Q: As the coronavirus spreads and the stock market tumbles what can I do? Sales have gone from up, to flat, to down by small double digits in little over two weeks.
Steve Pruitt: Now would be a good time to have a crystal ball, but I don’t. We are hearing from retailers across the country that sales are falling off. It is fair to say we have already entered into a recession as the economy unwinds. Over the next week to ten days, we will likely have a better understanding of the severity of the crises.
So, here’s what to do:
1. Communicate with your vendors. You have probably already been delivered a large portion of your spring ’20 On Order. Put a temporary hold on additional deliveries.
2. Communicate with the people you have accounting and banking relationships with. It is very important to be clear on your cash flow projections. Do an Acid Stress at different levels of Planned Sales. (To learn how, see my previous post.)
3. Do a deep clean of your store and tell your clients about the safety of visiting your locations.
4. Be prepared to deliver merchandise to your clients’ homes or offices—Service, Service, Service.
5. Keep a positive attitude and turn off the media.
6. Create a 7-day action plan, including a refresh of the Acid Stress with updated information.
7. Talk with your clients; be a bright light in their lives.
8. Here is one more tactic I have used when facing obstacles: Look out at a point when this situation is behind you. Create a detailed image of what that point in time will look like. Now every time you face the obstacles in front of you focus on the positive image you created.
9. This situation will come to an end. We made it through ‘87, we made it through September 11th., and we made it through ‘08. This is a test of our character. As my father told me as a young man, “Steve, just bow your chest.” What he meant is to lean into the challenge. We can handle this.
10. If I can be of help, please drop me a note.
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