Over the years I have spent a good portion of my leisure time watching movies and TV shows with plots centered around some sort of apocalypse or end of the world scenario. Think classic zombie movies like Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead (both the original and the remake), post-nuclear war movies like 1959’s The World, the Flesh and the Devil, with Harry Belafonte and Inger Stevens, 1972’s A Boy and His Dog, or movies where the world is coming to an end because of some unspecified cosmic occurrence such as the 1998 Canadian film Last Night with Sandra Oh or 2011’s Melancholia with Kirsten Dunst.
These movies were mostly entertaining and some thought provoking in a “what would you do if? kind of way. After all that cinematic prep, I never thought I’d be living in an apocalyptic world like the one we find ourselves in now. I realize using the term “apocalyptic” is a little over the top, however, the parallels are there even if this is a temporary situation. I am confident things will settle down and we will get back to normal or some semblance of normal.
As difficult as it is to admit, this could be apocalypse now for many SMBs. I look at my little corner of the world and wonder what’s coming back when this is all over and what isn’t? I think about the restaurants, music venues, small shops, and my local printer whose demise would personally affect me. But that doesn’t factor in the many other local SMBs that are B2B who are transparent to me because I don’t interact with them.
There is some financial relief on the way for some of these struggling businesses and their employees, but will it be enough to keep them afloat when this is all over? And will there be a domino effect? We all know SMBs represent a significant portion of many independent dealer’s customers. The reality is some of those SMBs won’t be back when this is over.
We always like to talk about the resilience and the adaptability of the independent dealer. However, this is a situation that most of us never saw coming and were unprepared for, at least the way it has played out to date. Yet, I feel hopeful, particularly after interviewing Konica Minolta’s President & CEO Rick Taylor this afternoon for another article and column I’m writing. He is fully confident the independent dealer channel will survive this crisis, citing their resilience and ability to change as necessary.
He was honest, emphasizing what most of us already realize, that things are not going to go back to the way they were before the pandemic. But he is optimistic that the independent dealer channel will weather this storm.
That sense of optimism is something we should all embrace despite how bleak things may seem now and the hyperbolic headline of this column.
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