I am nearly six feet tall. Finding clothing has been challenging my whole life. That was until I learned of Long Tall Sally, a quality retailer devoted to tall women.
Recently I got an email stating that they are closing after 44 years of business. After what sounds like years of somewhat shaky financials, COVID pushed them over the edge. Last week I heard the same story from an entrepreneur friend of mine who founded an international food franchise. Both companies had a sound premise, but they had not quite yet settled into a sustainable and profitable business model, and then disaster struck, exacerbating their existing problems.
COVID has put a magnifying glass on many organizations, including some associations. Leadership teams who were worried about the lack of diversification are more concerned now. Boards facing weak financials pre-COVID are seeing metrics dip lower. CEOs who were tracking a slow decline in engagement, participation, and connection are likely seeing these trends amplified today.
Does this mean many associations are destined to go the way of Long Tall Sally or my friend’s franchise? No. Not at all. If there is a reason for being, if your association solves a problem or fills a gap in our society, that is enough for a viable organization. Are you willing to pivot, experiment, and reconfigure the organization to find a new sustainable way to solve these problems?