After we unveiled our version of a financial stress test a few weeks ago – a close-up look at revenue, gross profit, net profit, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and inventory – we’ve been walking several members through the exercise. During this process, we’ve discovered that revenue flow is where you need to focus.
Let’s assume you’ve secured liquidity based upon the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portion of the CARES Act. (Let’s also assume that, by now, you’re having webinar fatigue, your service trucks are all clean, and the floors are spotless.) Now what?
During this time, sales shouldn’t be the responsibility of only your sales teams. Principals and senior executives can create significant sales impact by targeting high-level key clients and decision-makers. Create a target list of key clients to personally reach out to as a principal/senior-level executive. It’s amazing how many opportunities and how much data you’ll uncover when a client is willing to share information with you simply due to your position.
NSCA leadership – including its board of directors – developed this list of 10 ideas you can use as a starting point for your entire organization to be creative and find revenue-generating ideas to get you through this time of uncertainty.
Right now, any revenue from projects that are accessible – without placing anyone at risk – is good revenue. Your typical “sweet spot” may have to be temporarily modified until we get through this (and we will get through this).
- Many healthcare facilities around North America are experiencing low occupancy rates in wards that manage non-life-threatening patients, such as elective surgical procedure recovery, orthopedics, etc. With funding allocated to these facilities, investments are being made in upgrades that have been delayed. Reach out to your clients to see if that is an area where incremental income can be generated.
- Telehealth through remote connectivity is huge right now. Medical facilities are seeking solutions to perform remote procedures, diagnostics, and routine care. Our industry is perfectly suited to offer these solutions. It might take a partner to make it happen, so remember: Matchmaking is something NSCA does very Develop partnering relationships with other members that can bolster your offerings. In the case of a large company, offer services to other members that create additional revenue streams for you. For example, a small company can partner with a large company to resell services: 24/7 help desk, remote monitoring, and virtual attendant services. The key is to pinpoint where you can be relevant and offer value in that space.
- A lot has been written about streaming services, but we’ve seen clever ways to help smaller entities deliver information to remote workers, parishioners, etc. For event companies that have this capability – yet have no live events happening – this could generate revenue without additional investment. Bundle small solutions together in packages for quick deployment and immediate cashflow.
- Turn unused large display inventory into revenue by offering digital signage and wayfinding services to drive-through testing facilities. Several members indicate that, after giving this advice, the idea was implemented almost immediately. It provides an incredible value to frontline healthcare workers to communicate with large groups while keeping everyone at a safe distance.
- Reach out to clients with managed services agreements to make sure they receive value from you – even during downtime. Promote remote monitoring, virtual attendant, and help desk support services. Create regular communications that go out to your database, social media channels, and blogs to let your clients know you’re open and operational as an essential service provider. In the case of education, offer remote security and surveillance, remote attendance, remote timekeeping, remote attendant services for virtual classes, and so forth. Other ideas include cyber checkups, Wi-Fi heat mapping, and compliance testing. The IT-savvy integrator has much to offer right now.
- Offer to serve as their help desk or supplement help-desk capabilities. Many organizations with more than 500 employees have turned IT departments into remote employee help desks to help remote employees connect and use technology safely. Offer to help clients in a “whatever-it-takes” fashion to backstop anything they can’t provide.
- In a recent Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS K-12) call with school administrators, we discovered a major concern: network integrity, device management, software updates, patches, unapproved apps, viruses, malware, etc. on school-owned machines. Integrators can provide a great service to schools that need to prepare to bring teachers and students back into classrooms. In higher-education environments, consider providing rental services for the AV products they need to support online classes. Include shipping, tracking, and sanitizing before and after each quarter/semester.
- Turn a problem into a solution. Many of our members report that they can’t get permits or close out projects because AHJs are unable to conduct site visits. You have the capability of performing virtual close-out inspections and file sharing with remote building officials. Given the situation, most municipalities are now approving these. Don’t just finish your work and get paid – help other trades do the same. You can be of great service since you know how to do this.
- Set up a rapid response team and, at the highest levels possible, let your clients know about it. Utility companies, local/state agencies, and many corporations are beefing up emergency management service programs and have fully activated EOCs. Remote monitoring, upgrades, and onsite service needs have increased for EMS departments since the COVID-19 outbreak. These organizations also have physical locations that are mandated to remain open and retain essential workers onsite. This requires up-to-date videoconferencing systems so they can communicate with remote workers.
- Offer office-closed facility monitoring. Many small- and medium-sized clients are left without access to their office building. As an essential workforce, you can access many unoccupied buildings to set up perimeter surveillance, monitor network traffic, etc. Once again, the key is to reach out to key accounts, see how they’re doing, and ask if there’s anything you can do for them.
Remember: By accepting PPP funding as a forgivable funding source, you need to keep employment levels and payroll near pre-crisis levels. Creativity and new ideas like those listed above may help you reach employment retention goals.
Now is the time to be truly entrepreneurial! Call your key clients and get their feedback and insights on how your services fit into their new reality. Engage with your entire team to find new ways to support key clients based on feedback from the clients themselves. If you have Millennials on your team, now’s the time to get their ideas and feedback. They grew up in the virtual world as technology natives and may have innovative insights.
NOTE: These ideas came directly from fellow NSCA members who have executed on one of more of them – and were willing to share with others. That’s one of the many great things about our industry. –Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director