Coronavirus Vs. Competition: Which is worse?

As a scrap recycling consultant for large manufacturing facilities, I am connected to, and follow, many other business experts, including those in the scrap industry.

I am an optimist, and there are some opportunities, but let’s not fool ourselves. This is a horrible situation and, in addition to lives lost, it will harm many people financially. So, what do we do about it? What can we do about it?   And, what can we do about it when our competition is actively telling our customers we won’t make it through this ordeal?

Look at The Landscape – Including the Horizon

This may sound obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Whether you’re a CEO, Scrap Owner or Salesperson, lay it all out on the table and focus on the items that matter 

What Can’t You Do Right Now That You Could do a Month Ago? 

For many of us, sadly, for the moment, we can’t sell our goods or services. At least not the same ones, or in the same way. Look at those realities and accept them. Make what’s surreal, look very frightening and real. Look for your competition to have a lot of time on their hands as well.    

How Long Will This Last? 

Estimates are all over the place. Is it 3 months, 5 months, or 18 months? If things last for 18 months as they are now, many people will probably be bankrupt and/or will be out of business. Initially, focus on a 3 to 6-month scenarios. You can strategically plan for that right now.

Play Offense AND Defense

Let’s look at temporary solutions for scrap handling and helping those manufacturers that are losing their service provider due to this pandemic. 

Defense: It’s important to analyze everything and eliminate all those expenses now that aren’t generating income (or setting up future results). Be careful not to cut things that will hurt or hold you back when things turn around in the coming months. You may need to keep some things going with the long-term in mind.

Offense: Sometimes the strongest defense is a strong offense. I believe that the biggest mistake most people will make is to just “wait and see.” You might as well “grab hold and wait”.  It’s important to look at and plan for things that you CAN do right now.

Make Plans 

Where can you plan? You have determined what you can’t do right now. So, what can you do? There are potential options which might lead to opportunities. For instance, with my management company, the revenues that come from traveling across the country providing P.I.E evaluations has come to a halt. So, I am focusing on video call appointments and presentations – I can’t get the virus through the internet! Do you have existing opportunities to create revenues that you weren’t utilizing before? What are all the sales functions that you can handle remotely and still be of help to prospects or clients during this time?  It’s a great time to get on the phone, you have a captive audience! 


Whether we can shift our productivity to something else or not, there are a lot of us who are left with much more time. Time IS an opportunity, so my advice is to treat it as such. Although most businesses are unhappy and afraid, that through this crisis, many have been provided extra time that they never had. Getting through this and being strong on the other side has everything to do with what we do with that time. I have been writing articles, compiling marketing material and contacting customers and clients, which is great because I now have time to focus on these aspects and prospects. Now, I’m all over that plus a list of other projects! The key is to work on those projects that will increase REVENUES now and/or when this crisis is over. What does that list of opportunities look like for you?

Be Ready for a Fight

With whom are you fighting? The answer is physical health, mental health, potential economic realities and your personal circles. You need to be ready and willing to learn what it is that you are made of. Overcoming obstacles has to do with grit and determination. The fight is on, whether you like it or not. Do you get up or stay down and let it all just happen to you? Don’t let your competition steer the course! Take control.  If there is a company that’s making false and damaging statements about you in order to keep or gain business – keep the course.   If you believe it is defamation, call an attorney.  Don’t let those who shouldn’t be your competition – compete against you.

Plan, Pray and Prepare for When We Overcome

If you go down a hole, how powerful will we be when you step out after the dust has settled? Assess, plan, anticipate, participate (remotely) and create. Things are going to get bad, and you will want to avoid a long transition after it’s over. Picture the crisis lasting 6 months, but it takes you another 6 months to get rolling and figure out what to do after that. Now you just turned a 6-month crisis into a 1-year crisis.


-It’s a good time to evaluate your secondary revenue streams – Recycling is your other earner for your company.

-Accept what you can’t do right now and (temporarily) cease doing it, providing you more time and resources to focus on core competencies.

-Shift your offering(s), to what, if anything, you have available to you right now.

-Make a list of all profitable things you can do with added time.

-Plan for how you can improve and be better (right away) after the crisis is over. Get educated and invest in things that will have you ready to hit the ground running.

Don’t Panic

It takes a level head to see and do all the above. Like other trying times in this Nation’s history, this will pass. You are not alone as the entire planet is in this together. We will work together and find ways to overcome this.

Have Hope and Believe! 

This might be the most important point: Your power isn’t in our bodies and bank accounts. It’s in your spirit.  Have faith in your GOD.

Take care of yourself and be of good physical and financial health.

If you would like assistance in planning how to handle the COVID-19 crisis, please contact me at mmartin@nelenvironmental and we will figure how to be ahead of the curve by having your scrap program ready to launch when this is over.