There have been glimmers of hope this past week.  While the country is still embroiled in the COVID-19 crisis, a discussion is starting about when and how we emerge.  For a futuristic person like me, this has been a welcomed dialogue. 

Before diving into specific business strategies, I think it is essential to start putting together a picture of what the business environment will look like post-COVID-19.  It is hard to make plans when you don’t know what setting you need to make plans for. 

There are people much smarter than me that have written some great pieces on what life may be like after COVID-19.  Rather than re-writing some of what has already been written, I have accumulated a few of what I feel are the best articles on the topic.  I have curated them below so that you can start putting together a picture of what environment your business and your franchisees will emerge in. 

Stories to be Reading

Article: The Coronavirus Economic Reopening Will Be Fragile, Partial and Slow
Author: Erich Schwartzel, Alison Sider and Heather Haddon
Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-coronavirus-economic-reopening-will-be-fragile-partial-and-slow-11586800447?mod=djemCFO
One Sentence Summary: Business leaders share plans as they prepare to reopen.
Best Line: “To return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they’re safe,” said Robert Iger, Disney’s executive chairman and former chief executive

Article: Preparing Your Business for a Post-Pandemic World
Author: Carsten Lund Pedersen and Thomas Ritter
Link: https://hbr.org/2020/04/preparing-your-business-for-a-post-pandemic-world?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter_monthly&utm_campaign=strategy_not_activesubs&referral=00210&deliveryName=DM76496
One Sentence Summary: Five steps all business leaders must take to plan for a post-pandemic re-emergence.
Best Line: “Ad hoc responses won’t work; organizations must lay the groundwork for their recoveries now.”

Article: Corporate leaders see coronavirus recovery moving further away
Author: Dion Rabouin
Link: https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-economic-recovery-corporate-leaders-poll-754d8799-08ee-4fde-97b8-1fce7525d2fc.html
One Sentence Summary: A summary of polls about business leaders thoughts as they begin to think about reopening
Best Line: “There’s a growing realization that most have, whether it be at the policy-making or business level, which is that controlling the virus is simply going to take longer than we thought.”

Article: Consumer Behavior In The New Normal
Author: Michael R. Solomon
Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelrsolomon/2020/04/13/consumer-behavior-in-the-new-normal/#4a051cf75da3
One Sentence Summary: Looking at the past to predict consumer behavior in the future
Best Line: “To consumers, the need to restore a semblance of security is likely to translate to a preference for lower-risk brand options. Brand experimentation takes a back seat to tried-and-true solutions.”

Article: Use The COVID-19 Crisis To Make Your Business Better
Author: Bryce Hoffman
Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brycehoffman/2020/04/12/use-the-covid-19-crisis-to-make-your-business-better/#3439d09a5738
One Sentence Summary: How Boeing used their time post 9/11 to build a more durable business model
Best Line: “….great leaders know that crises such as the present pandemic present unique opportunities to rethink their businesses and figure out how to do what they do better.”

A Quick Story on Gathering Facts

I was an accounting major in college and loved it.  Most people wonder how accounting students can stand being in classes like auditing, statistics, and the dreaded knockout class, intermediate accounting.  However, accounting brings balance and finality to the world that people like me enjoy. 

Never the less, I attended a liberal arts school, which meant that I needed to venture out and take courses entirely unrelated to my major.  One of those such courses was political science.  I have always been fascinated by politics and the systems of government, so I thought that this would be an excellent way to learn more.

A few weeks in, my classmates and I walked into the classroom to find a 3-gallon fish tank full of jelly beans.  The instructor told us that our homework would be to submit a guess about how many jelly beans were in this 3-gallon tank.  For the next 50 minutes, the instructor told us that his belief was there were 1,000 jelly beans in this tank.  This astonished most of us….just looking at it there had to be more than 1,000 jelly beans. 

The instructor told us many “facts” that backed up his belief.  Among them was that his family did a guessing game every Christmas, and he, more times than not, won the game.  He next moved on to mathematical formulas that he said were proof that there were only 1,000 jelly beans.  Of course, there were assumptions that we couldn’t verify in those formulas, but he spoke passionately and seemed knowledgable.  Soon, those assumptions looked more like facts. 

This was in 2002…

… A time before the internet could answer every question you had.  Sure, it existed, but not like it does today.   I knew there had to be more than 1,000, but based on the lesson, maybe there weren’t.   I still remember my guess today…1,864 (the precise estimate was due to being an accountant). 

Two days later, I walked back into class, and the instructor gathered all the guesses.  He sat down and quickly came up with an average estimate, which turned out to be 1,800.  At that point, the instructor revealed that were 2,900 jelly beans.  The classes’ average estimate was 38% wrong.  He pointed out what would happen if we were 38% wrong about other things in life.  Lastly, he told us that he ran the same test with his other class, however, instead of lecturing for 50 minutes about his beliefs, he let them come up and examine the tank.  He didn’t say a word.  Their average estimate was 2,700.

The point of his lesson was that you need to gather facts yourself. Don’t rely solely on those who claim they are “experts”.  Do experts exist? Surely. Too many people tell the world they are experts only to be discovered later they are only reporting their “facts”, not all facts.  Only when you collect the facts yourself, can you start to determine who the actual experts are.  I remember him telling us that “you need to gather the facts and then form your opinion, don’t let others form your opinion for you.”

I thought this lesson was particularly relevant during this time.  

About Krieger Analytics

My name is Matt Krieger, and I am the founder of Krieger Analytics, an accounting and advisory partner for small businesses and franchisors.  Our goal is to completely outsource your accounting department from bookkeeping and taxes to CFO advisory services. I am also the owner and franchisor of a concept called Monkey Bizness, in Denver, Colorado. 

As a small business owner with a background in finance and strategy, I realized the benefits that a CFO could bring to smaller organizations.  Most franchisors and small business owners don’t have a need (or budget) for a full-time CFO or bookkeeper.  To better fit my clients, Krieger Analytics is a part-time resource.  While most think of CFO’s being involved in finance and accounting (we are), we are also involved in much more.  We partner with clients by coaching, giving them clarity into their business, and creating growth strategies.  Conversations are free, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me at matt@k-analytics.com

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