Recently, The Washington Post reported more than 10 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in March 2020. A lot of people are referencing what is happening in the world right now as an “unprecedented time.” That term, while a bit overused, is absolutely spot on. Truly, nothing quite like this has ever happened before, and the record-squashing number of people filing for unemployment is one example that proves it.
None of this is easy – on anyone. But it’s a particularly hard time for business owners: people who have invested their hearts and souls into building and growing companies that up until about a month ago, were quite successful. Many have closed shop temporarily, unable to sustain this time of turmoil or forced to take a hiatus in accordance with orders that all non-essential businesses close. Others have cut back hours, reduced their workforce, or halted production and delivery of standard goods and services.
How will business owners recover from this? The time to think about building your business’ strategic recovery plan is NOW. Here are some thoughts on how you can do that:
- Communicate with your clients and customers throughout this crisis. Even if your doors are shut, your communication lines can remain open. Keep creating touchpoints with the people you work with, who support your business, and who have historically tapped into your product and service offerings. Use your social media pages. Push out a few emails. Make some phone calls, or offer to connect via video chat. Bottom line – invest in your relationships.
- Find the business plan you wrote when you were first starting out. Some of the same principles and ideas that guided you on day one can guide you again. Reread your original business plan and identify what still applies, what you can repeat, and what additional opportunities make sense to pursue as you get back up and running. Remember who you are at your core – your “why?”
- Create a timeline that is reasonable and feasible. The reality is no one knows for sure how long this crisis will put a freeze on our ordinary lives. So, while it may not be possible to designate a “start date” for your strategic recovery plan, you can still lay out a timeline for action that makes sense and is reasonable and feasible. What can you do right now? What will you do on the day you actually re-open your doors? What will week number one look like? What tasks will be the priority for the first month? Where do you hope to be by month number three? Six? Twelve? Plan now rather than waiting. Use this time to invest, not rest.
- Think about what your customers and clients will need, as they are ramping back up too. We are all in this together. As you are ramping back up, chances are, your customers and clients will be doing the same. Put some thought into how their businesses will be changed by COVID-19, and what THEIR recovery plans may look like, too. How can you be part of it? How can you help them? What new business opportunities may rise to the surface? In fact, call them now to let them know you are thinking about THEIR business and you want to be part of the solution.
- Consider who may need you now, who didn’t need or know about you before. Think out of the box about ways you can acquire new customers, clients and identify pathways to making new connections. As they say in the great game of hockey – skate to where the puck is going, not where it is now.
- Find a way to give back. Understandably, it is hard to think about giving at a time when you may be struggling. But remember, giving isn’t always about cutting a check and making a financial contribution. You can give your time. You can give your ideas. You can offer support. You can help someone else make meaningful connections. Help others out and demonstrate some goodwill, in whatever ways you can. When you do, it speaks volumes about your character.
We would like to hear from you about how your strategic recovery plan will take shape. What actions will you take to guide your company’s future? We encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us by sending an email to email@example.com. Please include your name, title, and company name. We plan to post another blog soon, elaborating on this topic. With your permission, we would love to weave in your insights and ideas and share them with the rest of our followers. You can document it as your first act of goodwill and giving back, per #6 above!