“When I proudly became AICC chairman at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Toronto (which now seems like 100 years ago), my message was “Grow Your Company With AICC.”
Our world got turned upside down in March. Each one of us has been disrupted in some way, and there remains a great deal of uncertainty in the future. There is no way to minimize it and no way to escape it. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a punch in the gut to our businesses, our families, and the country. Despite this inescapable fact, I am sticking with my message.
Although the catalyst may be different—politicians have never before taken the economy offline—we have all been through economic ups and downs. We have all been through personnel and team challenges. We have all had to deal with disruptions in our market and with our customers. You may think that everything feels different, and you would be correct. But I believe that everything is also the same.
The fundamental tools and activities that you relied on to establish your business have not changed. The best practices and culture you created to sustain your business have not changed either. You have had to be, and have been, adaptable—that is the nature of the independent. You may have even remade your business in the past, perhaps more than once.
Today’s situation may find you reevaluating your mission, your values, your vision, and your messaging. There is never a bad time to review these drivers of your company, and it is wise to do so given what you have been through in these past four months.
But there are pillars in your business that you have relied on, and you will continue
to do so.
Numbers, customers, operations. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have all been counseled to “know the numbers” and that “cash is king.” So, we have all taken a hard look at the numbers, trimmed expenses where we can, and regularly monitored cash flow. Have you checked in with all your customers? How are they doing? Can you be indispensable to them at this time? Does the way you operate still make sense? You have certainly changed to accommodate the new needs brought on by the pandemic. Can technology bring about more, positive change?
Growth in your sales book and the size of your company may or may not be restricted by the events of the day. But you never stop growing in your understanding of your business and the environment in which you operate. Your AICC membership is a pillar in your business, too. To help you grow. To help your teams grow. To facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges, webinars on the important topics of the day, and AICC’s Packaging School, which has seen attendance increase by 300% since March.
Assess your numbers, connect with your customers, scrutinize operations, and grow with AICC.