It is safe to say most businesses affected by the current crisis will have more demand in the second half of 2020 than they do right now. However, by letting this scenario play out, there are at least three problems.
First, the current productivity of your business and employees is considerably low, forcing you to pay people to do very little right now or keep them laid off.
Second, a sudden spike in demand all at once has its own set of challenges, e.g., your employees spread too thin.
Third, what too many companies do during recessionary times to try to generate sales is start discounting to jump-start sales. This strategy always backfires. It becomes a race to the bottom, and conditions your customers to always negotiate, never wanting to pay regular price again.
Maybe you don’t have to wait it out or become the lowest bidder. There may be an opportunity to increase future 2020 revenues while spreading out demand so it all doesn’t hit at once. Maybe Wimpy, the character from Popeye, had the right idea: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
Like you, most of your customers’ cash flow is down and they have more time on their hands, which is the ideal time for them to improve, pivot, and innovate their business. However, it is hard to reinvent their business model if they can’t spend any money today. This is where your organization can come to the rescue.
What if you offered to help them now, provide the services now, and allow them to defer some or all of their payments for 30 to 120 days? If your business can afford to do this, think about the upside: You spread out the future demand to now, you keep your employees busy, you are able to take on more business later when it is more likely to come, you increase your 2020 overall revenues, and best of all, you didn’t discount.
On the flip side, this is also a good strategy to use with your vendors. For example, during these times, every business should be updating and improving their website, marketing materials, branding, etc. You may not have cash flow to spend right now, but if you wait until you do, you probably will be too busy to give it the attention it deserves – which is why it hasn’t gotten done in the past. So make the same offer to your vendor partners: Let’s do the work now and give me more time than usual to pay. Everyone wins.