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Businesses are beginning to open up after the economy was shut down due to fears of the pandemic. There is a lot of uncertainty in business, which is why you have to have that certainty that others don’t. Certainty is the new currency. If you have the certainty as a leader, your team will get behind you. When other business owners are wishing and hoping that things get better, a leader steps in with a plan to make things better.
Certainty is the key to bringing your business back on track and building momentum in the second half of 2020. Here are five things you can do as you transition from partially or fully closed to opening up your business.
Use this time to stabilize your business by making some things be predictable in an environment when unexpected problems will pop up and interrupt your progress. When things go awry, and they will, you need to have training to fall back on so you can act without thinking. Make a checklist of things to do every day; have a schedule and stick to it; if you workout or meditate, make sure you stick to it because those health breaks will mean the difference between being exhausted and being able to stay focused.
Communication with your team is key. Start a daily virtual huddle meeting with your team. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in performance when we implemented this. Having daily virtual meetings has allowed my team to get clarity about certain assignments without interrupting me throughout the day. As a leader, you must set the tone on the culture, keep morality high, and maintain the vision on the big picture.
2. Remind your clients about your value proposition
Most businesses are going through a restructure right now and looking closer than ever before at their expenses, It’s up to you to make the case that your business is bringing more value than what you are charging them. Don’t wait to get the call telling you they can’t afford your services, be proactive. Create multiple offer scenarios to be able to serve your clients. Manage their expectations and don’t lower your standard. Provide better services than before and bring more value than what you are charging.
3. Don’t expect things to go back to normal
Look forward, not backward. Things won’t feel normal for a long time, and even then, there will be a new normal. The 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic accelerated the adoption of the telephone and the tank-and-bowl toilet and led to the end of the shared drinking fountain cup and washroom roller towels. Businesses at the time changed as well, and entire industries were never the same. Things won’t go back to the way things were, and instead of arguing with reality, keep your purpose in mind and act in accordance with it. This is an opportunity for you to create a new normal in how you decide how you want to run your business.
4. Prepare for the worst, but expect the best
When I say “expect,” I mean expect the best from yourself and your team. I never say “hope for the best” because hoping and wishing is not a strategy. If you expect the best from yourself, then you will hold yourself to a higher standard, and that higher standard will lead to better results. You will face pain. Some clients will leave you. Some team members won’t be able to adapt to the new environment. But when you expect the best from yourself, new clients will appear, your existing clients will be happier, and your team will rise to the challenge.
I always tell myself that the best is yet to come, and it always is. It’s not about optimism, it’s about having gratitude. If you expect great things to happen your mind will be on the lookout for opportunities. And when you expect the best from yourself, you will be ready to execute on them. But always be ready to face your challenges. Preparation is key to overcoming them.
5. Reset your goals for 2020
Although it’s the middle of the year, you can look at opening your business again as a second January. This is a new year. Based on the last three months, adapt, adjust and reset your goals. Execute on your new goals looking forward, not your old goals if they don’t suit you anymore. You need to be clear on what you want, otherwise you’ll just keep running around in circles. When you know exactly what you want, you can take inventory of what you’ve already done to get closer to it, and what you already have that can get you even further. You’re halfway there and you may not even know it.
One of my clients runs a sports clothing and apparel company. When the pandemic hit, he was able to change some of his business towards making PPE. He told me that when this pandemic is over, he’s going to have a PPE company with a sports division. Because he is able to see how his business changed in the past three months, he is now able to build his business going forward, instead of looking backward, and hoping that things will go back to normal.
The fact is that business is not ever going to be the same. But it is up to you to create momentum and do what you do best. Entrepreneurs thrive on challenges and we rise to the occasion. You are not alone. We are all trying to figure out how to innovate in this new market. But just know that you were born for times like this. You got this!