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Seeking insight into the new normal

As the world adapts and processes the pandemic, each of us speculates and wonders when we will get back to normal. The reality is the old normal is gone, certainly for the foreseeable future. What we want to do is share some thoughts as to how businesses may adapt and even thrive in our new normal.

Business sectors come and go and have for our lifetimes. That will continue as we see disruptive ideas and technology continuing to advance. 

In the new normal we should expect the velocity of such disruptions, including failures and growth, increasing. Where your business is and how you react, adapt and anticipate is critical if you hope to succeed.

On the way out: department stores, malls, local newspapers, movie theaters and congested living are but some which were troubled before the pandemic, except perhaps congested living in larger cities, which is going to involve an entirely new paradigm.

In flux: air travel, hotels and motels, resorts, meetings, sporting events, conventions and trade shows, gyms and health clubs.

Growing: online shopping, delivery services (for everything), online news, streaming video, home or personal exercise, boutique shops with both a vibrant in-person and online experience and home improvement.

Those are but a few. Let’s look at some possible niches and how smart businesses will adapt.

We expect to see a continuation of the polarization of the U.S. politically as well as on socioeconomic levels. The advent of 24/7 “news” cycles and the burgeoning plethora of media voices across every spectrum means what 40 years ago would be dismissed as a fringe crackpot theory now has a solid following and is able to find like-minded souls in an online world in ever-increasing numbers.

This system also also allows incredible detailed information to be used in a commercial setting. In essence, as a business you want to market and attract the audience that you will likely profit from and avoid expenditures to those removed from being viable business prospects. The digital tools often and regularly exploited by those in the political spaces can also help in the more commercial settings of everyday commerce. If you fail to seek a trusted digital partner who is vested in your success, you are missing out. Your competitors will.

Niche examples:

Home improvement. Face it. After a month or more of stay-at-home public health directives for nonessential work, you are experiencing your residence’s strengths and weaknesses. It can be as simple as a favorite chair, your TV, sound system, home wifi, bedroom, bathroom, garage or workshop, which may be giving you great joy but also highlights the need to improve or upgrade.

In a world ahead where more social distancing will be required to stay safe and where the simple act of hand washing is so critical, opportunities abound for those serving these spaces. Plumbing, design services, kitchen stores, furniture stores and home theater system sellers are looking at more emphasis than ever as people upgrade their existing homes. You want to be in front of those homeowners in the digital space now. Interior designers who can work with you online using FaceTime and similar collaborative tools to spend time efficiently and visually will be well-postured for going forward.

Restaurants/dining. We sadly see many casualties in this sector. While we loved dining out and often would seek out active and energetic establishments with not only great food but in an engaging atmosphere, in the new normal it will take time for many to feel safe dining out once again. Sadly, many dining establishments lack the capital to withstand that time, whatever it may be. Already an industry that is highly competitive and so dependent upon solid and active engagement at all levels with tough margins will likely find difficulties going forward.

We see those that can quickly pivot to a robust takeout and delivery model being able to sustain over time. A major problem is the lack of to-go alcohol sales, typically the best margin of many dining establishments. A key in getting takeout right is no-contact ordering and pickup. Face it; we want to pull up, have the food brought out in sanitized containers and ideally put in our remote-operated trunks with minimal face time or physical contact with that person bringing the food to our vehicles. Not being rude, but being safe. If your restaurant can’t make the menus easy to order, easy to pay without contact and easy to pick up, you lose out to those who can.

Also, those utilizing a plethora of online delivery services - be they local, or DoorDash, UberEats, etc. - face many challenges. In communities where you can easily get in your car and drive to get pickup, that will likely be the preference. People are missing some windshield time and also like that in-car privacy, especially now. For many there is little to none at home.

Restauranteurs: Your stories - successes and failures - will be told online. You should be there as well, making sure it works smoothly. For consumers, tip well and be a bit more tolerant as your restaurants make the pivot.

Professional services. Lawyers, accountants, dentists, insurance agents, financial advisors, opticians and yes, doctors. We know how valuable and necessary your services are. Taxes are a certainty, and with convoluted government actions massively influenced by special interests, we see such messes as the CARES Act and tax codes massively manipulated such that having a sharp CPA is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Business disputes, contract interpretations, insurance coverage claims, bankruptcies and estate planning are many areas of the law set to explode, all while negligence claims surrounding motor vehicle accidents will likely decrease. The meltdowns and gyrations in the financial markets coming in times where so few people have the defined benefit plans of prior generations make the necessity of a professional financial advisor a significant need for many who up until February 2020 were feeling like investment wizards with their own decisions but which in hindsight they now know was just riding a market wave.

While we should be forever grateful to our wonderful healthcare providers who we see in this pandemic are putting themselves at great risk every single day, we also understand now more than ever that access to care and affordable care is so critical to our own wellbeing. Being able to get that and be safe while doing so should drive telemedicine and all the promise it brings. Who among us has not cringed being in a crowded waiting room, jammed in and waiting well beyond a scheduled appointment time? Those providers who can address these patient concerns and who undertake appropriate actions to address all points of contact with their patients to improve those experiences will thrive.

Summary. We hope these points resonate with you and emphasize again how having a trusted digital partner like working with you is an incredible advantage in what will be an increasingly complex environment for everyone. We are in the cloud and ready. Just reach out to start the conversation.


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