The world is in the middle of an era-defining crisis. Only great leaders, governments, and businesses will survive this coronavirus pandemic. Do you think that only big businesses can emerge victoriously? You might be surprised to know that small businesses have better chances of thriving in this economy. In government and in the business, strong and decisive leaders are the ones who will navigate this crisis successfully. Your ability to think on your feet and make seek proactive solutions will allow your business not only to stay afloat but to actually thrive.
Navigating a crisis in business demands transparency, accountability, and adaptability. Do you remember when you were taking piano lessons as a kid? You had to admit to your piano teacher what you don’t understand. You had to be accountable for not practicing the lessons at home. In the end, you adapted to your instructor’s demands, proving that you deserve another chance.
Passion and commitment are the two things that will tide your business over to the next phase of this pandemic, which is economic recovery. If you lie down and take this beating, your business will never survive. If you allow the social isolation, the retrenchment, and the inaccessibility of resources to beat your business to the ground, you’ll never be able to find your footing again.
Focus on These Two Things
There are two things business owners need to remember in this crisis. One, they must navigate the immediate risks presented by the crisis, taking care to emerge only with minimal damage. And two, they must prepare for a post-crisis world where demands will be different from what your business currently offers now.
A business with good cash flow can navigate a crisis better. However, that doesn’t mean that businesses with fewer assets are doomed. You must take stock of the financial standing of the business. The first impact of a crisis like a coronavirus pandemic will always result in slower sales and smaller profits. In fact, businesses are hardly profiting today.
Define the risks presented by the crisis to your business. For restaurants, they could not accommodate diners when the lockdown was enforced in different states. So, what they did was to offer takeout and delivery. Some also decided to close their doors temporarily. This was better for many businesses considering the operational costs of staying open when people are not allowed to go out.
And then, ask yourself how the crisis affects your customers. If you want your customers to trust your business, you have to continue engaging them even in the midst of a crisis. That can include refunding some customers to help them during the crisis.
Once you have a hold of how to manage the business during this time, you can start planning for a post-pandemic work. For retail stores, that means strengthening your online presence through an e-commerce store. You can no longer rely on the old brick-and-mortar store. If in the future, customers gain the confidence of visiting your physical stores again, that will be secondary to your online store. The focus of a post-pandemic world is on the internet. If you cannot adapt to these changes, you will stand to lose your footing in the industry.
Open-mindedness, Adaptability, and Able Facilitator
They say that the internet is for the young and at some point, they are right. But the problem with some businesses is that their owners don’t like listening to what their younger employees have to say. Businesses like these have no place in a post-pandemic world. Industries need fresh ideas. Companies have to be adaptable. Business owners have to listen.
You need to be accepting of different viewpoints. Your ideas alone will not save your company from drowning in recession. Learn to listen to what your employees believe you should do. An able organization is composed of more than just the CEO. Your employees know the business inside-out, too. You hired them because they impressed you. There’s no better time to test that impression than today.
But what will make you a better leader than anyone else is your ability to collect different thoughts and ideas to come up with a strategy for your business. You should be able to gather information from stakeholders and arrive at a sound decision. This ability to collect positive and capable ideas to produce beneficial results will keep your business afloat and thriving.
Empathy and Compassion
Not many people will say this but empathy in a leader is badly-needed at a time like this. At some point, you have to face the reality that you can not keep everyone in the payroll. Talk to your employees. You’ll be surprised at how some of them will elect to have their hours reduced to help the business, as well as not to force you to lay off their peers. They know better than you who badly need their jobs. Many of them will choose to get pay cuts, too, rather than lose a job.
Who said this is an easy time for anyone? There is no assurance in a pandemic. One day, you’re on top of the world then the next thing you know, you’re filing for bankruptcy. But it is your resiliency as a leader that will separate you from the rest. Keeping a cool head during times of crisis will enable you to arrive at the right decision. That and a whole lot of strategizing.