If you’re reading this now, chances are you are reeling from the effects the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on your business. Sales are down, leads have dried up, and many businesses have already had to close their doors. In a time of global uncertainty, how should we, as small-medium sized business operators, respond to the global Coronavirus crisis?
Well, while we can’t offer a comprehensive strategic approach (in this here post anyway!), we can offer some thoughts on approaching the challenges of COVID-19 with a mindful marketing approach.
As anyone who has studied or experienced counselling will know, acceptance of change is the first step in a significant move towards recovery. Whether someone is facing the loss of a loved one, health complications, relationship breakdowns or a career change, acceptance of that change is necessary to moving forward.
“One thing that’s certain in life is change. It’s how you think about change that determines your wellbeing, achievement and success.”
(Karelynne Randall, MBL | Integrity Solutions Centre®)
Karelynne Randall has written a thoughtful response to the situation in her blog post, “How To Move From Fear To Flourishing… A shift in Mindset.” Acknowledging, appreciating and accepting change, allows you to move through it with a positive mindful approach.
It’s the slogan playing on repeat across the media, but this one rings true when considering your mindful business response as well. Burying your head in the sand is never the right approach to business challenges, and it won’t work when responding to COVID-19 either.
Accepting the reality of the crisis, and the economic impact this may have on your business, is the first step in approaching the challenge of COVID-19. The second step? To be prepared for the changes that may lie ahead; this is also key.
Whether that means assessing the trends occurring in your industry as a result of COVID-19 or consulting a reliable business advisor for help in formulating a response, the most important thing is to be prepared that things may need to change to keep your business afloat during this tumultuous time.
Get the right advice
Before making any major changes to your business chat to a reliable business consultant: Someone who understands your industry and has the business acumen to provide sound advice. Speak to other business owners in your industry or consult your professional industry body and business mentor. It’s always helpful to consult a range of professionals before making significant changes to your business model.
Remember in business and in life, there are always ebbs and flows…. Responding to the change in tide is necessary for any business to succeed.
Don’t believe all the hype – get the facts
The trouble with living in the information age is knowing how to break through a cluttered news feed and find reliable information amidst a plethora of alternative ideas.
Make sure you are consulting reliable news sources, and stay up-to-date on Australia’s response by visiting australia.gov.au.
Finding a reliable news source is also helpful, as it prevents being bombarded with many conflicting opinions and allows you to sift through the information with some semblance of sanity. Review a few channels and choose the one that provides the most evidence-based response to the current world issues.
Understand the challenge, find an appropriate solution
Each industry will have a unique range of challenges in response to COVID-19. Whether that’s maintaining customer flow during a period where people are being encouraged to stay at home, to managing staff shortages due to sickness/self-isolation, to supply chain delays, or public health and safety challenges. Each challenge will need to be responded to differently. This is where creativity and problem solving come into play. Don’t be afraid to do something else completely. You may have a heap of knowledge you can share – tips for how people can do things – that can at the very least keep your business top of mind for when our lives start to move back to some semblance of normal.
Think of alternative ways of doing things
While your business processes may have worked for years, or even decades, changes in the global economic climate as a result of COVID-19 may mean that age-old methods need to be re-assessed.
For example, business meetings may need to be held via video conferencing. Customer service and support may need to change from face-to-face to video conferencing, telephone or email support. Sales consultations, which previously involved visiting many different locations may need to be virtual, and office members may need to work from home.
Each of these challenges will likely disrupt the status quo, but when approached from a mindful perspective, each challenge creates an opportunity to think differently and explore new possibilities.
Focus on opportunities, not just possible negative outcomes
One of the many traits Australian’s are known for is their innovation and tenacity in the face of disaster. We saw this earlier this year when facing the bush-fire disaster head-on. Australian’s are not ones to give up when ‘the going gets tough’.
In the age of digital technology, reinvention has become a necessary way of business’ surviving – and in many cases, thriving – when challenges are responded to in a positive, creative, forward-thinking way.
The new challenges posed by COVID-19 are no different (well, they are different in practice, but not in principle).
People who approach the COVID-19 crisis with a will to continue to deliver some form of service and support to customers in a heightened state of anxiety will succeed in the many challenges that come their way.
Consumer spirit must not be underestimated, and although panic buying and general anxiety about the state of the world has caused many customers to respond in shock, over time the consumer spirit will arise, and businesses who capture that spirit are those that are likely to succeed.
One last note,
Adapt your expectations
One important aspect of responding to the COVID-19 challenge is accepting the reality of change and adjusting our expectations.
As a working mum, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will have to reduce my working hours as childcare becomes less available, and this will affect my capacity to produce income-generating work. While I could be despondent at the destruction of my comfortable work-life balance, I have chosen to embrace the extra time with my son, and make use of the available time I have to work during his naps. It’s not ideal, but at the moment it’s manageable.
As with all things in life, family comes first, and adapting my expectations around my work means I am better prepared to look after my husband and my son without the increased pressure on myself to work my regular hours. While this is possible in my circumstance, your family response may be different. Adapting to change and finding the best possible solution within our personal means is necessary to get through this.
How are you coping with the changes as a result of COVID-19? What is working for you, your business and your family at this time? Feel free to comment below, or send us a message if you need more specific advice, or just need to chat. That’s what we’re here for!