• COVID-19: Navigating the Storm & Preparing for the Future

  • In the wake of President Trump’s announcement on Friday declaring a national state of emergency, we are all filled with anticipation and anxiety of what is to come.

    The uncertainties surrounding public health and the blows to our economy are putting thousands of Americans at unease and we still don’t quite know what to expect from each day to the next.

    Stores are in disarray with low-stock or empty shelves and a severe lack of high demand products. Every TV channel, radio and social site provides non-stop, news and updates of how this illness is sweeping the nation. Are we in containment or on the very brink of a national outbreak? As the crisis unfolds, we wonder, how much and how long will this affect our daily lives?

    We’ve already been feeling the aftershocks from the devastation that COVID-19 has caused in the Chinese economy. And now as it reaches America, the country and the world begin to brace themselves for this historic moment, where truly no one knows the outcome.

    As with any widespread illness, I trust that our world leaders will work quickly to combat and control this issue, and with some much needed cooperation from the public, we may be able to widely slow the spread and minimize the destruction to our economy. Once this has passed (which could be as quickly for us as it was for China) I believe we will rebound stronger than ever. Normalcy will return and COVID-19 will be yet another distant pandemic in the history books.

    Maintaining Business during COVID-19

    Our new normal for now is social distancing, self-quarantining, and the obsessive need to wash our hands (which we all should have been doing and should practice in the future, regardless). How can we use this time in our personal lives and our business lives to learn, grow, and surface from all of this with a better foundation and flexibility for the future well-being of our business?

    It is probably inevitable that the majority of us will feel (or already have felt) a sting to our business during this pandemic. So, what can we do to help combat this global dilemma and keep a course that is helpful and productive to our economy as we fight our way through this crisis?

    Here are a few ideas to help support the fight against spreading infectious germs and still retain some flow of business:

    • Work Remotely: Minimize the number of people required to come into the office. Establish a work from home protocol for selective personnel or consider changing employee’s working hours to minimize contact. If the job does not physically require the person in that position to utilize tools or equipment in the office to effectively perform their job, have these people work from home.
    • Review Sick Day Policy: Temporarily increase the number of paid sick days for your employees that are required to come to the office to discourage any person coming to work who is not feeling well. For this to work, management needs to create a culture where employees prioritize their health so that the entire team does not become ill.
    • Disinfect the  Work Environment: Increase the frequency of cleaning/disinfecting the office and have hand sanitizer and wet wipes available for your employees throughout the office.
    • Alternating Shifts/Hours: Create work rotations in segments to reduce the number of people in the office at one time, but still maintain a normal flow in the business needs.

    It is easy to say “don’t panic”, but not always easy to do. With all the uncertainty in the world, how can any of us not become a little concerned about the future? Please remind yourself that widespread panic can lead to pandemonium so try not to contribute. Instead, think of how to use this time wisely to learn and develop, so when this passes, we will have expanded our understanding and capacity to navigate troubled times.

    Building a Resilient Model

    In 1996, I started a home business with only a Gateway computer and a dialup connection. Today, we have advanced far beyond waiting 5 minutes to connect to the internet, constantly dropping a signal and having to redial (I can still hear the sound of the phone line dialing and the screeching, indicating a connection). Today, over 2 decades later, we have multiple low-cost or no-cost collaborative internet tools, (Skype, Microsoft Teams, 3 Signals to name a few) to help us stay connected, informed and productive. Our cell phones alone have the functionality for face-to-face interactions, constant communication, and many more tools offered online by the most creditable software companies in the world. Fortunately, we can stay connected and collaborate as we work and plan to rebuild our supply chains through this crisis.

    We live in an innovative time and like many challenges before COVID-19, we will overcome this too. It is a terrible crisis and the fear is real for all of us. Let’s focus on staying healthy in body, mind and business, while using our energy to focus on areas where we can make improvements in our lives with this extra time that we are gaining in solitude.

    What are some areas of your business that you can ramp up during a down time? What are some ways to help you stay connected with your customers, vendors and associates? How can you use this time to work on improvements for your business?

    • Analytics: Use this time to research costs and processes to see if there are areas of your business where you can lower expenses or improve process communication when things ramp up again.
    • Social Media and Marketing: Keep your network informed of your business capabilities and services during this time and in your future. Share your experiences and opinions on the situation through social media, email campaigns, and other avenues to build thought leadership.
    • Research new vendors: Research companies that can provide products or help in areas you have always wanted to improve for your business. Spend this down time learning about their services and products to see if they may be a good fit for your business as things return to normal.
    • Prospecting & Outreach: Research new client opportunities and reach out to introduce yourself and your company.
    • Review/Update Company Policies: Develop a work from home protocol that can be used as a continued business practice. This will help your business create a more flexible work model that will allow you to utilize talent under a new and expanded set of circumstances.

    None of us know where this will lead, or how long we will be impacted but fellowship, camaraderie and networking can play a huge role in helping us all to cope and focus on productive and positives measures to mentally survive.

    For all who are well, spend time with your loved ones, engage in some much needed family time through games and movies. Get creative with your activities together – maybe have a picnic in your backyard or a family sports game. If we can build our spirits, feed our minds, and strengthen our relationships, we will come out of this stronger, wiser and ready for our new future. But above all – be kind to one another and lend a helping hand when you can.

    © 2011 TMI Sales Inc. All rights reserved. Site by Jwelches