The last few months since the start of the global pandemic has been a horror story for businesses of just about every industry and size.
Economists polled by Refinitiv expect the U.S. economy shed 21.85 million jobs in April, by far the largest number on record. The US government’s monthly jobs data dates back to 1939.
On March 20th, Goldman Sachs spooked the world, by predicting a 24% decline in GDP in the second quarter.
Those are some of the real numbers. No other event save the Great Depression has hit our economy harder than COVID-19.
Due to the need for social distancing, most all of you have had to make a major shift in how you do business. That means your employees are likely working from home, or social distancing has changed how you deliver, or what your clients now want, or need… which has brought its own business challenges. And despite all this, you’re hanging in there.
But that’s a minor problem when you consider that some businesses shuttered their doors.
Right now, our three major industries, Healthcare, Finance and Information Technology (IT) are seeing major downturns:
- In healthcare, consumer spending plummeted at an annualized rate of 18% in the first three months of 2020, helping drive an annualized 4.8% drop in first-quarter GDP, the worst performance since the Great Recession. The field also shed 43,000 positions in March, with big declines coming at dentists’ and physicians’ offices. Health systems are projected to sustain more than $202 billion in losses between March 1 and June 30, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Hospital Association.
- In finance, credit and debit card spending at restaurants and on travel and entertainment have both declined well over 50.0% in March as a result of shutdowns and travel restrictions. Equity underwriting meaningfully declined in March as businesses delayed their plans of initial public offerings until market conditions stabilized.
- In IT, a Glassdoor report said that tech industry job openings posted on Glassdoor dropped 20.2 percent between March 9 and April 6. More specifically, Glassdoor’s monthly Job Market Report, said job openings in “information technology” dropped from 173,952 on March 9 to 152,018 on April 6 while “computer software and hardware” job postings dropped from 175,983 to 128,064 during that timeframe.
With no clear end to this crisis in sight, we need to take a long, hard look at how we’ve been doing business and admit that the old days are over.
Sure, you might have planned for the expected disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, server meltdowns, etc. But let’s face it: none of us planned for a pandemic that would force wholesale changes to society.
But now here we are, and the decisions you make today can either secure your company’s future or spell disaster.
I realize that by now your head is probably spinning. But if you’re thinking that you can stay the course and your customers will come along for the ride, I urge you to rethink that.
- Consumers have changed their spending habits—do you even know if your product or service is still relevant to your customers?
- What services are they wanting, and what new solutions can you provide for these different needs?
- What is the message that will resonate and bring them back?
You can’t afford to depend solely on the past for answers to these questions. You need real, up-to-date data to take the place of guesswork, so you aren’t flying blind.
And companies are looking for help. How you find out what your clients need? Your prospects? Your market?
Those answers come from doing the market research to rediscover your audience—find out what people are thinking about your industry, products, and your company.
Armed with this market intelligence, you can be well on your way toward turning this horror story into a serious advantage for you.
In fact, read my article on to find out how NOT doing the market research put a particular soft drink and snack food maker into a sticky situation with literally half the world’s population. Then, learn how a certain fast food chain actually broke their own sales records through a twist on timing.