can enhance, support or lead a digital marketing experience. Selling the same print to the same customers when business starts again shows you have learned nothing from the world living and shopping online these past months. Bring in people or execution partners to help you understand the opportunities and talk effectively to customers about them.
3. Your Offerings
If your business could sell only three things, what would they be? How can you create unique packages and service offerings for those items? How about automating and optimizing the workflow process for fewer human touches and maximum profit? How can you market these items and find relevant customers who need your help?
These aren’t rhetorical questions. I don’t have specific answers, as each business will have unique opportunities, challenges and customer needs during the recovery, but focusing on what will be needed for the opening of your retail, restaurant and commercial neighbours is the key.
Open for Business
Most of the world is reopening for business. Don’t let your print shop fall behind in an effort to get back to ‘normal’. Take some time now to strategically relaunch your pandemic-prepared business with fresh ideas and opportunities to help clients relaunch theirs – and create new and loyal community customers in the process!
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