‘You must be present to win’

By Howard Hubler

As I spend time in Florida, I watch my hometown church online rather than sampling a local church to attend. Perhaps this is my loss. This is becoming a major issue in many churches across America. Generally speaking, at church, you must be present to win. If you’re going to win and get the benefit of being in a “like community” of believers and take comfort in a common belief, you have to be amidst those believers. There’s only so much you can do online.

I am one of the 100 or 200 people left in Indiana today that would rather eat lunch inside of McDonald’s. Every now and then, I go inside a fast-food franchise to have a burger and fries and read the news. Seldom today have I been in a fast-food franchise restaurant of any brand that has over 10 or 15 people sitting while dining. Last time I had this experience, I asked the people at the cash register, “Is it always empty post pandemic, and what do you think about it?” They shared with me that it is quite tragic; interacting with a customer was one of the more exciting parts of the job. Now they only see the customers through the windshield of their car.

How about your business? My business, the auto business. is one of the handful of businesses that were considered a national necessity during the pandemic. Yes, we wore masks as did our customers, but we were there at work interacting. What about those thousands of Hoosier companies that are dependent on people arriving in person? Well, if you are a successful businessperson, your mind is probably as bright or brighter than mine. Somehow you need to conjure up some exciting ideas to encourage your customer base to make the trip to your store. Whether they are going to win by getting a half-price drink with their meal, or they’re going to win by getting a free wheel balance with every oil change, or if they are going to win by receiving a big discount on purchasing certain items you have, they must be present. One thing is certain in my mind however: to drive many businesses, you must tell the customer, you must be present to win. How you do this is the post-pandemic challenge for many traditional businesses.