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A gift and other important stuff

 11 May 2020     Donald Cooper 

Greetings, fellow ‘quarantiners’! I hope you are still safe and sane. In any situation, it is important to get our priorities straight. As we continue through this mess, the order of priority for many businesses and humans can look like this:

Stay physically safe and emotionally healthy.

Financial survival. This requires a combination of creativity and tough choices. What might creativity and tough choices look like in your business, department or life right now?

Be kind and helpful to family and others. How can you and your business help the ‘COVID cause’ or improve the human condition in some way – right now?

Stay connected with customers and employees in a way that informs, comforts and uplifts. Here’s a link to a brilliant and touching ad released recently from Emirates Airlines to stay connected to their target customers (click here).

Be productive while working from home. Not losing your focus or sense of urgency.

Prepare your business and yourself to be better and to do better when this mess is over.

My gift to you: To help you use this time to work proactively ‘on’ your business or department, I’m giving free access to my complete set of Business Assessment and Management Implementation Tools.  These were created to help my coaching clients determine exactly where they are now, where they need to be in three to five years and how to get from here to there. We normally sell these tools for $40 on our web site, but you can access them, no charge, right now (click here).

The first two tools – A-1 and A-2 – are a great place to start. They take just four minutes each to complete and are hugely insightful in determining which areas in your business or department need your time and attention. These tools, and many of the others, will be a great way to engage and challenge your management and supervisory team at this time, especially if they’re working from home. If you have any questions about them, shoot me an e-mail (the address is below) and we’ll set up a chat.

This may also be a great time to rethink and re-imagine your business. A powerful ‘step-by-step’ tool for that is my Vision Critical Guide which can be downloaded for just $24 by clicking here.

We’re not all in the same boat! I’m tired of hearing politicians and medical experts say, “We’re all in the same boat.” It’s not true. Not even close. We’re all in the same storm, but we are far from all being in the same boat. Many of us are in very different boats.

For some, shutdown and quarantine is a staycation in sweats and flip-flops while many are putting their lives at risk to save others or to keep the rest of us fed and comfortable. For many, it’s a desperate financial and family crisis. Tens of thousands of small and medium sized businesses and their employees will lose everything.

For some it’s peace, rest and time with mothers, fathers, sons or daughters. For others, it’s the time when they lost mothers, fathers, sons or daughters to COVID-19 and couldn’t even say goodbye or hold them as they passed.

Some Canadian families just received $3,400 from the government stimulus program while others got nothing.

Some were concerned about not getting a big chocolate bunny for Easter while others are concerned about how they can afford food for the foreseeable future, or how they’ll keep a roof over their head.

Some are trapped at home with abusive spouses and no chance of escape! So, stop telling us we’re all in the same boat. It’s insensitive, it’s insulting and it’s not true!

How will your industry or market change in the short and long term and how will you adapt? If you’re a business owner, leader or manager, one of the most important things you can focus on right now is how your industry or market might change in the short and long term after this mess is ‘over’.  Here are a few examples.

A friend in New Zealand’s tourism business believes it will take at least three years for the tourism market to fully recover, partly out of fear and partly because of a shortage of discretionary disposable income.

Loblaws, Canada’s largest grocery chain, just announced they’ve discontinued weekly printed promotional flyers, which have been a mainstay of grocery marketing for eons. Their flyers and coupons will be available on-line only.

Many other retailers have ‘suspended’ their printed flyers during the pandemic as well. I predict most of these printed flyers will never re-emerge. So, the printing industry will take another huge hit. They need to redefine themselves as being in the promotion and customer communications business rather than the ‘putting ink dots on paper’ business – but it may be too late for that now.

The Spring 2020 edition of the huge Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China – one of the world’s largest trade shows – will be held virtually this year because of the pandemic. Home Hardware, Canada’s largest chain of retail hardware stores, is holding it’s Spring 2020 buying show online for the same reason.

What happens to trade shows and the thousands of annual industry conferences around the world and, therefore to the hotel, meeting and convention industry, if it’s discovered meeting virtually is safer, much less costly and about as effective as live events?

So, how might your industry or market change and how will you redefine and reinvent yourself to be future ready and market dominant?  Here’s the ‘secret process’ we’ve used to coach hundreds of clients to do this:

We help clients define themselves not by what they sell but by how they help their target customers functionally, emotionally and financially.

Then, we guide clients through an insightful process of determining exactly what kind of help their target customers need in any way related to wisely choosing and effectively using the products, services or experiences they sell.

The third step is to get creative and gutsy to determine exactly how you’ll deliver some of that help (compelling value) better than your competitors in order to become the clear wise choice for your target customers.

The final step is to determine how you’ll effectively communicate your compelling value in a crowded and cynical marketplace. There’s no point in being the best if you’re also the best kept secret.

If you’d like help with this process, I’m easy to find.

One last thing. Our thoughts and support go to all those touched by the recent and senseless killing of 22 (or more) innocent people in Nova Scotia. We know so little about the ‘why and how’ at this point but we know that so many are hurting and grieving.

Stay calm…keep safe…and do at least three important or kind things each day!


Stearns and Foster
TempurPedic Canada
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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Home Goods Online.ca and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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