From start-ups to the Amazons in business, COVID-19 has been incredibly disruptive but it does not have to be the end of your business.
1. HOW TO MOTIVATE UNMOTIVATED STAFF
We are all motivated by different things, but during times like these where staff are fearing that they too will lose their jobs and that they won't have the money to buy the necessities, they need for their families make motivating them to work a lot harder because of the stress that will be clouding their minds but it is important to remember that money is not the only motivator for your teams.
During difficult times like these staff want to know that they are not just a number on a spreadsheet to your business. They don't want to feel that at any time you will call them to the office and send them packing. You must find ways to make your staff feel like their jobs with you is safe and that you are going to do everything you can to keep them employed and earning a salary.
If salary cuts are essential, start with yours. Speak with your top management and see which of them can take a deeper cut in salary so that other staff can get a reasonable salary. See which staff can take an extra week of unpaid leave. Ask staff to self nominate themselves if they feel that they can take extra days of unpaid leave. Remember to assure your team that you are doing absolutely everything to keep your business open during this period. Allow staff to work from home so that they don't need to pay for a sitter.
Keep in constant communication with your team and find out how they are coping, do they need any additional assistance. Prove to your employees that you really care about them and they too will be willing to go the extra mile for your company.
A team who feels that their boss cares about them will generally be much more motivated than a team who feels that the boss doesn't care.
STAFF THAT FEEL CARED FOR ARE MORE MOTIVATED THAN STAFF WHO FEEL UNCARED FOR
2. ADAPT TO THE MARKET.
The first principle in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield is:
TAKE 100% RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE.
The next highlight from his book is that everything you experience today is the result of the choices you have made in the past.
I have seen so many businesses try and stick to the old ways of doing business and now have closed signs hanging at the door crying about not having a business. The business did not close because of the current market climate but because they didn't make the necessary decisions and then instead of making better decisions they close the company, stay complain and blame the virus.
There is no excuse for not adapting to the times. I have helped a company recently pivot from B2B only to now being direct to consumer business. I have built the company an online store where they can receive orders more easily. Not only that but they have been adding new product ranges to meet consumers needs during this period. Yes, sales have dipped a bit but the fact is that they are still operational and each day they are receiving more orders.
Not only did they do what was needed but they are now looking at this being the new normal meaning that when things go back to "normal" they will not only be a B2B business but a B2C business as well.
Yet some businesses also can make this pivot and introduce a new way of doing business but are complaining about how bad the market is instead.
All that this period is doing is clearing the market. The real entrepreneurs will and are finding ways to pivot and adapt or just start another business more attuned to the current climate. The rest will complain and see their business close.
If you are forced to stay at home and have access to the internet then you don't have any excuses.
3. YOUR CUSTOMERS ONLY CHANGED LOCATIONS.
This pays homage to point 2. Entrepreneurs are like lions. The true kings of the jungle know that their prey migrates and seasonal changes are a constant, some years bring more rain than others and some years, well they throw curveballs. But lions never forget the code they live by; eat or get eaten. When the Wildebeest are away they learn to take down a giraffe, Not enough food in their territory, they go out and expand their territory which means you'll likely face more competition but a true king never settles.
This period too will past, the question is, will you arise to find that your territory has gotten smaller and the clients you once had, now feed another lion or will your strategies have improved and your territory has expanded exponentially?
Everything starts and ends with you!
You are the boss, figure out the areas of improvement, analyse everything. Change what needs to be changed, improve what needs to be improved, expand your operating area and start earning money for your business.
Your mindset will set the tone and your actions will set the culture of the company. What you do, your staff will do. What you accept, your staff will accept. Be the leader, take 100% responsibility and grow your business.
4. "If only I had more time"
Speaking with multiple managers and business owners before the crisis, something I heard a lot of them saying is that if only they had more time they would improve x or do y to grow their business.
Yet now most are at home with loads of time on their hands and they are not using it to do x and or y.
During a time where most business managers and owners are confined to their homes offers you an immense amount of time to focus on your business.
A top is a lonely place and the buck always ends with you so it is your responsibility to use this time you have been given wisely.
