Unlike the Airline business, there will be no bailout for those of us making a living in baseball. If you're not the Yankees, chances are you're like us. You have a small business that has some reserves on hand, but you're dependent on cash coming in the door to pay your staff, your rent and yourself, most likely in that order.
We are not alone. About half of the US workforce is employed by or owns a small business that has an average cash buffer of 27 days. Covid-19 will not be a 26-day problem, so there is no sugar coating this - collectively, we are in for some tough times. Tough times call for plans and difficult choices. We took a look at where we are, the impact of the coronavirus and our next steps to our Opening Day. We hope this can help you plan and react.
The first thing that we need to do is visualize the day that this will be over. It will happen. We need to remind ourselves why we do what we do. We work with great people - passionate coaches, scouts, players, parents, product developers and yes, even marketers. Think about the crack of the bat, the pop of the glove, the sound of metal cleats in the parking lot and the roar of the crowd over the smell of hotdogs.
We're not crisis experts, but collectively we've led large and small businesses through some very difficult times. Intellectually, we all know this crisis will be over at some point, but emotionally many of us are stuck at a chasm wondering what the hell life will life be like when it ends.
We started with Ben Franklin's - "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail," and used it to build a bridge over that chasm to a better, healthier and successful tomorrow. Here's what we've done/are doing:
1) Negotiate/Cut Expenses - We had very realistic conversations with our landlord, software and credit card companies. We negotiated new terms for the next 6 months. reducing payments now. We cut cable, pushed to internet only. We looked at every expense item. If it didn't benefit our customers we cut it. Yay tapwater! Labor moved to free-lance model and we then re-calucluated our baseline expenses That gave us some breathing room.
What can you cut or negotiate? We're nervous about taking out a loan, but that might work for you. Bottom line, you gotta cut to a number and project your revenue to a number,,,,
2) Adapt Revenue - Our job is to promote a sport that draws a crowd, and since we can't have crowds, we have to think differently. We do a lot of work online - web design, social media coaching. We need to work with companies that also work online or virtually. We work with a few brands that ship products that aren't crowd dependent. We need more of that. How can we help others in their new normal?
What are you doing now that can move online? Lessons? Coaching? How can you use video tech to connect? Facetime is great, but Zoom is an app that provides web conferencing and web classroom solutions. Here is a link - https://zoom.us/
3) Visualize What's Next, Before Dust Settles - Crystal ball time. How will baseball change in Spring? How will it be different in the Summer? Fall? August traditionally has been a blackout month. Will teams want to play? Where will they play?
As this disease tapers, people will still be nervous. Will teams fly to Florida, Georgia California for the big tourneys? Will people want to stay local? What about High School teams? What can be done for them?
The season just got started. Will players be rusty? Need training? Lessons? What will practices look like? What apparel/equipment will they need? When will they need it?
4) Reset After the Dust Settles - More crystal ball time. We need to peer into the future and see possibilities, realistic and whacky.
What will Baseball look like after this crisis ends? Who will still be in business? Who will need jobs? What services and products will people need? Will remote training change the current landscape? Who will be first to offer Peloton style training in baseball? Is there a bigger audience for Tele-Coaching?
We can't lose sight of the bigger picture. We need a healthy community to have a healthy economy. Difficult times and choices are ahead of us. Having a plan, being flexible and creative are critical to our mutual success. Until Opening Day, be safe and take care of the people around you and wash your hands!
If you have any questions, want additional info or help you can catch us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-337-6518.