Advice on Reopening, Innovative Economic Development, & What Leaders Should be Doing Now

Jun 18, 2020 | Blog, Covid-19 Business Strategies

First topic: Some of You are Open!

Hooray for businesses that have reopened! Isn’t it great that customers are coming back!

I know it’s thrilling to have customers spending again, exciting to talk to them and taking their money and having the world come alive again. And I know how your cash registers need it.

But now I’m speaking to you as business owners: I hate to be a Debbie Downer but I think this is just the Honeymoon period after the Covid-Shutdown.

My advice to you is this:
You need to take action during this consumer-infusion of cash and be aware that there are three possible scenarios that you must plan for with this Covid-19 Crap Show:

First Possible Scenario – It Remains Status Quo: The world of business stays exactly the same as it is now: Covid comes and goes, nothing seems severe in your neighborhood and world, but over the hill, some are experiencing rising cases, people adapt and it’s weird but OK to be a consumer and do business again.

Second Possible Scenario – All is Well:  Things get remarkably better, the virus disappears or at least greatly lessens, a vaccine develops and everyone takes it, and no one has to wear a mask. It’s back to the bars, hugging, shaking hands, everyone is meeting again at big conferences and I have to get up on stage in front of thousands and say that I misjudged the whole thing.

Third Possible Scenario – Worst Case: The virus roars back in the Fall and late 2020 in its inconsistent, spotty manner, thundering through one state, barely present in other cities. Shutdowns happen again. Fourth quarter sales are threatened. NFL football gets cancelled but even worse, your kids are back at home with you full-time. Finally, my mask-less friends buy masks and start wearing them.

I hope I’m wrong on this, but I think this reopening is just a short-term oasis from Covid-19.

If you’re an owner, do me a favor and stay focused on making your business Virus-Immune by learning and putting into place the marketing and e-commerce tools to sell to consumers who can’t come in your doors.

That’s how businesses are thriving now.

For Community and Association Leaders:

If you’re a Community or Association Leader, I implore you to help your businesses with the processes to make their businesses viable, regardless of what comes at them.

Want to see a great example of this? Check out the Denison (Texas) Development Alliance and their E-Commerce Accelerator Incentive Grant. This is an innovative program with two levels of participation (Launch and Amplify), and it brings the resources that are needed to independent business owners by giving them the means to succeed and thrive in an online environment. Learn more about this Program by clicking here.

Even more impressive about this unique economic development grant program is that William Myers, their VP of Business Development, was just a few short months ago taking my Destination BootCamp class, walking around our meeting room, eating a carton of Tillamook ice cream and now he’s spearheading this!

How cool is that?!

Here’s another thing Leaders who work with businesses could be doing:

Learn about our Live, Virtual 2-Hour Town Hall Meetings: This is something I’m doing with groups of owners around North America, creating 2 hours of focused, customized instruction getting businesses ready for any scenario and taking their questions live. One downtown director who sponsored and attended my Town Hall said:

“Jon spoke directly to challenges facing our specific businesses. Business owner feedback was overwhelmingly positive, as he provided both high-level strategies for the long-term, as well as accessible tactics that businesses could apply immediately.”

Learn more about my virtual Town Hall Meeting to your community or association by clicking here:

Next Announcement: Our Destination BootCamps are back, registration is Open and it’s now totally online!

If you’d like to learn how to make your business a Consumer Destination (pretty critical right now), and learn all my newest content on making your business resilient to Covid-19, sign up for our totally-online, Destination BootCamp class. We have 3 Destination BootCamp classes in 2020: 1 in July (coming up soon), 1 in September, and 1 in October.

Read about the huge changes I’ve made to the Destination BootCamp and how I’ve included Covid-19 marketing strategies into each chapter by clicking here.

Best of all, you can learn all this great information to grow your business while saving huge dollars on travel, hotels, meals, and you can take the class from the comfort of your home or business.

And the Destination BootCamp is all recorded, so you’ll never miss any part of it.

Read more about our totally rewritten Destination BootCamp at

Three Random Observations That Might Amuse and Elevate You

Number 1: Please don’t listen to theorists who say: “Millions of businesses will close because of the pandemic.” They don’t know and you don’t need mindless forecasting. You need to focus on reinventing the broken parts of your revenue model.

Do I think some businesses are going to close? Yes, but I think independent businesses have a strategic edge being able to change quickly and that more of them will survive and thrive given their ability to shift gears. I believe this because I see it every day with conference calls with owners all over North America.

Chains and big retail corporations with lots of layers: Not as lucky, I think.

Number 2: Be authentic in your advertising. As an owner, get out in front of the camera and talk to your customers. Don’t repeat what you’re hearing from corporations and their marketing companies with their tired cliches: “We’re all in this together. We will get through this. This is the New Normal”. Instead, be sincere, speak from your heart, and be the focus on your business marketing.

Number 3: If you’re a Community or Association Leader, please quit telling owners and your members to: “Get creative. Try new ideas. Be innovative. Think outside the box.” I understand these words are sincere and meant to make people feel better, but they aren’t particularly instructive. Instead, be like Denison Texas (and William’s team) and create specific programs that help owners pull customers in their doors and help owners learn new tools that they never thought they’d have to learn.

That’s what owners want and need!

OK, that’s it for this issue. If you have questions, always send them direct to my personal email address: [email protected] and I will respond directly to you.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Jon Schallert