Analyze your expenses in both normal scenarios and Covid-scenarios.
Look at where your business is currently spending money. It is time to look deeply t all your current expenses and find out which expenses are not currently necessarily or even better which expenses can you wipe out entirely.
Your entire goal when doing this is to reduce expenses but not the quality of your business.
There is currently a lot of business who are currently running with a high expense rate and this is a perfect opportunity for you to surpass them by operating more efficiently.
Remember that you need to start with you. You are the leader of the organisation so you could even increase your output to compensate for the reduction of other areas.
Adapt your business to the current market
Yes, this current period is not easy but better than complaining about it and the loss of business you have experienced look to take advantage of this current period so that you can not only survive but thrive.
Use this opportunity to analyse the current market landscape so that you can better optimize your businesses positioning within the market. Maybe you can do what the business I mentioned before and find ways to take your business directly to your customers.
Maybe you could use your companies brand to develop an entirely new product or service. Think of the opportunity there is for a company like Mercedes-Benz to develop a razor that they ship directly to their customers.
Maybe you could take your business consultancy business which is generally an in-person business and implement an online option. Now you are not only adding a complementary option to your business but now you are open to gaining international clients.
What is your competition doing and what can you do better?
Some of your competition are suffering more than others. This is the perfect time to study what they are doing correctly to take advantage of this period and how they are adapting.
What strategies can you not implement straight away but how can you better them so that your company has an edge on the competition?
If you know what your competition is doing and understand how they are doing it you will be able to position your business better against them and grow your business so that when "business" starts returning to normal you will come out on top.
How is this pandemic going to change customers buying behaviours moving forward?
Currently, consumers buying behaviours will continue to be dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, But it is crucial to think about what will happen next once the pandemic subsides and consumers got back to their normal lives. What buying habits would they have picked up?
If I were supermarket or retail store owner I would assume that people have during this pandemic found it so easy to buy their consumables or retail goods online and therefore it would be safe to assume that once the pandemic is over a large portion of your customer base would still prefer to continue to buy online therefor you should put it into your mid to long-term strategy to have an online store.
You should come to terms that traditional business models are going to change and those who don't adapt will face a similar fate to Toys R Us and they were in business for 70 years so remember that no-one is safe.
5. ACTION - BUREAUCRACY = SPEED (ADVANTAGE)
In times like these how fast you can adapt and overcome will determine the level of success you will experience during this pandemic and moving forward.
A. Know what needs to be done.
More often than now people in your organisation are forced to focus on how things should get done and thus lose sight on what needs to be done or worse miss the opportunity to get it done in a period that is advantages to the company.
What do you want to get done and how can we get it done in the quickest amount of time.
SIMPLICITY BEATS COMPLEXITY EVERY TIME!
B. Eliminate paperwork and processes whenever possible.
How many documents are your staff required to fill out and out of those how many contain similar information? Is there not a simpler way of doing it? can you not start using an online program that can capture all your information and store it at the same time so that it can be reused later when needed.
When staff know that to do or to accomplish x, they need to fill out a lot of documentation or have to go through multiple departments to achieve the task then more likely or not they will avoid accomplishing it to not have extra paperwork to do.
Can I reduce the amount of paperwork or processes such as approvals from other departments to make X quicker and easier to accomplish?
I am sure many times you'll answer yes.
C. Empower people to make decisions without you or their direct manager.
How many times I have seen an organisation is bottlenecked by a manager because all decision must be approved by them or even worse the manager is unable or unwilling to give an immediate approval and thus you begin to form the mother of all bottlenecks.
Give your teams better instructions on what you need to be done. Make it easier for them to get it done by removing unnecessary documentation and or approvals. If you need to make any decisions make them quick.
Give your team the power to make decisions and the space in which they can make them. The worst thing you can do is tell your team that they have the power to do something and then micromanage everything that they do or question every decision that they make.
The best way to get your whole team moving in the right direction is to lead from the front by example. Reward your staff that are taking the correct action and leading others in the right direction. Rewards inspire others to start taking action as well.
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