Non-Essential? Essential? What Now



Author —Auteur — Michelle Bell

As the latest news release unfolds about non-essential business closures, many are left with the looming question of what now?All scenarios — essential or not —  require a thoughtful approach on how to handle this fluid situation.

Essential Business?

Strap yourself in. While revered, your position is also risky. You will likely need to manage tensions with technology, supply chain, customer service, partners and your teams.  

What should you do now?

  1. Remember what made you essential and prioritize. Nobody will remember that the superficial items during the pandemic – like chocolate or cosmetics. People will remember that families were fed, health was protected, and we felt secure in your care.
  2. Make it fair. Once you know what is important, give fair access to it. Stop the hoarders, limit for the greater good, provide access to the most vulnerable. My heart goes out to the store charging $5 for the first bottle of sanitizer and $95 for the second.
  3. Play fair. Look for opportunities, but don’t be overly opportunistic. There is a fine line between essential and greedy. Consumers will sniff it out quickly. You can still use this situation to grow and become stronger, but it must be strategic.
  4. Set expectations. If you try to be everything to everyone (note: bad idea in the first place), you will fail. Let consumers know you are finding your way through this, and to be tolerant and excuse the bumps along the way.


You need to strap yourself in too. While we are all cringing at the impact on small businesses and non-essential services, we can’t challenge it. We are all in this for the greater good. That said, goodwill doesn’t make it hurt less. 

What Now?

Do not go dark. Undoubtedly, someone has already told you to cut spending. Stop all work – even the strategic work that can be done remotely. Don’t please. Just spend differently, build strategy from your kitchen. 

I wish I knew how to use my instapot. And that I had a system for weekly meal plans. Why do we tell you this? Because I have a long list of rainy day projects that I never get to. We all do. I am willing to bet that your business does too. The rainy day is here. Scratch that – the monsoon has come.

So, what was on your rainy day project list? What should be on it?

Let’s get you started. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on the following foundational business strategies. 10 = Perfect. 

  • We have a clear strategy that is well understood and used throughout the organization.  
  • We have a clear brand positioning.
  • We have a clear view of consumer/client/donor segments.
  • The customer journey is mapped for all segments.
  • We have a content plan that leverages storytelling across all channels.
  • We have fully integrated digital into our media strategy.
  • We are insight-driven and leverage all data in our decision making.  

All 10s? Good for you. For the other 99%, let’s get started. You need to stay present in the coming weeks and come out stronger, and possibly different when this is over.    

So, what now? What should your specific business do? Good question. Give us a call.   We are helping our community in the best way we can right now, and offering free consults to get you started.   We don’t have all the answers in these uncertain times, but we can work through this with you.   

Contact us. It’s free. No strings. Let’s do this together.  

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle has over 18 years of experience in marketing and operations. She has worked in traditional brand management for global consumer packaged good brands. In addition, she has worked in marketing and business strategy for the public sector, including Canada 150 for the Royal Canadian Mint.

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