We are in an unprecedented time – one where our normal decision-making is influenced greatly by circumstances that are out of our control. Many entrepreneurs and leaders are asking what they can do and what are my options. Even more dire, some are asking how they can survive. Below is a list of some ideas that almost any entrepreneur/leader can consider.
- Respond and adjust what you have to with your daily business operation and function – it may be a matter of the law or for the safety, health and well-being of your employees and customers.
- Communicate early and often – with your first customer – your employees and let them know what the plan is, how you envision a pathway forward. Of course, this may be a frequent occurrence with the daily changes we are seeing. Choose a mix of communication channels email, text, Zoom or similar meeting, or a conference call. It may be looking at work-life balance a little or a lot differently than is typical.
- Communicate with your paying customers – let them know that you are here for them, in what capacity, and how they can avail themselves of the value you offer and deliver.
- Are you maximizing your use of technology to optimize the effectiveness of your employees, your team cohesiveness and customer experience? What is missing that might enhance this and other areas for your team, business and customers? Make a plan to adjust, or train or acquire as may be necessary for this crisis and possibly beyond.
- Rather than investing your time in things you cannot control (areas of concern), consider areas of your business where you have some or greater control (area of influence) – adjust your customer offerings, or your hours of operation; develop a procedures manual or a strategic plan or hold a virtual team meeting to get team buy-in and input to some changes that you’d like to introduce.
- Assess and take stock – since change is being handed to us and the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to adapt and adjust, this is a good time to evaluate – how would I rate where things are with my business against where I would like to see them? Create a contrast between your current state and your desired state. What are the opportunities you have to work on the areas you’ve identified that aren’t as desirable as you would want?
- Work ON your business not IN your business. This might be a great time to explore a new process, or procedure or to keep your team actively involved in constructive work – documenting or crafting new areas for the business. It could be reorganizing work areas, re-utilizing space or some other strategy or tactic that will leave you in a better place for once this crisis has passed.
- The only two areas of business that drive revenue are marketing and sales – Is this COVID-19 crisis a good time to beef up, adjust or start something related your sales and marketing? It could be changing your current messaging to better fit the specific needs of this crisis. It may be developing a strategy for sales and marketing once this crisis has ended. It may be documenting a sales process that represents your company’s best practices and trains your sales team on its use (virtually at this time).
- Don’t react – explore and consider your options. This means take a close look at your capabilities during this uncertain time. Be clear about what is and is not relevant and of value. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers or business community and ask, “What contribution can we make to the common good of our customers and business clients”?
- Check your mindset. It’s typical that many of us will be focused on the negative – did you know that for the average individual on any given day that 80% of our thoughts will be negative? This is simply a result of the way we are wired (fight/flight response and self-preservation). It takes more energy to look at possibilities and see the positives. So, get out of your comfort zone and embrace change – explore what you can look at differently today that you might have a few days ago.
- Find your blind spot – this is much easier said than done. For most if us if we can’t see it, we cannot address it or fix it. While investing time to simply go out and find blind spots can and likely will be counter-productive, having an extra or outside set of eyes focused on you and your business can make a dramatic difference in exposing your blind spots. Take time to speak with your advisor or business coach – someone who will listen and reflect what they are hearing back to you.
If your business is experiencing uncertainty right now, connect with a Coach and start taking action!
– David Waymann, AdviCoach of Southeast Michigan