Here in Austin, Texas, recent weeks have been … a challenge. Luckily, I grew up in North Carolina and was accustomed to hurricanes and ice storms affecting water, electricity, and food deliveries. So, when it looked like electricity and water were at risk, my North Carolina roots kicked in and I filled tubs with water for flushing toilets, boiled and stored water for drinking, dug out my camping gear, cleaned off the grill, and made sure I had enough charcoal and food in the event that everything was shut down.

However, deep down, I really didn’t think it would be needed, and honestly — I felt a little silly. This is Texas, after all – we don’t get long-term snow and ice incidents!

But I was wrong, and I was glad that I was prepared.

But for many, storing canned foods and dry goods for emergencies is not the norm. Many Texans were caught off guard, not because they didn’t know how to prepare, but because they simply didn’t know that they needed to prepare. Six to eight inches of snow and ice, frozen and broken water pipes, and electricity and water shutting down in zero-degree temperatures were never things that Central Texans would have considered the would need to prepare for. Hurricanes, flash flooding,  extreme heat — that’s a different story. We know better than most how to deal with those issues! But snow? For many, it never even crossed their minds … including me.

As a marketer, I am always considering how everyday life events affect consumers, and last week made me think about my role as a Forrester analyst and how I implore my clients to prepare for any market condition — even if they think they might not be personally affected. Many CEOs only plan for their primary route to market and fail to plan for that primary route being disrupted. For those who look at multiple routes to market, multiple buyer groups, and multiple personas, a crisis in the market is a blip. But for those who don’t plan for a crisis, it can mean the demise of a company — especially an emerging-growth or start-up company.

Every company must carefully consider a go-to-market strategy that is robust, flexible, and focused on audience needs, especially when market conditions drastically affect those needs, as COVID-19 did. In particular, emerging or hyper-growth company leaders must understand exactly where their company is in the growth lifecycle and determine if they could be at risk due to outside influences and market changes not in their control.

If you are a sales or marketing leader at an emerging company and are unsure of where your company is in the growth lifecycle, please take the Forrester emerging-company growth stage quiz.

So, take a lesson from this Central Texan: Just because you don’t expect something doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Get your company prepared by creating a go-to-market strategy that includes a comprehensive audience framework with multiple routes to revenue, regardless of market conditions. As a mother and a marketer, COVID-19 and now a freak snowstorm in Central Texas have taught me to always be prepared for anything — oh, and to always keep your freezer stocked!