2020 2.0 Re-Opening Your Business

As many businesses around Iowa re-open this week, have you made the necessary changes to your business to survive in a post-COVID-19 environment? The human psyche and consumer behaviors have shifted since the global pandemic hit – our needs and buying behaviors are different now. Your business must continue to meet those needs and serve your customers in a way that they are comfortable doing business with you.

Brad Sugars hosted a webinar on how to pivot through the COVID-19 Economic Crisis specifically for midwestern business owners. Below are the 11 steps he highlighted to position your company for long-term success during the coronavirus and in its aftermath:

11 Changes You Need to Make to Survive & Thrive:

Step 1: Positive Communication

Clear, consistent communication continues to be the most important step to help you lead your team through these changing times. Give them something to focus on – a goal or a vision – to help them understand the “new normal” and to keep a positive outlook. How are you coming out even stronger than before? How will you survive, and even thrive, during these changing times?

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It’s important to understand the change curve. How are you staying ahead of the curve? Work to take your team from “Shock,” “Denial,” and “Anger,” to “Problem Solving,” and you’ll rebound quickly.

Step 2: Change Your Business Model

If your business is still struggling to survive, contact us today! You should now be pivoting your business model from focusing on survival to focusing on thriving.

Consider the formula for change: (Dissatisfaction x Vision) + First Steps > Resistance. During times of crisis, the resistance to change is dramatically lower. But, it is important to give them the “Vision” of how you see your company in the future to help lead them through your changes.

How can you leverage your current customers? Can you develop a subscription service to keep your customers coming back week after week or month after month? Make sure when you get a customer, you keep them for life!

Other thoughts to consider when looking to pivot and create a change in your business model: How can you scale your business so your next sale cost less and is easier? Who is thriving during this time – and how can you get “in” with that line of business?

Step 3: Virtual is the New Normal

If you haven’t adapted your technology – now is the time! Around the world, businesses were moving towards the virtual experience as younger generations prefer to use technology to work, play and shop. COVID-19 has sped up the push of going virtual by 5-10 years! As storefronts open up, you’ll find a large segment of your customers will continue to opt to do business with you online instead of in person.

How do you manage and engage your team in a virtual world? Virtual leadership is different than in-person leadership. How will you handle your meetings and communication to keep your team on track when they are not physically with you? Adjust your management systems for daily reporting and daily communications with your team.

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Virtual is the new normal, not a short-term solution until your business reopens. Don’t hold off making these changes thinking you can pick up where you left off. Chances are, your competitors are investing a lot of time and money to make their virtual experience as seamless as their in-person one. If you don’t adapt now, you’ll continue to fall even further behind.

Step 4: Run Faster… SPRINT!

With massive amounts of pent-up demand, if you get caught flat-footed, your competitors will take your market from you! Vice versa, if you are on track and prepared to take on more business as the state reopens, you’ll be gaining customers from your competitors.

Plan your precautions now – how can you make your business as contactless as possible, even in person? How many extra staff will you need to sanitize between customers?

Here are a few things to consider from a personal and professional standpoint to help you lead from the front as we navigate the post-COVID-19 economic shift:

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Step 5: Marketing Must Shift

Your marketing messages must be different than what it was before the global pandemic. Continue to share empathetic, supportive messages for the hardships and changes that your customers have gone through. Be that company that is there for the community!

Depending on your product or service, your customers are either have an urgent “BUY NOW” mindset or they have slowed down spending. Moving forward, there will be more steps in the marketing process. When selling is done virtually, online testimonials and reviews will be more important than ever before. You will also need more touchpoints when focusing your majority of selling online and to create more videos that will give your customers the same experience as if they were to see and touch your product in person.

Plan your marketing for a 90-day relaunch. Increase your marketing efforts 5-10x more than you used to (not necessarily spending more money, but focusing on increasing social media, videos, blogs and newsletters).

Step 6: Sales with Compassion

The tonality in sales is very important. Limit the hard-sell approach, COVID-19 is first and foremost a human crisis than it is a financial crisis. Be sure your sales process is customer-focused, keep your sales approach empathetic and from the perspective of helping your customers.

By all means, don’t stop selling and don’t feel guilty for marketing right now! You have the right to keep the doors open, keep the lights on and keep your staff employed. Keep relationships and compassion at the forefront of your sales – it may take longer to make the sale, but your customers are going to remember your efforts when these tougher times are through.

Step 7: Customer Service for Repeat Business

Keeping your existing business is a must during times like this. Go above and beyond for your current customers to build up the loyalty that creates raving fans and lifelong customers. In our new virtual world, how can your customer service stand out? Instead of sending an e-mail, consider sending a handwritten card. Instead of thanking them through the phone, consider sending a physical gift.

Repeat business = profit. While over-the-top customer service may be seen as a non-essential, it is critical!

Step 8: Get the Most from Your People

As mentioned before, it is important to shift the mindset of your team from fear to focus. Set new management standards – you may even need to micro-manage your team at the beginning so they “see” you leading even from a virtual platform. Once you can measure competency and productivity, you can cut back on your level of management and instead focus on leadership and creating daily goals.

How can you turn some of your costs into profits? You may have some behind-the-scenes workers that you’ll need to train or re-train to be on the front line as your business opens and demands skyrocket. Keep as many people as you can, because when you reopen you are going to need your experienced team – your returning customers are going to look for familiar faces and want to feel like they are getting the same service as before.

Step 9: Build a Strong Mindset

This is one of the toughest times people have faced. As a business owner, don’t forget to take some time each day to focus on your mental health and find ways to have normalcy through these changing times. Create some daily rituals that involve exercise or family time.

Find ways to continually learn and grow, to get in the right headspace to positively lead your team. Have a mid-day session with your team where you share small wins each day. Don’t be afraid to turn off the TV and miss the daily news updates until after the workday is over. Keep looking for opportunities in the midst of crisis.

Step 10: Plan for 90 Days IN and 90 Days OUT

March-May is the 90-day game to survive the coronavirus economy, June-August you need a 90-day plan on how to thrive during these times. What are your plans to re-launch, and how can you profit from it? Do you need the help of an Accelerate ActionCOACH to create your plan and get you through it?

Step 11: Look to Invest

With the economic cycle, now is the time to find investment opportunities. The economic “fall” happened within one month, but we anticipate the “spring” rise of the stock market to happen very quickly. Right now, stocks are on sale, companies will be up for sale (and in-turn CUSTOMERS will be up for sale). Benefit from what your competitors DIDN’T do.

What are your next steps?

Wondering where to start on making these necessary changes so your re-opening is a success? We recommend listing five ideas from this list that you need to take action on today. Work with an Accelerate ActionCOACH to make your 90-Day plan on how to thrive during these times – contact us today!

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