Andrew Penny, January 21 2021

Butternut Openings

When we bought our rural property several years ago, the waterfront was dominated by a massive butternut tree. It was close to 60’ high with a 2-1/2’ diameter trunk.  Unfortunately, butternut trees are subject to a nasty fungus called butternut canker that causes them to die off. In our case the tree had started to shed 12” limbs which, when dropped from 50’, were extremely dangerous so I had to take the tree down (I salvaged some of the wood to make an impressive commemorative mantlepiece for our cottage). 

Now that the tree is down, the forest has a wide-open, sunny clearing in which all manner of new growth is sprouting. Deer, rabbits, fox and others are coming to explore. The open space has created opportunities for new life.

When I observe the current business climate, I often think of that butternut tree. Due to the pandemic, it is estimated that up to as many as 35% of small businesses will close. The focus of these stories is on the failures when, in fact, the messages should also be about opportunity. New space. Clearings in which new growth can occur. 

If indeed 35% of small business will close (along with a smaller number but perhaps even more impactful large businesses) what becomes of the tens of millions of clients they used to serve?  Are they looking for alternate providers? Are they moving their spend to other types of provider? Either way, they have unmet needs, money to spend and an appetite to find a new provider. 

You have about six months before business will start to settle into a new equilibrium. It is time to stake your claim. Don’t wait! You need to identify a sharply focussed niche and develop a strategy to own it. As buyers adapt to the new reality – what will they be looking for? How will they want it provided? What experience will they be looking for? (See some ideas on what is changing here) 

The market changes we are experiencing are creating ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunities for you – if you are bold enough to act. 

So, if you want to step into the clearing and create a new future - we’d love to help!

Written by

Andrew Penny


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