7 ways to pivot your business during a crisis
The spread of Covid-19 is unlike anything we’ve experienced in modern times. It’s turned business models around the world upside down, and the unpredictability of it has created a volatile, sometimes frightening work environment. While Covid-19 might be a bigger emergency than what you’ve dealt with before, don’t let it intimidate you. The steps you can use to help your company succeed during the coronavirus pandemic are some of the same that have helped you in the past, and can make future emergencies or difficulties that much more manageable.
Make collaborating easy
Collaboration and easy communication is a key part of any business, but it becomes especially crucial in times of emergency. Covid-19 has likely already given communications abilities a trial by fire. If you haven’t already, now is the time to take note of any weaknesses your business has, and do what it takes to fix them. If the best solution is a major change, like switching to a new communication platform altogether, do it. Your work will suffer enough obstacles during a crisis without having to worry about basic elements of business like whether your team can stay in effective contact with one another.
Do something different online for your customers
Your business is unique. If you can show that through your online offerings, particularly during a crisis, you’ll stand out and offer your customers some relief from their daily stress at the same time. If you work in food service, consider posting recipes that use ingredients everyone has in their pantry. If you’re in tech, offer your customers simple learn-to-code exercises, or just a simple list of websites that could benefit people stuck indoors. Get creative in what you can offer your customers, and they will respond.
…and for your employees
It’s tough working online when you’re used to working with a team in-person. You can ease some of this strain by giving your employees unique ways to hang out and stay in touch. Look for online conferences that could benefit your team, or instigate contests your team can participate in remotely. Simple photo, video, or writing contests can be a great way to let your team stay engaged and get creative. Similarly, something like a step count challenge can support exercise and friendly competition at the same time.
Consider the community
Crises are the time to show your community that you care. If you have an opportunity to serve the people around you, do it. That may take the form of organizing physical donations, offering shelter, raising or donating money, or any other resource that will be most beneficial for your area in a given emergency. Efforts like these often aren’t immediately profitable—and will likely cost you time and money—but work like this can shape how customers view your organization. Your community will remember your efforts, during the emergency and after it’s over.
Plan for the future
During an emergency, people hunker down. They often aren’t thinking far into the future, because the future can seem so uncertain. Give your viewers something to look forward to. Offer online discounts that last a few weeks, or outline any interesting plans and goals you have for the future. If you take this track, though, make sure those plans are attainable! Brainstorm how you can plan for the future by asking yourself what incentives might encourage your customers to stick with you through hard times.
Help your team visualize success
Just as the future seems uncertain to your customers and clients, your employees are almost certainly wondering about their careers and the future of your organization. Help your employees and team members understand the vision you have for the future by openly discussing it with them and getting their input. Ask your team what skills everyone will need to develop in order to succeed in a crisis, or what new goals your business should adopt now to best address what’s happening in the world around you.
Ask hard questions
As the expression says: plan for the best, but prepare for the worst. Make sure your employees understand that success is attainable while simultaneously recognizing the biggest current threats to those successes. Ask your employees what they think these threats might be. What element of the current crisis is most damaging to your business model? Once you’ve identified it, you’re a step closer to combating it. Don’t be afraid to examine your weaknesses either during a crisis or during a period of calm. This isn’t damaging your methodology or hurting company morale—it’s effectively planning for the future.