Not too many people remember the Honda Crosstour because its last model year was 2015, and even while it was on the market in the USA, it sold in small numbers. Even at the height of its success in 2012, its best sales year, fewer than 21,000 were sold countrywide. This is strange, considering that car-based crossover-coupe vehicles are so popular today. Many other brands have joined the fray with their own models. Perhaps the Crosstour was the right product at the wrong time? It seems so because the Crosstour is rumored to be making its long-awaited comeback in 2021 with a new design, efficient high-MPG engine choices, improved performance, and new tech features.
And our analogy is apt in business too, even though there are far more variables at play than in our Honda Crosstour example. We need the business comeback kids more than ever because of the new reality that was created by COVID-19. It was an industry disrupter of epic proportions and as vaccine rollouts continue across the world and we see the light at the end of the tunnel, businesses have to prepare for the post-pandemic boom. But it won’t be business as usual. Many businesses didn’t make it and we would be foolish not to learn why.
Many Businesses Have Fallen By The Wayside
Many businesses had to close their doors due to COVID-19 and will no longer be with us when things improve and we finally put the most disruptive pandemic of modern times behind us. Here are just a few of the long list that filed for bankruptcy or didn’t make it:
- Friendly’s restaurants
- Ruby Tuesday restaurants
- J.C. Penney department store
- Neiman Marcus luxury department store
- Aldo shoes
- J. Crew clothing retailer
- Hertz car rental
- New York & Company fashion
Some of these might yet emerge from the pandemic in a restructured or rescued guise, but others are gone for good, changing the business landscape as we know it forever.
But coming back stronger than they were before is the true mark of a comeback kid and the 2008 financial crisis gave many businesses a harrowing dry run for 2020. Although these crises are not the same, the financial crisis forced businesses to think differently about weathering storms. These businesses have adapted themselves to see crises as opportunities; as an incentive to create the necessary clarity and urgency to ride out the storm. It’s a time of asking critical questions, according to Sixt, Europe’s biggest car-rental company, which recovered quickly after 2008.
Like others, they learned certain lessons in 2008 that prepared them for 2020:
- Improve resilience
- Become proactive
- Acquire an increased sense of vitality
- Have a clearly defined vision
- Build a streamlined organization
Building A Business To Power Through COVID-19 – And Beyond
Crises present manifold opportunities for growth and reinvention. Here are a few key factors to benefit from the post-pandemic boom – and be ready for the next storm:
- Pandemic-proof your organization. Boost your brand by customizing your offering to appeal to a more well-off audience. Review your processes and digitize and virtualize what you can to streamline and save money. Use more marketing channels. Go big on social media.
- Build credibility. Bolster your online presence by being easy to find on Google and social media through solid SEO. Make use of podcasts and blogs and interview experts.
- Cryptocurrency. Start accepting cryptocurrency – it’s easier than you think. Even Stripe and PayPal are now supporting it.
- Zoom. Previously live events can be done on Zoom and Tony Robbins is a great example of someone who has had great success with Zoom-presented events. Use Zoom for selling and delivering your offering. Build a studio if you must.
- Get personal. Embrace personalized messaging to connect with your audience. Customize your offering to appeal to different markets.
- Don’t put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Social media is good, but it’s volatile and you can be de-platformed or censored. Run parallel channels and do emails too. And whatever you do, always direct traffic to your website.
You might have been doing many of these things, but without the required focus and urgency, because things have been going well. Now is the time to concentrate on the factors that can make your business more resilient so you don’t have to just wait for the storm to pass, but actually benefit from it. After any crisis, there are winners and losers. You need to make sure you’re among the winners. Don’t take a back seat when the next disruption comes, because it will. Then you won’t ask, ‘How will I survive this?’ but ‘How much can I gain from this?’.
Interestingly, Honda has not changed the concept of their new Crosstour much in comparison with the old one. It is still a mid-size crossover coupe with five seats. But now its time is right and they might soon be back with an improved product, made for a new era. The old one might not have brought in much cash, but it was the 2008 problem they needed for success in 2021 and beyond. Just like your business.