By Tanya Lesiuk
Have you felt like you’ve been carried off to sea these last few months, stripped of your compass and map, and told to continue sailing straight? If you’ve found your company in ‘survival mode’ during the coronavirus crisis; rest assured, we’re all experiencing something similar, so don’t feel too bad. Regardless of what stage of survival you are in your business, this small business survival guide will help you better navigate through the tail end of these uncertain times. We’ll focus on leadership, mindset shifts, and a few of the top tips that we’ve used at Factorial, to accelerate success amidst the crisis.
Weathering the Storm
It isn’t an easy time for business owners or managers. You have likely dealt with panicked employees and customers, challenges in transitioning to the digitization of processes, adaptations to the new norm of working from home, and loads more. Before implementing a plethora of tactics to effectively manage this all there’s one thing you need to do first. It’s crucial that management understands the value of strong leadership during this time so they can lead their teams to success. Without this, it’s like trying to captain a ship without knowing how to communicate commands to your crew.
Align your Team
I’m sure you’ve heard that human capital is a company’s greatest asset. If you’re one of the many businesses that needed to lay off and furlough workers as a result of the pandemic, aligning the team you still have is even more important than ever. You’re going to want to align them on two fronts.
- Building Strong Team Relations: Anyone remaining in the company could very well feel anxiety and as if they’re on the chopping block should the crisis continue. Reassure your employees why they’re still there, and how much you value them. Invest some time in promoting effective team communication. These times are stressful, and employees need a little extra reassurance to know they’re performing well. You shouldn’t sugarcoat the situation, but then again, nothing kills employee morale more than doom and gloom.
- Adapting Your Goals & Objectives: With the crisis, your goals and objectives may have likely changed, and, if they haven’t, this may be one of your sore spots and what’s leading to struggle. During a crisis, the one way to stay afloat is by pivoting. Maybe the way you were offering your product or service before, is no longer valid. You don’t necessarily have to change your OKRs and KPIs, but they could use some tweaking if you hope to reach them.
Bring Empathy to the Table
This tactic is something a strong leader should always have in their tool belt, whether they are managing employees or speaking with customers. It’s important that managers lead by example. By approaching their employees with empathy, this will signal to them that they should do the same when speaking with customers. Now, more than ever, this is crucial to building and maintaining client and customer relationships. Now is the moment you can really shine and build lasting trust with your customers.
Make sure your customers know you’re there to genuinely support them and not just take their money. And, we’re not only talking about nurturing the customers who are joining you; let’s not forget about the ones who are leaving. If you’ve had customers opt-out of your service recently as a result of the crisis, be sure to let them know that regardless of whether they’re customers of yours or not, you’re still there to support them. Maybe they won’t sign back up right away, but you better believe you’ve just converted them into raving fans with your empathetic approach towards them. And, what do raving fans do … promote you like crazy … for free! That leads us nicely into our next point.
Stay connected & Add Value
Don’t forget about your ‘ex-clients’, if you want them to return, you need to continue nurturing the relationship with them. A simple email update from time to time, to let them know you’re still around, is all it takes. In the case that you offer a paid product or service, which they currently can’t afford, you can always look at other ways to provide value to them. This may be in the form of a free webinar or downloadable guide as an example.
Seek New Opportunities
This is your company’s chance to get crystal clear on what’s working and what isn’t. If you’re losing sales for example, brainstorm new ways of sharing your offering with the world. What worked yesterday, may not work today. The new needs of your customers may be different now, therefore, the solution they require will also need to change.
How Can Your Business Survive Crisis Times?
The coronavirus situation has not only revealed our Achilles heel in our personal lives, but it has turned businesses upside down and highlighted their weak points. The sooner you as a business owner or manager can identify these cracks, the quicker you can steer your ship out of choppy waters. Leaders who can effectively shift their mindset during a crisis, from one of lack to that of opportunity, will be the first to get their business back on course.
The way you’ll make it out of the crisis on two feet is by leaning into what’s bringing in business rather than what’s not. Also, by aligning the team, showing up with empathy, continuing to add value for your customers, and seeking new opportunities, you’ll come out on the other side of this crisis.
And, remember that when you sell your product or offer from a place of service, you are signaling to your audience that you are truly there to act as a support. The moment you release tactics of desperation and greed and stop pushing a sale is the moment your business will begin to transform on its journey from surviving to thriving.