As we start to see a flicker of light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we start to think about all the things we want to do when things get back to normal, whatever normal is supposed to be. Maybe we start thinking of traveling again or going back to the gym or just throwing a big party with more than just our immediate family. However, the end of this “era” also means that a new one will start. For example, during the past 9 months, we have not only experienced the effects of pandemic fatigue. We have also gained an awareness of the lack of racial and social inequality around us, the economy’s vulnerability and our livelihoods, and the importance. We need a sustainable environment, which includes the economy. Therefore, many of us wonder what will come next for business in general, specifically for our businesses and our communities’ businesses. And since this website is about San Francisco, let’s start here.
One of the great things about San Francisco, even if some may think it is more of an urban legend than reality, is that the City always finds a way to rebound from a crisis. In the last 120 years alone, the City has recovered from the 1906 earthquake, the Second World War, the socio-political crises of the 60s and 70s, the first dot-com predicament, and the financial crisis of 2008. Mind you, it is not only San Francisco that has recovered from these crises. Other cities did so as well, but what is somewhat unique about San Francisco is that each time the City tended to morph and grow substantially. Therefore, I feel that we are on the brink of a new era again.
Of course, geography alone does not play a huge part in the new renaissance, not beyond the meteorological influences. The new recovery and renaissance depend on what San Franciscans will do next. And they have usually rallied. Now I will admit that my opinions are influenced by my love of San Francisco or blind optimism or a combination of both. Still, whatever it is, it is crucial to turn the economy around, to help us grow our businesses, to help our fellow community members, and to get ready for the next challenge.
So, how will this work? It is still a bit too early to tell. We need to check back in the spring of 2021, which is not too distant a date, and see what all the challenges and opportunities will be. For one thing, we will have lost more businesses by then, which means more boarded-up storefronts and, consequently, less revenue to work with. However, the opportunities will lie in adroitly and fairly negotiating commercial leases, collaborating with City agencies to expedite permits and lending, and working with community members to address their needs by providing the right service and product. We will also be able to utilize both the personal and professional experiences we lived through in 2020 to find niche markets, optimize our existing businesses, and, ultimately, help the City succeed to the advantage of all its residents, which in turn, of course, benefits us as well.
In the 20+ years that I have been working in digital marketing, as well as in business consulting, and have seen scores of clients achieve their business goals, as well as thrive; the three primary features that I have told my customers to keep in mind are:
- Find an unmet need
- Create a defensible position
- Know your numbers – measure, measure, measure
- Always remain flexible and “agile” to address changing markets and customer needs.
This last point is currently not only crucial but powerful. 2020 has been an incredible experience for all of us, both on the plus and negative side. Therefore, it would be a waste not to take advantage of the lessons learned up to now and until we reach the other side.
Michael P. Doherty, PMI-ACP,
Mike has a long history of business development, financial strategies, and planning. He has launched and managed several ventures personally, so he understands the challenges of managing day-to-day operations in an uncertain environment. He strongly believes in adopting Agile methodologies to deliver customer value early and often consistently. His combined startup background, along with Agile expertise, allows him to help his clients deliver products in an efficient, cost-effective manner to meet the ever-changing needs of their users continually.