Revamping business offerings for an unprecedented market

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Michelle van Schouwen

By now, your small company has likely made the key crisis-driven moves to navigate the immediate effects of the COVID pandemic, from addressing how and where employees work and how you’re staffed to finding new ways to serve customers as safely as possible.

Sadly, this may not be enough.

Unfortunately, the pandemic continues, and along with it, the U.S. is experiencing serious economic uncertainty, increased unemployment, supply chain disruptions, and an unpleasant brew of unhappiness, impatience and inertia among the American people. Your business may be facing another year or more of continued rapid change and punch-in-the-gut challenge. To survive – and potentially to thrive – you may need to answer hard questions and make longer-term changes in addition to the work you’ve already done. Start with an honest assessment:

-Have your customers’ needs, desires or ability to buy your offerings changed? Are these changes going to last beyond the next few months, in your estimation?

-Has your supply chain slowed or been interrupted? Do you believe these changes are temporary or permanent? Can you do some workarounds?

-What NEW pain points are you seeing in your industry? Can you shift or augment your business model to address these?

-Are you gaining or losing customers? Why? Can you create a new or expanded customer base that’s still buying?

-Do you need to further “right-size” your company to remain competitive?

-Do you need to create new partnerships to deliver attractive offerings for 2021 and beyond?

-Do you need to make new deals with your vendors to address tighter margins, slower turnaround or other issues?

-Do you need to move beyond your current geographic market, and can you do so without additional physical plant or sales facilities?

-Do you have new opportunities to do business online? Can you streamline your online offerings to make them highly appealing?

In short, how can you become a 2021-facing business? Your company may look and feel very different from its current incarnation. But guess what? So does the entire economy.


Michelle van Schouwen enjoys an “Act 2” career as principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. See Q5 For 32 years, Michelle was president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company. In 2017, van Schouwen Associates was acquired by Six-Point Creative Works, Inc. of Springfield, MA. Michelle is available for speaking engagements on topics including her new work on climate crisis mitigation and Florida coastal water issues. She speaks to business and student groups about marketing launches and entrepreneurship and works with start-ups to support their development.

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