You're Open. Now What? How to Pivot Your Business through the Ups and Downs of COVID

posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 in Investor Highlights

Heather Marquez Blog Post. You're Open. Now WhatWritten by Heather Marquez, ActionCOACH Mind Links

2020 began with a lot of excitement. Many business owners were looking at a record-breaking start and anticipated it being their best year ever. Then COVID-19 hit and we saw dramatic shifts hitting instantaneously.  Many businesses were plunged into “Survive” mode as sales dropped or stopped. To be fair, not every business and not every industry was suffering the decline. Some experienced a huge boom, which caused its own set of problems. The easing of restrictions shifted businesses to the current phase called “Drive”.

Regardless of whether you were experiencing a boom or a bust during the last few months, it is critical to take purposeful actions to navigate the turbulent waters of change and move into the “Thrive” phase.  The five concepts listed here are applicable to your business whether you had a boom or a bust during COVID-19 and will help maximize the “Drive” phase, setting the tone for the rest of your year. While this is not an exhaustive list, these five to-dos are a great place to start. As a business owner, your mindset is going to dictate your results.

It is important to note that a failure to adapt to the changes and adopt the right mindset, will lead to a path ending in loss and closure. Your family, your team, your customers, and your community need you to plot the right course. You may have to do it afraid and uncertain, but you do not have to do it alone. Tap into the resources around you. 2020 can still be a great year. You just have to make the decision to work on your business as well as in it!  Ask yourself “Are you willing to do what is required to finish 2020 strong?”

1.Re-Educate & Prepare

Know and understand the local rules of the game. There are many different restrictions and suggestions that are updated frequently. Avoid any unnecessary risks. Customers must see and feel the safety measures that you're putting in place to want to do business with you. Flexibility is key.  Listen to the concerns of your customers and team and be ready to pivot.  “The way we have always done it” is no longer in play. 

2. Re-build Your Team

Give the team confidence in coming back, by communicating all the measures and protocols that you are putting in place for safety. Provide a sense of community and communication. The feeling of community they had before is going to look & feel different at first. Allow for reduced productivity as the team develops new routines and adapts to additional constraints in their workflow. Think of everybody as being new again.

3. Re-Run Your Numbers

Every decision now is either a make money decision or a cost money decision. Look at the numbers more often to understand the trends. Are you on track to hit your breakeven numbers and if not, what do you need to do differently? What about your profitability? Make data-based changes quickly.

4. Re-Think Your Marketing and Sales

Compassion and empathy are critical right now. Complete a full revision of your marketing and sales plan. Focus on helping, educating, and building trust. Stress community and togetherness. Customers may be excited to come and visit your business again but there is some intrinsic fear and worry. Be customer centric. Reevaluate your sales process and identify where you need to add a couple of steps because it is the best thing to do for your customers. Ask more questions.

5. Re-Thank Everybody

Gratitude is the most powerful emotion and cannot coexist with negative emotions. Replace fear, worry, anxiety, and anger with gratitude. Thank your customers for their patience, adaptability, and loyalty during all the changes that you've had to make. Thank your team. It is easy to underestimate the emotional and mental stress that your team has gone through. 

Gratitude is one of the most powerful things you can do for employee engagement. Make it personal and meaningful. Appreciate your suppliers, partners, bankers, accountants, fellow business owners, media, and community leaders for their continued efforts and support.