Over the course of only a few weeks, our entire world has changed. Our day-to-day lives, our focuses, and our plans have all been affected by COVID-19—which was not in anyone’s 2020 business plans. So how do we move forward?
For many of us, both our colleagues and our customers have become important not only to our business but to us personally. In an unprecedented time of extraordinary uncertainty and fear, how do we do what is best for ourselves, our businesses and the people they affect?
- Starting now, address uncertainty on every level for your employees and customers alike. Fear of the unknown is a major issue, so create a plan for moving forward and answer questions up front. Additional changes will be necessary, but addressing a worst-case scenario and articulating a specific course of action is important. Also consider who is in market and who is most likely to respond to you. Loyalty matters now more than ever.
- Give health and wellness priority. This now goes without saying, but it’s absolutely non-negotiable: if you have no employees or customers, you have no business. Wipe down surfaces and vehicles frequently. Have sanitizer prominently displayed. Encourage remote work for everyone—with clear guidelines about hours, expectations, etc. Using pick-up service or contactless appointments for your customers’ home delivery will benefit your employees as well.
- Communicate regularly. Implement daily conference calls or virtual meetings, newsletters to your employees and/or customers, texts, live or prerecorded calls with regular updates or check-ins—whatever is needed to keep communication open and frequent. Since the details of COVID-19 are changing daily, so will your business. The more you communicate important changes and protocols, as well as your commitment to them, the more trust you will build.
- Show support for your community. Individual and corporate efforts are proliferating by the day. Get involved or plan an initiative on your own that will give back to your community. Offer services at no cost, make donations, partner with local charities, or just implement special hours for those most at risk: any effort shows caring past a business standpoint.
- Stay informed. Keep up to date on the guidelines, news, restrictions, and practices in your area. Besides the CDC website, watch social media for emerging trends in new behaviors—and be willing to adapt accordingly.
Everyone is feeling the effects of this pandemic: you’re not alone. However, a willingness to change, an openness to help, and the determination to seize new opportunities can help sustain your business through the months ahead.