Early Sunday morning a few weeks ago I received a text and phone call1 asking me to form a new nonprofit group. I had a long history of forming and working with grassroots nonprofit groups in the seven years after super storm Sandy turned our world upside down. Sandy recovery projects led me to the new group’s key people. Forming a new nonprofit business for coronavirus recovery was a natural fit.
I offered them top priority attention and had the new nonprofit organizational work done in record time. Looking back, I recognize that this was only possible because I shut out all other chaos of the news. The public response to a new pandemic unfolding around us on those key early days. My new CPA firm was only in its second month when the pandemic close down hit. This was only my ]second post-shutdown business recovery project. At the time I took this engagement, I had no idea about how much more intense the workload would soon become.
This Politico article talks about how the new group’s marketing was so effective the new nonprofit group’s marketing was that it caused president Trump to publicly speak out against the positions of his own political party. Normally the highest ranking official in the Republican party would side with the large insurance industry but instead the president voiced support for the new association of small businesses. Last week the story was in The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. The battle is just beginning and will go on for year. Billions and maybe hunbreds of billions of dollars are at stake.
How did the strategy work so well and so quickly? Simple. The group’s name during the organization’s planning stage was entirely different. At the last minute before I hit the ‘send’ button an officer wrote a short email with the brilliant idea to change it to “Business Interruption Group” to use the acronym “BIG”. Meanwhile, they recruited celebrity spokespersons in advance. Then they requested a meeting with president Trump about the business emergency. Trump loves the word “BIG” and loves associating with celebrities. It worked! Simply by combining the word “BIG Group” connected to the names famous chefs this group and their lawyer got a meeting with the president and the rest, well, the rest is likely to unfold in the business headlines for a long time to come.
Although I had nothing to due with the strategy or marketing, it feels rewarding that I was able to help ramp this project possible. By quickly handling the group’s legal formation and filings they were “in business” immediately even during an economic shutdown. It’s a great small business success story (even from the viewpoint of the lowly accountant) of brilliant business strategy and execution that I’m sure we will re-tell many years from now.
1 A point of clarification: by agreement, I am allowed and encouraged me to share this business story but the names of individuals involved is withheld as a matter of privacy under the terms of my standard services engagement agreement.