didn’t take long for the world to turn upside down. In a span of just weeks,
the coronavirus pandemic has brought life to a screeching halt, ushering in
a frightening ‘new-normal’
driven by ‘social distancing,’ ‘self-quarantines,’ and
Business owners have been hit especially hard. On top of the typical
challenges, like increasing sales and out-hustling the competition, have
been heaped more existential concerns, such as lay-offs, loan payments, and
keeping the lights on.
It won’t be easy getting through this. But if yours is like the businesses
we know, you’re rising up and fighting back with everything you have. For
that, you’ve earned our admiration and respect.
Of course, we’re here to help your company in any way we can. Until then,
allow us to suggest five ways to manage uncertainty and fear.
#1: Avoid destructive distractions. In today’s 24-hour news cycle,
there’s no shortage of frenzied event-reporting. While you should be aware
of things that could impact your business, overdoing it on negative news
or social media will sap your energy and steal your focus. Right now,
business leaders need plenty of both. While some anxiety keeps you sharp,
too much can be distracting and, ultimately, counterproductive.
“Courage is knowing what not to fear.” Plato, Greek
#2: Project humanity first. To employees, you’re a leader. To clients,
you’re a resource. Suppliers call you ‘customer.’ With peers, you’ve been a
friend. Thanks to the virus, you all now have one more thing in common:
every day is stressful and every day’s a challenge. At work and at
home (which for many is now the same place), people are managing the best
way they know how. Some are maintaining, while others are not. Keep this in
mind, as you do what you have to do. And whenever possible, look for ways
to show compassion and be a real person, first and foremost.
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and
valuable each of us really is.” Fred Rogers, children’s television
#3: Stay tethered to your team. This doesn’t mean riding vendors or
micro-managing staff. But rather, establishing a framework for staying in
touch with people. Even if you’re down to a skeleton crew, it’s vital that
team members hear from you regularly, first to grasp your instructions and
expectations, and second, to process your vision for
and recovery. It’s equally important to reach out and share updates with
suppliers and customers. Whether it’s by telephone, email or
your positive, proactive leadership will help keep people energized,
inspired and focused on your mutual success.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership." James
Humes, presidential speechwriter.
#4: Add value wherever possible. There are reasons customers choose
to buy from you instead of someone else, namely: they like you, they
respect you, and they value what you offer. Even more important, they
trust you, and believe you’re the best at meeting their current and future
They demonstrate this confidence with every new and repeat order. Still,
just like before the coronavirus, how you keep and nurture their hard-earned
trust is completely up to you.
It’s an opportunity, really. Because today, more than ever, customers and
prospects are hungry for solutions. They need innovation and new ideas, and
anything else from your unique bag of tricks that helps them thrive, not
simply survive. If you’re intentional about adding value now, people will
remember it long after the pandemic has passed.
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King Jr., minister and civil rights activist.
#5: Lean on others when necessary. No business owner, regardless of background, training or experience, has gone through anything like today’s events. The only near-analog might be leading troops during a military conflict. Even then, few executives have managed strategy, people and resources on such a colossal scale. Most successful leaders, however, will acknowledge that victories on any battlefield are won through teamwork, and by relying on the informed opinions of those among their ranks. In other words, even effective leaders can’t and don’t know everything. This makes asking for and accepting help a necessary trait for anyone who wields authority.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy, US president.
Need help? Let us know.
Owners are now navigating in uncharted waters. If you need guidance or advice, contact us today.
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Small-Business Disaster Survival Guide
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