Surviving the coronavirus crisis for physical small businesses: Take a lesson from creators! (Part 1)

Two general categories of businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown: services and non-essential products.

In the first case, while it’s regrettably the case that some small businesses might not survive, many services professionals can weather the storm if they get creative. In the second case, your storefront may be gone, but your business doesn’t have to be. Chances are, your business is already online to some degree. Now’s the time to go all in on e-commerce.

How can you survive, you ask? Simple. Take a lesson from creators.

A third industry that has been hit very hard is entertainment. Performers who make the majority of their income from productions and performances are, on the surface, totally screwed. Think about it. If you depend on a bunch of people crowding into a bar, concert hall, theater, studio or arena, what do you do?

You get creative, or you starve!

So let’s take a look at what creators are doing.

Musicians, especially independent musicians, are doing live-streaming, direct selling of digital content and Patreon-based (or similar) fundraising with special perks. And they’re also creating new content and recording at home. Thanks to modern technology, at least if you live in a relatively quiet building or house, you can produce near studio quality for a fraction of what studio recordings used to cost, and you can definitely do recordings with a “live” feeling.

Comedians are doing online comedy or talk shows, for free, to engage with a fan base (that might in turn buy merchandise), or through third party ad-supported channels (and, when possible, taking a cut of the advertising revenue or getting a small commission from the platform). All they need to engage their audience is a laptop with a decent quality camera and mic and a web-sharing tool with recording capability.

Actors and performers are doing podcasts to stay relevant with their fan base, and some are using that to promote books or merchandise they have for sale. Post offices and delivery companies are still delivering.
In other words, while they have all lost their major income streams and often must perform from home, they haven’t given up — and neither should you!

If you can’t keep your small business going through the shutdown, you can at least keep going and maintain your relevance and be ready to be the first to recover when you can re-open and get back on track to normalcy.

So how do you do that?

Read the full article over on Spend Matters to find out!

Dear Procurement, No Excuses! Carpe Diem Laetus!

We’ve said twice now that cloud-based solutions — and not just video conferencing applications like Zoom — can help turn your sofa or kitchen table into a mobile procurement command center, we meant it, and we’ve given you eight great examples of activities normally done (mostly) in person that you can do just as well (or better) from your home office, desk, sofa, or even bed.

And, as you guessed, it doesn’t stop there — because the capabilities of modern procurement platforms don’t stop there. However, today we’re going to focus on how to use everyday Procurement tools in creative ways to accomplish more tasks and increase your distributed, virtual productivity. If you examine each and every tool in your software arsenal, we guarantee you can find creative ways to put them to good use to not only maintain, but possibly even increase, overall levels of efficiency in this crisis.

More specifically, with creative application of tools that likely already exist in your Source-to-Contract arsenal, you can:

  • find out what your team is doing and what they want to do
  • manage and track processes and their efficiency to identify bottlenecks
  • track distributed assets AND skillsets
  • identify relevant information resources you didn’t know you have

How?

Check out the doctor‘s latest piece over on Spend Matters on how to apply traditional procurement technology in non-traditional, socially distanced ways over on Spend Matters.

Dear Procurement, No Excuses! Carpe Diem Rursus!

When we said that cloud-based solutions — and not just video conferencing applications like Zoom — can help turn your sofa or kitchen table into a mobile procurement command center, we meant it, and gave you four great examples of activities normally done (mostly) in person that you could do just as well (or better) from your home office desk, sofa, or even bed!

But it doesn’t stop there. Today we’re going to review a few more activities that still have a large face-to-face component but that can be done as required while working from home. (And, in a couple of cases, maybe should be done from home as the surroundings, or the approach that needs to be taken, adds relevance!)

Yesterday we described in detail how you could tackle, and conquer:

  • Category Planning
  • Vendor Site Audits
  • User Groups and Workshops
  • Internal Category, Supplier, and Market Intelligence

while working remote. And all you needed to do was embrace modern technology (including modern Source-to-Pay solutions) and think, and work, different. But don’t stop there. With a little thought, creativity, and willingness, you can also effectively tackle:

  • Contract Negotiations
  • End-User Product Qualification
  • Inventory and Asset Management
  • Project Post Mortems

from home as well and get it done. And while you’re probably wondering if all this self-isolation is causing at least some of us, including the doctor, to lose it (we admit we are, to some degree). But the doctor assures you he is not, nor is he a stranger to remote work and having to devise ways to get things done remotely. In fact, he has been working remotely to some extent since the early days of the internet more than two decades ago, and that extent has grown over time (to being 100% remote thanks to COVID-19).

And you can be sure that when he says you can do this, you can. How?

Check out the full details in this CoronaVirus Response Part II post the doctor wrote that published today over on Spend Matters main site.

