3 Ways An AV Workaholic Problem-Solver Can Respond to COVID-19
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April 3, 2020

Most of us are in the live event industry, which means we get paid to live and work in problem-solving mode. But since it’s all screeched to a halt, what should a workaholic problem-solver be doing right now? 

While we’re experts at solving problems on the job, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how to solve this problem. Business is on pause and we feel as though our hands are tied. 

They’re not. You can still work productively to make sure you’re ready for business when life gets back to ‘normal’. Let’s break it down by looking at the internal, external, and future tasks at hand. 

Internal Tasks 

As you get used to quarantine and the lack of business, your first ideas of what to do with your time may look like this: 

  • Clean up rental software
  • Reorganize warehouse
  • Create new proposal templates
  • Write job descriptions
  • Review Pricing
  • Create new terms and conditions and cancellation policies 

Basically, you’re preparing your company resources to resume business so you’re better equipped than you were before. 

While these are great ideas, they’re all based on the idea that you’ll get back to business soon. These first thoughts are predicated on the belief that you’ll need to have your software, warehouse, templates, and policies ready to go for upcoming business. 

In reality, it’s going to be a while. 

As one of my friends says, “If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs…if we had some eggs.”

It’s a silly phrase that emphasizes a lack of resources. We don’t have any eggs right now. And because it may be a while until business returns, we’ll need to shift to the next level of strategy.

External Tasks

Once we come to accept that we’re in a holding pattern that may last, we move into a second stage of brainstorming. 

Phase 2 thoughts sound like this:

  • We must reach out to customers.
  • We need to help our community.
  • Should we be marketing? Is that appropriate? 

In this phase, we crave interaction. We’re ready to communicate with our customers and navigate a pathway forward. We want to know that there is work in the future that we can count on.

But before you write that email or make that call, take a minute to really think through what you want to communicate. Ask yourself: 

  • What are the points I want to make and who do I want to make them to?
  • How should my customers feel as a result of my communication?
  • What should my customers do as a result of my communication?
  • Can I break my message into smaller pieces? 
  • Will my communication lead to a bigger “something” when the time is right? 

We all know it’s not a good time to sell, so take another approach when you’re ready to reach out. Particularly, look for ways to help your customers and your community.

Help Out Your Customers 

Identify your key customers and ask, “How can we help?”

You have a lot to offer your clients. Use your tech-expertise to guide people through technologies they’re not used to using. 

Here are a few ideas of ways you might be able to help:

  • Open a hotline for helping people set up Zoom. 
  • Use your call center to make outbound calls for clients. If you have a voice-over IP telephone, you can do this from home.
  • Create a webinar on how to conduct video conferences, focusing especially on the audio, lighting, and visual aspects. 
  • Schedule a site visit to set up a corporate communications studio. Maybe one of your clients wants to have a place where their CEO can send a professional message to their clients. 
  • Research video conferencing products to help home workers (headsets with mics, multiple monitors, multi-camera management) and see what equipment or training you can offer.
  • Create themed graphics or video intros/outros for your clients’ online presentations. 

These are just a few ideas. Figure out your niche for contributing to the unique circumstances your clients are facing and offer to assist them. You can still build the relationship, even if you’re not profiting financially from the help you provide right now. You’ll get around to asking for money later. 

Volunteer Locally

If you’re keeping employees on payroll and they need work to do, find ways to volunteer locally. Wear your company shirts, and visit a food bank to volunteer for a few hours. These places typically provide masks, gloves, and sanitation measures… and they’re busy!  

Healthy employees would likely be glad to help. Organize it and lead by example. 

Future Tasks 

Once you’ve looked internally to your company and externally to your clients, you need to begin to look ahead. Ask questions about the future. 

  • When will we get back to work? 
  • What will we do?
  • Who will we do it for?
  • Who will we NOT do it for? 
  • How much will it cost? 
  • How can we reduce those costs (overhead)?
  • Where will we do it?
  • How will we do this? 

While there aren’t yet concrete answers to these questions, solutions will begin to surface as we ask these questions repeatedly. 

The key in all of this is to move from reminiscing about the company you used to be and focus on the company you want to become. This is your chance for a clean slate … whether or not you wanted it. 

Want to Learn More About How to Prepare for the Future?

For more details on evaluating and forecasting revenue, cutting overhead, and our initial thoughts on the CARES Act, view the webinar replay from Week 3 (April 1) of our new weekly webinar series: The Show Will Go On — Business Survival Series.

Sign up now and you’ll be registered for the entire series. You’ll also gain access to all replays of the previous webinars.

About Tom Stimson
Tom Stimson MBA, CTS is an authority on business and strategy for small- to medium-sized companies. He is an expert on project-based selling and a thought leader for innovative business processes.
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