The past few months have been a challenging, unprecedented time. The coronavirus pandemic has changed how people interact with one another, as well as how businesses operate and connect with their customers.
“Survival of the fittest” is a slogan that I observed immediately gaining national attention as millions of businesses were forced to close their doors, workers were laid off and unemployment soared. The increase of a remote workforce also led to companies digitally transforming their business strategy. Companies were left to think outside the box on how to generate revenue by taking their businesses online.
In the coming months and even years, I believe past business philosophies will no longer apply. The name of the game now is: How do I help my business not only stay afloat but also remain attractive to consumers – all while keeping the work environment safe? How can new and traditional businesses evolve, thrive and survive?
I have a couple of suggestions:
Vast competition in all business sectors will create the need for business owners to become innovative. People are hungry to get back to work and recover from their financial losses. The businesses that become innovative with how they operate their business while keeping a safe environment will pave the way for how other businesses follow suit. (You can look at recommendations shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection for best practices regarding creating a safe business and workplace.)
From my perspective, many sectors will be racing to gain market control and minimize competition. Ensure your business is not taking a passive approach to simply “see what everyone else is doing.” Be proactive and consider what areas of your business could be improved or adjusted to avoid being left behind.
Being patient with new ways of doing business will be paramount not only for the consumer but also for the business owner. There is no manual to this evolution, only time. Knowing when to watch, listen and react in challenging situations not only demonstrates how effective patience can be in the workplace but also influences others to positively react in difficult situations. Here are some ways to practice patience:
- Deep Breaths: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s OK to step away. Relax and take breaths, then gather your thoughts and proceed with a smile.
- Prioritize: Acknowledge which project or task is most important to you and your team. No one ever wants a leader who is overbearing or has extraordinary expectations.
- Listen: Nobody wants to work with someone they don’t know. Take the time to listen to your team members and co-workers. When practicing patience by listening, leaders can learn about new opportunities, get outside perspective and gain respect.
Build Your Network
Today, I believe one of the strongest business advantages that you can put into effect, as opposed to only scaling back your business, is working on building your network.
Massive opportunity can come to those who have revamped and become expert innovators during these tumultuous times, but growing your network should not take the back seat. Your company should be leading through innovation alongside expanding your reach and developing a stellar team. To me, having a strong team can take you from a teetering business centered on the unknown to a solid machine.
Here are some networking tips that I’ve found to be most effective:
- Reconnect: Think about reconnecting with contacts who might have an influence on your business. After you choose to reconnect, this time, make an extra effort to stay in contact.
- Use Social Networks: Sure, you can have a lot of followers and connections on social networks, but if you’re not engaging in a conversation with your contacts, there’s no point. It’s OK to ask for advice, feedback and to start a conversation.
- Be a Connector: Introducing people who can benefit from one another proves to be very effective. Building a stronger rapport with multiple contacts is better than having one. A connector not only builds new relationships but also helps to sustain new ones.
- Use Technology: Using technology tools like video conferencing to reconnect and network with your customers can be very effective. Host “how-to” or video calls that are relevant to your business. Be creative and use the tools that are available to us.
While it’s important to think about how you’re going to navigate the next few months, it’s equally important to re-calibrate your business goals. This way, your goals will encompass long-term growth, as opposed to merely surviving the next quarter or year.
Further, don’t be afraid to take action when setting your goals. During this challenging time, some businesses were shut down, as they were not deemed essential. It is certainly understandable how this could be devastating. While you might be thinking, “This shutdown is out of my control, and there is nothing I can do right now,” I believe you’re wrong. Use this time to strategically shift your mindset and reassess your business, even if you’re still waiting on the sidelines to reopen.
These are the businesses that will pave the way in the future as to how businesses operate and flourish. Those organizations that prioritize innovation, practice patience, build their networks and look ahead will ultimately set themselves apart from their competition and help ensure that if another crisis occurs, their businesses will be much more resilient.
Article By: Brad Poppie