Just last week I was talking to the Vice Chairman of one of our commercial real estate clients and he told me the new catch phrase among his peers is “Stay Alive till 2025.”
Are you kidding me?
Lately, waking up in the morning to scan the headlines supports this view.
Let us start with Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal headlines:
- The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are shutting down their teams temporarily (see article). Isn’t it bad enough the stands and concessions are empty?
- COVID-19 Cases continue to rise in NY (see article). Is there an end in sight? Where is our local government? Are they just going to let the ship sink?
- Disneyland may not reopen its theme parks for months if not years (see article). Is it not bad enough kids can’t go back to school? At least let us not take away from them their dream destination.
What is a CEO and founder to do when there is a glimmer of hope and some semblance of success to rally around, despite all of the bad news?
Then to my inbox I went. Clicked on an email from the President of an area manufacturing company, one of our first clients, due for annual renewal. He explained orders are down 20% and are expected to worsen. He sincerely apologized but he explained that he must cut costs, and as such, will not be able to renew our workflow management system that was used to start-up and maintain his factory floor machinery.
I quickly turned to our KPI report in the hope of some good news, and thankfully we hit a record month in September. Do we have to be reserved and ashamed when we have positive results to announce. In general I say the answer is “yes.” No need to rub people’s face in it, unless of course, you are part of the solution.
When we first caught wind of the pandemic we furloughed and/or laid off the entire company for five weeks. During that time, we took a hard look at the market we are in and quickly realized that there are segments that would remain relevant to us. We saw that the facility managers, corporate occupiers and construction firms will immediately need safety related surveys, inspections and workflows. The research was also compelling that deferred maintenance will come back to haunt property owners and we needed to give them tools to remotely monitor and manage mission critical equipment and mechanical systems. So we pivoted quickly, and the US Small Business Administration thankfully helped us kick-start our recovery.
The downward trend happened immediately, as we followed a record month in January 2020 with a sharp 40% decline in usage that took less than 60 days to reveal itself (unlike ZOOM of course). We dug in, saddled up and called all of our customers and asked how we can help. With approval from our backers that maintained their belief in our long-term vision, we decided to toss our near term financial plan out the window and pick several use cases that we knew we could solve, and give away the full suite of functionality through the end of the year (that normally comes at a premium). Examples are:
- Construction Site Safety with report accessibility and integration in Procore (click here for details)
- CDC mandated employee health checks (details here) with an enriched method to immediately route and alert dispersed supervisors and HR personnel (on a regional/organizational basis) those that pose a health threat to their local co-workers and offices.
- Project Hot Potato – an expediting tracking tool tied into the Department of Buildings open source systems (click here here to receive new release details).
We have more in the hopper but are keeping the lines clear and our bandwidth available to get people up and running quickly.
The data shows that in four short months we not only regained the transaction volume lost in our platform, but have achieved a 30% increase over the high achieved in January 2020. Our intent is not to celebrate our success amid everyone else’s depressing reality. Trust me, we are feeling the challenges just the same. I chose to publish this data because we are part of the “back-to-work” solution, and want to prove it.
The world will certainly be different place to work and thrive after this pandemic is a distant memory. However, it will not happen any time soon if we sit around and wait for a vaccine to get injected in 300 million people. We must all get back to work now in order for the economy to recover, and we have to do it safely.
We are here to help, and we can also open your eyes up to the power of workflow management and our virtual supervision platform. Let’s all get proactive and leverage technology to solve the problem at hand and position us for a brighter future.
Let us make headlines with positive news of recovery. It will “take more than a village,” yet it is not beyond our reach.