Unless you happen to sell disinfecting wipes or offer online meeting services, this is probably a tough time for your business. Whether business has slowed or your company is completely shut down, you’re probably struggling in some way. And the situation is made worse by the uncertainty; nobody knows when things will start to improve or what the world will look like when the crisis is past.
However, there are steps you can take now to ensure that your business survives the pandemic and even thrives in the next phase. Rahm Emanuel said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” and that’s a philosophy to keep in mind. There are always opportunities created in an unexpected situation. You should keep your eyes open and your thinking flexible so you can spot those opportunities and take advantage of them. This isn’t always easy. It requires more than out-of-the-box thinking; sometimes you have to remove the walls from the box altogether.
Start with Your Resources: You may feel like your company is already in a hole, but remember that you do have resources to offer. Make a list of them. What equipment can you make use of? How much office space can you access? How much labor can you draw on? What kind of expertise do you and your employees have to offer? You’ve been combining those resources in a particular way to keep your business operational, but maybe you can combine some of them in different ways to take your company in a new direction. Now is the time to examine the situation and your business from different perspectives; you might see opportunities you hadn’t considered before.
Set Your Goals: What do you want to accomplish with your business during this difficult time? It may be something as simple as you need to make money to keep your company afloat. But if you aren’t desperate, maybe you want to embark on a volunteer project to give back to the community—or some other project just to stay busy. A lot of people are in need right now and maybe your business can help. Maybe it’s unrealistic to think you can make money while your business is shut down, but you can do some marketing to increase your company’s profile. One DJ company has been posting dance breaks with instructional videos on Youtube. People have plenty of time to surf the internet right now, and the videos can help them get noticed.
What Do People Need? Even though it seems like the world has come to a screeching halt, people still need goods and services. If they don’t need what you’re offering, maybe you can offer something else. Distilleries, for example, have started bottling hand sanitizer—one of the hottest commodities these days. Or perhaps you can provide your product in a different way. Providers of face-to-face music lessons, tutoring sessions, and exercise classes are going online. Maybe the internet is a different way to provide your goods or services. People also want ways to connect with each other even if they can’t meet face-to-face. A store in my neighborhood offers a wine club; they deliver a wine to your door and host a weekly Zoom chat to discuss the wine.
How will emergence look? While you’re making plans, it’s good to consider what the social distancing emergence will look like and how the world will be altered by pandemic concerns. Leaving behind social distancing is likely to be a gradual process in many places and may happen in fits and starts. One researcher likened it to a dance in which some areas may have to close again and re-open depending on the surge of local cases. At this point there’s not a lot we know for sure. However, we do know the future will look slightly different than the pre-covid world. Some things will be wildly changed and others minutely altered. Take that into account in your future plans. You need to prepare your business so that it can fit into that new world.
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