AEC Best Practices, COVID-19May 19, 2020Reduce Fat or Build Muscle? What is the Right Strategy, Right Now? Randy ReynoldsVice President of MarketingThese are strange times we are living through right now. Businesses closed. Everybody working from home. Kids going stir-crazy. Dogs crashing your conference calls. Shortages of food and other essentials. And if that’s all you are dealing with, consider yourself lucky. Think about thousands of families and healthcare workers who are directly impacted by this pandemic.Every business has been impacted in different ways by this global pandemic. Every situation has its differences, but I’m thinking about companies that fall into one of these three categories.The Perfect TimersWhen the global pandemic hit in March of 2020 and everyone left their offices and began working from home, some companies happened to have the right product at the right time. Think about the companies who make those connected exercise bikes or home gyms. This is boom time for them. Need to get an externally mounted camera for all your Zoom meetings? Good luck. They are backorder for months. DoorDash, InstaCart, etc. Some companies were in the right place at a very weird time.Then there are the companies who are hunkered down, waiting to see what the future will bring. Sadly, this is where most of business is today. Let’s examine two different strategies.The Muscle Builders Some companies have been around long enough that what we are experiencing now (from an economic standpoint) is not unfamiliar to them. They survived the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. They made it through the bank crisis in the late 2000s. Now, in 2020, we are facing a new crisis. The Muscle Builders learned from the past that how they spend their time DURING a crisis can have a big impact on how they thrive AFTER the crisis.They learned to use this time to regroup, retool, retrain and re-engage so that when there is more clarity in the future, they will be poised to capture new markets and new customers. They invested in their people and their tools. They used this time to get stronger and more resilient as an organization. They are “working out” – building existing muscle and finding new muscles they never knew existed. They are planning for success.The Fat ReducersSome companies are worried. Uncertainty is never a good thing, and a common immediate reaction is to cut. And cut. And cut just a little more. They don’t wait to fail. They are more focused on losing their business than they are in building their business. Cutting costs is a quick fix. I get it. But while these firms are cutting, other firms are building and getting stronger.So, where does this leave us?Tip of the cap to The Perfect Timers. Good for you. Enjoy it while it lasts.As for the other two strategies – I get it. Neither of you are wrong. Building muscle and reducing fat are both reasonable strategies. But one of you, if you survive, is going to be left behind. Yes, you may have cut enough “fat” to create some breathing room, but have you done that at the expense of your future growth?Cosential ProteinMany Cosential customers have commented over the past few months about how thankful they were to have access to Cosential during this time of uncertainty. While everyone is working from home, they have not lost track of the health of their business. Rather than cutting access to Cosential, they are creating more access. They are investing in what they already know is a powerful platform for their pre-sales business. They are using Cosential to keep teams informed and to help them grow their relationships and position their firms to exit this period of uncertainty strong. They are building muscle.The idea of preserving and even increasing access into solutions like Cosential is not unique. In research conducted in 2018 across over 200 decision makers in the AEC industry, “CRM systems” were ranked among the top 3 software applications to preserve during an economic downturn. In that same research, 43% of AEC firms with over 100 employees indicated they were “highly likely” to adopt CRM during a recessionary period.Think about it. If you are a part of the AEC industry, your most valued asset is your team, their experience and expertise. Second to that are your contacts, companies, relationships, past projects that help you determine where your future business is coming from. This is not fat. The last thing you should do now is reduce access to the one of your most valued assets! This is the muscle that drives your business today and will drive your business in the future.What strategy is best for your firm? Cosential can be the protein energy boost to help keep your company connected during this crisis and help you build the muscle you will need as we exit this period of uncertainty. Let Cosential help you keep your firm fit while we are all working from home.We look forward to seeing you at the ballpark or restaurant or job site in the near future. Be strong!