THE NEW NORMAL: 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER AS A BUSINESS OWNER IN THESE TIMES
The happenings around the world for the first few months of 2020 appear in some way to have come from a sci-fi movie. For those of us that reside in Lagos, Nigeria, we experienced the motorcycle ban and then the increase in dollar-naira exchange rates. A lot of small businesses operating in Lagos must have just attempted to adjust to the changes in business operations and then appears the Covid pandemic. In the midst of the uncertainty, many small businesses have had to shut down in order to adhere to the requirements of social distance. The normal response at this time would be to throw in the towel; to give up. However, it is important to remember the number of victories you have recorded as a business. It may be useful to take this time out to reflect and strategize. Here are the 5 things I would suggest you do:
1. REVIEW YOUR OBLIGATIONS
This is a great time to look through all the contracts you have and confirm your exact duties under them. Where your obligations would be affected by the pandemic, it would be most beneficial to contact the other parties to the agreement and agree on how best to manage obligations until this situation comes to an end. Informing the other parties about your obligation speaks about your character and your willingness to be committed to fulfilling your obligation.
At this time, your customers still want to know that you have their interests at heart. In fact, perhaps the service you render or fail to render in this season would count the most. Therefore, aim to remain professional. Inform your customers via the most efficient medium of any changes to your operations.
3. LEAVE ROOM TO DREAM
At this time of uncertainty, it is normal for you to want to communicate fear because that is what is commonplace. However, you can decide to tell yourself that this is an opportunity to grow and therefore I will not let this crisis go to waste. A man I respect so much regularly shares this quote which I repeat to myself a lot, “emotional reactions are not for leaders.” Those who will lead after this season is over are the businesses those that monitored the changes in the environment and positioned themselves rightly to take advantage of them. Ensure that you observe the personal hygiene practices encouraged by the health authorities.
However, also decide that your business would be positioned rightly. This pandemic has revealed and will reveal different problems that we need to solve as a country. You can begin to think about how your business can solve these challenges. Should there be a need to diversify, this is a time to think of the problem you can solve via diversification. Stop and take a critical look at the economy to see the likely problem that could emerge after the pandemic is over, and think of the solution that could be strategically implemented after the pandemic.
4. STORE RESOURCES
I would look at this in two ways. Firstly, this is a very good time to research and grow your knowledge base. Be on the lookout for emerging products you can develop because of the changes that have arisen from this occurrence. Secondly, store your resources. In life, there are different seasons, as the Bible says “there is a time to keep and a time to throw away.” This is not the time to throw away and be extravagant. It is a time to be intentional about the way you spend. It is a time to be transparent and open with your employees. It is a tough call but you are the general in the army and so you must remain strategic.
5. EXPAND — LIFE CANNOT ONLY BE ABOUT YOU NOW
This virus has taught me that at the baseline we are all human. We have divided ourselves into races, colors, ages and tribes. The virus has no such segregation. Therefore it is time to live not only for ourselves. There is a push to be more compassionate and to live beyond yourself. As a business owner ask yourself, what products and services can I develop to assist humanity to come out the effects of this pandemic when it’s finally over? Treat this virus somewhat like a “deathbed” experience. A time to ask yourself “if I am given another chance at life, what would I do differently?”
This also applies to employees, at this time, you must be considerate about the needs of our employer. Ensure that you are rendering the necessary support to your employer.
In all, stay safe, but above all else, stay hopeful. You matter and so does your business. Therefore, you cannot afford to give up in a time like this.
See you on the other side!!!