Asks publisher Chris Day, of Filament Publishing
Nobody likes enforced change. It is unnerving, disruptive, and challenging. As the new post-lockdown future unfolds in front of us, it is fast becoming clear that the way we used to do things before, is not coming back. The longer we wait and hope for the old ‘normal’ to return, the longer we are putting off adapting to the present, and carving a new niche for ourselves.
Our customer, our suppliers, our marketplace, and our world are all affected in ways we are only just starting to understand. To think otherwise is to be in denial. And denial doesn’t pay the bills.
For authors and speakers, as with so many other professions, when lockdown happened, the income streams they relied on simply dried up. Events that provided paid speaking engagements, stopped happening. The book distributors and the bookshops closed. People stopped buying books – or did they? Well, actually, no.
The one thing that didn’t change was the need for information, education, entertainment and solutions to all of the day to day problems and situations that affect us all. It is that need that didn’t go away, and neither did our customers. They just looked elsewhere to satisfy it, and that was online.
Overnight, some industries blossomed. Whilst jobs were being lost in retail, they were being replaced by new ones in the field of distribution and home delivery. So, in the world of words, the events and the courses we would have attended, suddenly became webinars or Zoom calls. Same content, different platform. With lockdown in place, our laptops and PCs suddenly became more important as our ‘windows on the world’. They also became our shop windows for us to connect to our customers. They hadn’t gone away, they just adapted to the new normal. Have you?
As Confucius never said “Man wait with mouth open for a long time before roast duck fly in.” how long are you going to wait to reinvent yourself and your business for the very different opportunities that lie ahead?
The two key words for survival are Relevance and Need. The market has become very niche. People are looking to fix a specific problem, learn a particular skill and enjoy a particular experience. If you can tune into their needs, and make your offering relevant to them, then you will make it through to the other side of these challenging times. Now, more than ever before, you need to open your mind to doing things differently, with different offering it through different channels.
You don’t need to predict the future to survive. If you were driving from London to Glasgow at night you can only see twenty meters in front of you using the headlights. But it is enough. Right now, the motorway might be closed, but there are many alternative routes open to you. All you need is clarity on your what your ideal customer is now looking for, and make sure you are positioned where he is looking for it.
This will never be the same as they were, but if you are creative and able to change direction, even just a little, you will survive the storm.
Chris Day Founder of Filament Publishing © 2020