“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” —Michael Corleone
For a number of reasons, which I will not get into here, the U.S. and other countries around the world are entering into the second round of shutdowns, which promises to be more severe than the last time.
This situation is leading to more frustration than ever before. Many people I talk to are now suffering from serious pandemic fatigue. It can quite be discouraging to be facing more of the same as we approach the one-year mark. Of course, with two promising vaccines on the horizon, there is hope, but it is still going to take a while before we galivant around again. The sun will come out tomorrow, but we are not sure when that tomorrow will come. For now, it is time to put on our big-person pants, suck it up, and get to work.
As we approach this new chapter of shutdowns, here are eight positives to consider:
- For a number of reasons, China is no longer a cool place from which to buy. Companies are turning to domestic suppliers for their circuit boards as well as their assemblies. This means companies—your customers—are looking for more domestic alternatives, so there will be more opportunities for those of you selling for domestic companies.
- Many new products are being developed. These new products need your PCBs, and they need them fast. Once again, your job is to be there when they come looking, or better yet, reach out to them.
- Companies are developing new technologies at a faster rate than ever before. They need R&D partners to help them develop these new products. This means they need a PCB fabricator. They need PCB shops that are not only able to serve them today but in the future as well.
- The unusual has become the usual. To use a very overworked term, this is the new normal, and people are getting used to that new normal. We have all become accustomed to communicating through Zoom and other phone and video call services. Even trade shows, audits, and plant tours are being done virtually. Just like we always found a way, we have figured things out and learned to function in these special times. This means that doing business in this second round of shutdowns will be easier today than it was last March, which is a good thing.
- Your customers are more open to hearing from you. Many current and prospective customers have been working from home. They have been doing this for a long enough time that they have grown accustomed to it. Now, they know this could last a while, and they had settled into their new normal. At the beginning of the shutdowns, there was a sense of temporariness about it. People were planning to get back to work in a short amount of time, so there were a lot of people just trying to get by. We heard things like, “When this shutdown is over, we’ll do a site survey and get your company qualified so that we can start buying from you,” or, “We’re waiting for the pandemic to be over, and then we’ll launch that new project, but for now, it’s on hold.” We don’t hear these statements any longer. People are more used to the fact that this is the way, and this has to be the way we do business for a while longer, so we are coming up with new and innovative ways to get business moving at its normal pre-COVID-19 rate for the time being.
- Companies and their salespeople have found exciting, interesting, and attractive ways to get their name out there. From newsletters to sales flashes, webinars, virtual sales calls and business lunches, traditional marketing, Google ads marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization), they have found and used new methods to get in front of their customers, and there are still new ways to be discovered and leveraged.
- We are deemed “essential,” which is a good thing. This means we get to stay open. While many other companies have been forced to shut down, we have been allowed to stay open. This is not something to be taken for granted.
- In times of great adversity comes great opportunity. It’s a fact that we are in a time of great adversity, but what I find exciting is that it is indeed also a time of great opportunity. If we all keep cool, calm, and collected and live within the parameters of this new phase of the shutdown, we will do very well. In fact, I daresay that we will emerge from this challenging era of lives in a much better position than when we started it.
I am not saying this is easy. I know that these times are challenging and frustrating. It’s hard not to do what we have always done. But in the end, we will always find a way. And right now, it is up to us to find a way to do the best that we can with the cards we have been dealt.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.