ICS Magazine

As the Waters Recede, Don't Let Opportunity Follow

June 25, 2008

The horrendous flooding that’s been front and center in the public consciousness for the past few weeks seems endless: even now the headlines are filled with troubling news of levee breaks and surging waters. Who knows how many fingers are crossed in the hope that the end will soon be in sight?

The ongoing calamity has provided much in the way of the “truth is stranger than fiction” files. Just yesterday came a report from Winfield, Mo., where emergency personnel have spent days shoring up weakened levees in an attempt to hold back the Mississippi. Seems that on Monday, officials “spent nearly six hours choking off a leak caused by a muskrat burrowing in the soft ground.”

Nature’s fury unleashed, in the form of a medium-size rodent. You can’t make this stuff up.

As you might expect, the storms have been a boon for restoration and carpet-cleaning companies in regions near the affected areas (check out some of the archived “Breaking News” stories for details). “Too much work,” “Calls around the clock,” “Busy as I’ve ever seen it” and so on.

It can be touchy, discussing something as seemingly cold as business opportunities in the face of such devastation. But one need not exclude the other. One way or another, the work needs to be performed, and this may be the best and only chance you have to put yourself in front of these potential long-term clients. But don’t view it as strictly a profit-motivated venture; instead, put yourself in their shoes and think about how you’d want to be handled in such times. This is a high-stress, high-emotion time for those affected by the flooding, these people who have become your clients out of necessity, not choice. What type of impression do you want to leave them with, both of you as a person and of your company? And (here’s where that cold business aspect comes into play) what might this impression lead to down the road?

Have you been doing any work in the flood-affected regions? Let us know how it’s going, and share your thoughts on how best to approach such situations.