I have been through a few major crises as a business leader – 9/11, Financial Crisis, and now COVID-19. So, let me try to lend some experience to your current decision-making in this unique moment in history.
First, and foremost prioritize the health and well-being of your family, friends, and neighbors. There is nothing in your business or professional life that is more urgent than those people.
Seek and listen to wise counsel. Crises are not new and will always return. The positive to that truth is there are a lot of people that have been through crisis and seen what works and what doesn’t.
Communicate with your employees and customers. Tell them what you’re doing, how you can serve them at this moment, and your plan for moving through the crisis. This means shifting from marketing to crisis communications. Shut off marketing automation at the risk of sounding tone-deaf to the situation or worse opportunistic.
Carefully survey what is changing. What are the short-term changes? What are long-term fundamental changes? What changes will change your business?
Here’s my current list of changes that businesses should be adapting to:
- COVID-19 will infect and grow in its impact on our world for 2 months and then it will assuredly go away (based on the China curve).
- People will be isolated in their homes. This includes children as the result of schools being closed and adults doing their best to work from home.
- Work from home is likely to cause business confusion, inefficiency, and in some cases disruption
- Travel and retail will come to an abrupt stoppage. The effects of this stoppage are unknown.
- Financial markets will operate unpredictably. For example, the mortgage market which has largely been stalled will possibly kick into hyperdrive a people take advantage of the rate environment to refinance into a lower rate and payment or cash out to shore up their emergency savings
- Healthcare systems and processes will likely improve through the innovation in dealing with this crisis
- Remote work will become a more common mode of business.
- Digital will become increasingly become the primary mode of businesses
- Websites will become the new corporate HQ
- Websites will need to become more flexible and responsive communication platforms
- Mobile phones will become the primary computing device
- New products and services will emerge
Given all of this, I would/I am…
- Communicating a lot.
- Focusing my team on serving customers and shift services to what my clients currently need, regardless of what our standard business as usual services are – we’re extra, highly experienced hands in the crisis.
- Skating to where the puck will be. We’re constantly surveying the market, our clients, and how everything is changing to ensure we are positioned for the future, new normal.
- Talking to a lot of smart people. Most of my day today will be emailing, calling, and touching base with my network – checking on their well-being and learning from their perspectives. Feel free to add yourself to the list by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are you doing? What is changing in your business?
Email me at email@example.com or Tweet me @billrice.