Yes, things are hard right now. Things seem to be as bad as they have ever been and that’s probably true. But we have to move forward, we have to try our best to conduct business as usual, if we are going to survive. Mark my words, no matter how bleak things are right now, how impossible it seems to be able to do business, there are people who are going to find ways to not only survive but thrive in this environment. There are people who are going to be smart enough, creative enough, innovative enough and yes, courageous enough to find a way to work with the world as it is today.
So, why leave it up to “them”? Why can’t you be the person who looks at the world situation and finds that special way to work within this crisis to succeed?
There are some people in this world who see things as they are and try to cope with it. They immediately find a way to do nothing, go into a crouch, and are happy to just get by, to just survive.
Then, there are those who look at the very same situation and find ways to not only survive but to thrive. These are the people who are innovative, the ones who according to the late Steve Jobs “Think Different.”
So, which type of person are you? Are you just sitting back letting circumstances control your very existence, blaming what is going on in the world right now for your own inactivity? Or, are you one of the few who “Think Different”?
What’s it going to be? If you think there is nothing you can do in the face of this horrible virus. If you’re the kind of person who is just sitting back saying, “there is nothing I can do but wait it out, nobody wants to see me, I can’t visit customers, so there’s nothing I can do but wait.” If you are one of those people, then you can stop reading right now because anything I suggest in the rest of this column will be lost on you.
But for the rest of you, those of you who do indeed want to think different, here are three ideas for doing just that:
- Stay consistently in touch with your customers. Send them weekly email “reach outs” letting them know what is going on with your company. If you are open for business, all the more reason to let people know. If not, then even more reason to stay in touch because you need to keep your customers updated on what is going on. Maybe you have made deals with other companies to outsource your products – which is exactly what you should be doing if your shop is shut down. Tell your customers about this and offer the service to them as well. Give your customers progress reports on how your company is doing; and when you intend to be back on-line. Stay in touch with your customers! This is the most important thing you can do right now.
- Find ways to provide your customers with what they want, not just what they need right from you now. If your company cannot provide what they need at this time, then as I mentioned above, find a good partner who can. You are a solutions provider, so provide solutions. This will go a long way towards cementing your relationship with that customer. They will remember what you did and how you acted in the bad times, and give you credit for it when the good times come around again…and they will.
- Stay cool and calm. Make sure you are the calming influence for everyone around you. You owe it to yourself to stay calm, and collected, and you owe it to the people around to you to set that good example. True leaders know what to do in hard times, the harder, and more challenging life gets, the cooler they get. True leaders set the way by the way they act in a crisis, Remember that grace under pressure is the surest sign of a true leader.
And finally, one more in the spirit of under promising, and over delivering, plan for the future. No matter how bad things look today…and they look pretty bad… things are going to get better. This too shall pass, as they say. This means that our job is to plan on what the world will look like, what our country will look like, what our market will look like, and finally what our companies will look like, when this is finally over. We need to have a very good and clear vision of that world and be ready to face it, ready to get back into the fray with a vengeance. What you do during this crisis will determine what your company will look like when this is over. As one person recently told me this will level the playing field. And yes, this is true, to a certain extent, we will all be in the same boat… so what really matters is the place you make for yourself on the metaphorical boat when the storm stops. Its only common sense.
An added note: The D.B. Management team has developed a formal plan for keeping “Business as Usual” ways to not only survive but the thrive through the virus crisis. Email me [email protected] for you free copy. And stay safe.