Business leaders and individual citizens alike are reinventing their roles to serve their respective communities. From Saanich, B.C.’s 6 year old budding comedian, Callaghan McLaughlin, who reportedly is delivering jokes to passersby from his ‘sidewalk stand’ because he “want[s] to get some smiles on people’s faces,” to B.C. utility company, Fortis BC who modified its online learning platform, “Energy Leaders school lessons” in collaboration with local educators, so B.C. students and teachers could access free downloadable K- 10 curriculum, people are stepping up.
Much like we’re seeing in Washington State and indeed across the country, Canadian “business resilience and resourcefulness is on full display during these challenging times,” said Peter Hall, EDC’s chief economist during their May 7, 2020 “Weekly Commentary” (Watch Video). He cited the many distilleries and breweries who have ‘pivoted their production’ and started making hand sanitizer as an example. Whereas retailers, like Victoria’s Heart and Sole Shoes, whose commercial demand dropped off due to the pandemic, have reacted by putting an emphasis on online orders, said Hall. Other Canadian businesses’ coping responses, Hall reported, have included reducing production, reducing employee hours and salaries, as well as full and partial layoffs with the majority of Canadian businesses choosing the latter. “One door closes, but it doesn’t mean it’s all over we have to look for the door that’s opening,” advises Keith Gage-Cole, co-owner of Heart and Sole.
What can we do now?
While “reimagining” and “pivoting” are frequently used buzzwords, there are realistic, actionable options that we see businesses turning toward as we begin to see what the “new normal” will look like. Of the various strategies, a strong online presence and ability to sell online continues to be a key point of differentiation. There are various tools, readily available, to engage with customers to discover, learn about and ultimately engage with your company or brand. Wherever you are with online selling presence, we encourage businesses to assess your capabilities and begin the process of creating, expanding and/or enhancing your capabilities. UCT interfaces with a wide variety of online marketplaces (individual Shopify stores all the way to businesses selling on Amazon). We serve as a “drop shipper”, allowing you to sell your product through online mediums while we take care of everything from inbound receipt of goods to shipping packages to end customers.
What’s on the horizon?
Analysts at BDC predict “the economic data is going to get worse before it gets better.” Data points they’re watching to gauge signs of recovery are U.S. employment numbers and the U.S. consumer confidence index. Since “the U.S. consumer is in a much better financial position [today] than at the onset of the previous recession [in 2008-2009],” BDC analyst reason the U.S. economy will likely recover as dramatically as it fell. This will be welcomed news not just for Americans but for Canadians as well. In particular for those companies doing business in the U.S.A.
(Callaghan McLaughlin, Photo credit: Mike McArthur/CBC)