“Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived.” —Winston Churchill
The great orator was talking about the bombing of London when he said these words—a time far more serious and frightening than what we are going through right now. Instead of talking gloom and doom, he talked about the greatness it takes not only to endure but also to strive to thrive in difficult days.
Difficult times tend to force people to find greatness in themselves. Based on this quote from Churchill, “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential,” we are in one of those situations where we are all facing challenges. The interesting thing is that, this time, the enemy is not another person or country; this time, we are all facing this challenge globally.
If, at any time in your life, you wondered how you would have reacted in a difficult situation—and if you have read books, watched movies, or heard stories of brave men and women doing courageous deeds of heroism, and thought about what you would do—this is your time to find out. Rise above the fray, and face this difficulty. Show your courage, strength, and endurance in the eye of the storm and stand up to the challenge.
It’s simple; we need to find a way to “do our job,” whatever that may be. In some ways, our industry is fortunate because we are deemed essential by many federal and state governments; we have the luxury to remain open and “do our job,” so that’s what we must do.
Many of the companies I work with, and others I hear about, are doing this right now; they are open for business and producing products. Surely, those who are at risk are invited to work from home, and they are doing that as well. But alas, a PCB cannot be plated in someone’s living room, and no one has a pick-and-place machine in their kitchen. Consequently, many people have to go to their workplace to do their job. This means that they do so with a certain amount of risk, and we should thank and appreciate them for that.
To those in sales and marketing, many of us working from home, we also need to do our job and keep things moving forward. We need to be creative, innovative, and persistent enough to stay in front of customers—no matter the ways we find to do so.
These are good times to:
- Stay in touch with your current customers: Send them short updates and news flashes about what is going on with your company. Let them know you are still working on their products and services.
- Find new customers: Create an “ideal customer profile” and then go online using tools, such as LinkedIn, to find those prospects.
- Develop and implement a plan to reach out to those prospects: Connect with them on LinkedIn. Send them short introductory newsletters via Constant Contact, HubSpot, or some other method.
- Work on your company’s branding and marketing plan: There has never been a better time to do this. Right now, you have the time. Work on your company’s story and develop a means of conveying it.
- Advertise: If you are already advertising, then work on your ad messaging, making it appropriate for these times. If you are not advertising, then you need to start advertising right now. Our current world situation will rush us along into becoming even more of a global economy, and people are looking for solutions globally. Someone out there is looking to buy something from you. Your job is to be found.
- Communicate with one another all the time: We are so lucky that we have smartphones, conference services, and the internet at our disposal. Use them wisely to communicate with one another to keep business as usual. I know that these services are getting overused and overcrowded at times, so take a tip from the CEO of Free Conference Calls, and plan your meetings during off-hours in the evening or early in the morning. Also, set the meeting time at odd times instead of on the hour or half-hour. It works!
- Plan for the future: This too shall pass. The sun will come out tomorrow, and we will be all the better for what we have been through, so plan for that sunny day. Visualize what the world will look like, and then plan on how you are going to meet the challenges and opportunities that that new world order will bring us.
- Find a way to keep your spirits up: As I said earlier, this is our time. Generations will judge how we dealt with this situation. We will be remembered for what we did when the world was at a crisis point and how, in the end, we came out of it as better people, companies, countries—and ultimately, a better world.
I’ll leave you now with another quote from Sir Winston Churchill: “Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.