In other words, don’t look at this crisis as a huge challenge and a stop to business, but instead as an opportunity to do business better than ever and lead your organizations out of this troubled time.

Dear Procurement, No Excuses! Carpe Diem per Scientia et Lectum Diurnum

Cloud-based solutions — and I’m not just talking about Zoom — can help turn your sofa or kitchen table into a mobile procurement command center.

For example, while you have always done the following at least partially (if not entirely) in person and on site, you can tackle these from your barcalounger:

  • Category Planning
  • Vendor Site Audits
  • User Groups and Workshops
  • Internal Category, Supplier, and Market Intelligence

All you need to do is use modern technology (including modern Source-to-Pay solutions) and think and work different. And if you do embrace this new normal and new way of working and start using more of the capabilities, you might just find that you actually perform just as well, if not better (and yes, in some cases you will perform better) than doing it the old way.

How you ask? Check out the full details in this CoronaVirus Response post the doctor wrote that published yesterday over on Spend Matters main site.

In other words, you can look at this crisis as a huge challenge and a stop to business, or an opportunity to do business better than ever and lead your organizations out of this troubled time.

COVID-19: You Can Get Through This!

the doctor still believes that it wouldn’t be so bad if we could all be honest, smart, logical adults but when you have players like China and the USA in the mix (especially when [a] certain Republican[s] is/are in charge), and seniors who are more stubborn than millennials, that’s just not a reality. (In the doctor‘s view, only Sweden has it right. Put some strong measures in place, make sure people understand it’s bad and could be extremely bad if they don’t do as much as possible to prevent that, but don’t ignore it until it’s too late and then shut everything down when it is too late. But that’s a discussion for another article.)

So, we’re in a global mess, and the only way we’re going to get out of it individually is if we’re creative, and collectively is if Procurement takes the lead.

To that end, the doctor has been collaborating heavily with the globally distributed Spend Matters analyst team (because no one person can get us out of this) to bring a unified, technologically focussed, COVID-19 response to help you.

Since the beginning, the global analyst team has been working together to identify the issues that you will be facing and the technologies that will help you get through this, and making a significant amount of this information (which would normally reside behind the PRO paywall given its depth and the amount of analyst time that went into it) FREE for all. (Only the vendor coverage, based on our extremely deep vendor dives, is behind the paywall, but the names of the vendors we are covering are not.* And while the doctor‘s name won’t be attached to much as a lead analyst, you’ll certainly find his digital fingerprints all over it.)

So far, we have given you the first, or second, iterations of:

Note: Some pieces posting today and tomorrow!

0. CoronaVirus Coverage Introduction

1. Supply Risk Management

2. Sourcing & Commodity Management

3. Advanced Procurement Analytics

4. Procure to Pay(P2P)

5. Fraud, P2P, and Vendor Management Safeguards

6. Deep Contract Analytics (Coming Soon!)

7. Contingent Workforce and Services Part I and
Part 2

And we will be updating these with additional issues and vendor coverage as time goes on. (For example, by the end of the week, an extended version of Advanced Procurement Analytics should be up with more issues and more vendor coverage.)

And SpendMatters has even prioritized Brand Studio, Sponsored, and Main Site content that could be helpful to you, including:

And even main site posts on how we can help individually:

And starting this week, the doctor will be leading a main-site series on Dear Procurement, No Excuses (Part I: Carpe Diem per Scientia et Lectum Diurnum) on how you can not only do everything you used to do in person and/or at the office virtually and distributed, and do it better (by embracing the full capabilities of modern technology to knock capability, and productivity, up a notch (no spice weasel needed).

Keep an eye out for it. (the doctor will let you know here when they go live. Don’t worry!)

 


* As you know, even though he writes a considerable chunk of it, the doctor usually doesn’t push Spend Matters Pro on this site as the smart will seek out the best information they can get (and other analysts can’t hold a candle to the technology coverage the doctor can do), but he wants you to know that if you are considering Pro#, there has never been a better time!

Through the end of April 2020, a Spend Matters’ special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners at up to 50% off! See the COVID-19 PRO Expert Survival Pack!

# PRO has published well over 100 vendor deep dives, including dozens and dozens by the doctor himself, in the past three years that go far beyond anything you’ll find anywhere else, as well as thought leadership series on UX, AI, and various S2P areas that are more insightful than most books …

(and while the doctor would like to offer this deep coverage on SI, the reality is the number of vendors who will support educational content vs. thinly disguised marketing content are few and far between and the model SI would like to follow is just not sustainable … the doctor will continue to bring you best practice advice when he can, and will be cross posting some of the public content on, and related to, COVID-19, but if you want the deepest vendor and thought leadership coverage there is, subscribe to PRO [and keep the doctor writing] which you know is always completely unbiased as its paid for by readers, not vendors!