I will not profess to know what is on the other side of this global pandemic; in fact, it would be fair to say that no one knows what is on the other side. What we know for sure is that not knowing specifics or a trend is not a reason for inaction. Now is the time to prepare, no matter where you find yourself today.
The pandemic has created 3 different scenarios for business owners:
The businesses that were / are decimated. These were victims of the virus, or from overzealous public officials.
The businesses that are floating. These have survived and have been able to open or operate in some manner.
The businesses that are thriving. These businesses experienced a windfall from the pandemic.
In all of these cases this is the time to step back and review the past year, especially the past 3-4 months, when society was open for business - albeit a limited open. Assess your core activities. Review your finances.
The Decimated & The Floater
If you were decimated or are floating, now you have to take a fresh look at your business. You have to get down to the DNA that made it successful. The DNA is the “why” you are in business; the core belief you had that enrolled a team of workers and the building of the clients you served.
Simon Sinek explains this DNA in his Ted Talk – Start with Why. It’s a worthwhile watch.
Now is the time for you to look at your activities, your operations, your finances, the competitive landscape, your customer profile - if it still exists or how it exists, and your goals. Then you can work on your business strategy and foundation, with your adjustments or a pivot to your new fresh vision. If you are a retailer, it’s likely you represent most of the decimated or devastated businesses. Look at your previous customer. Consider the new realities of society and look at the needs of the consumer. Retail of the past is dead; it is imperative to entertain and offer a new customer experience.
How and where are the touch points with your customer? Since clients have been clicking on screens to purchase, are you engaging in a personal and attentive experience? Can you humanize the digital transaction gaining insight into your clients? Do you ask the questions? Are you learning from each interaction? People will be looking to socialize after months of limited access to friends and family, so make the most out of each encounter.
These businesses have the advantage of not stressing about the financial pressures. There is a more difficult yet similar challenge in preparing for the other side.
The first danger: the feeling of letting the good times roll. Forgetting the hard work and dedication it took to get where you are now. It is compelling to stay on the wave – but waves do break, and they come down hard. The second danger: not preparing for a more challenging time. Decisions are made much better as you plan your business than when you react in emotion.
As you plan, determine if the pandemic success was a strategic long-term shift in consumer behavior or a temporary boost from the pandemic that will subsided. Many believe the 18% increase in online sales realized during the pandemic has created a change in buying habits. Other sales increases that resulted from work at home or the stay at home orders may only be temporary.
The simple way to visualize this situation is when you no longer see hand sanitizer and masks on the end-caps of your local retailer, because they have been replaced with seasonal promotional goods.
The Bottom Line
Now more than ever you need to set aside some time in the next couple of weeks to work on your business strategy.
Business Coaching forms an important part of the TAB model and helps you develop the strategic plan for tomorrow that contributes a strong ROI. An International Coach Federation (ICF) study on business coaching found a median return on investment of 3.44 times their investment.
In addition to choosing the right Business Coach, you need the right business tools. Like doctors, coaches need to diagnose before prescribing a fix. Coaches apply a business diagnostic tool – think of it as an MRI for your business – to identify gaps and opportunities in your business.
They also have access to strategic planning tools to align your personal and business visions and create the strategic plan to achieve them.
Together we can prepare you for what is on the other side. We are not talking about a silver bullet. Success requires commitment, openness, accountability, and hard work. The most successful owners realize this.
Please don’t hesitate to contact TAB to work on a business assessment to help you through this most unusual time and to prepare you for the other side.