Yes, things are hard right now. Things seem to be as bad as they have ever been, but we have to move forward and try to conduct business as usual if we are going to survive. Mark my words: No matter how bleak things are right now, or how impossible it seems to be able to do business, people are going to find ways to not only survive but thrive. People are going to be smart enough, creative enough, innovative enough, and—more importantly—courageous enough to find a way to work in the world as it is today and make money while doing so.
Why leave it up to others? Why can’t you be the person who looks at the world situation and finds that special way to succeed within the crisis? Most people in this world see things as they are and try to just cope and get by; they do nothing but survive. Then, there are those who look at the very same situation and find ways to not only survive but thrive. These people “think different,” according to the late Steve Jobs.
So, which type of person are you? Are you sitting back, letting circumstances control your existence, and blaming what is going on in the world right now for your own inactivity? Or are you one of the few who “think different?”
If you believe there is nothing you can do in the face of coronavirus, if you’re thinking, “Nobody wants to see me, and I can’t visit customers, so I’ll just wait it out,” then you can stop reading right now because the rest of this column will be lost on you. But for the rest of you who want to “think different,” here are three ideas.
1. Consistently Stay in Touch With Your Customers
Send them weekly email “reach-outs” letting them know what is going on with your company. If you are open for business, all the more reason to let people know. If not, then even more reason to stay in touch because you need to keep your customers updated on what is going on. Maybe you have made deals with other companies to outsource your products (which is exactly what you should be doing if your shop is shut down); tell them about this, and offer the service to them as well. Give your customers progress reports of how your company is doing and when you intend to be back on-line. Staying in touch with your customers is the most important thing you can do right now.
2. Find Ways to Provide Your Customers With What They Want and Need Right Now
If your company cannot provide what they need at this time, then—as I previously mentioned—find a good partner who can. You are a solutions provider, so provide solutions. This will go a long way toward cementing your relationship with that customer. They will remember what you did and how you acted in the bad times and give you credit for it when the good times come around again, and they will.
3. Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected
Make sure you are the calming force for everyone around you. You owe it to yourself to stay cool, calm, and collected, and you owe it to the people around you to set that good example. True leaders know what to do in hard times; the harder and more challenging life gets, the cooler they get. True leaders set the way by the way they act in a crisis. Remember that grace under pressure is the surest sign of a true leader.
And finally, one more in the spirit of under-promising and over-delivering.
4. Plan for the Future
No matter how bad things look today, things are going to get better. This too shall pass, as they say. This means that our job is to plan for what the world will look like, what your country will look like, what the market will look like, and what your company will look like when this is over. We need to have a clear vision of the future and be ready to face it. What you do during this crisis will determine what your company will be after the resumption and recovery. As one person recently told me, “This will level the playing field,” which—to a certain extent—is true. We will all be in the same boat. What really matters is the place you make for yourself on the metaphorical boat when the storm stops.
It’s only common sense.
An added note: The D.B. Management team has developed a formal plan for keeping “Business as Usual: Ways to Not Only Survive but Thrive Through the Virus Crisis.” Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for your free copy. Stay safe.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.