We’re living in difficult times. A world of masks and economic melt-down. You may be tempted to bury yourself deep under the duvet and pray for a vaccine. But until that day arrives, you need to take this particular bull by the horns and come up with a plan. Now is a good time to take stock of what has happened, and ask how you intend to move forward? Questioning yourself is not just good, it’s vital. As Karl Jung said –
“until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
So what are the questions you can put to yourself?
What positive actions have I taken?
We’re now several months into the pandemic. Hopefully, by now you will have taken stock of the situation and come up with a strategy. Worrying doesn’t count as a plan.
Some businesses are much more vulnerable than others. But that’s not to say there is nothing you can do. Take the hospitality sector. As many pubs cut back on deliveries or close down, craft brewers began selling direct to customers. Cinemas are offering free gift vouchers to entice customers back. Restaurants are offering home deliveries. These won’t transform businesses, but what will they will do is keep them going, until the tide finally turns.
The worst thing you can do is to do nothing.
Where am I going to work?
You may have settled into a nice daily routine of breakfast, followed by a twenty second commute to your desk. But what about going forward? Is your business as efficient as before, or do you just hope that’s the case? And what about your employees? How has working from home impacted on them? Is home working the right solution in the long term?
Many companies haven’t decided yet when to go back to the office. Some may never return. But what you do need is a strategy for your business, that is right for customers, suppliers, staff, and last, but not least, you.
Is my communication up to scratch?
How often do you contact your customers, your suppliers, your employees? And is the message heartfelt and considerate, or cold and corporate? It’s probably worth checking your Sent box and see what your communication has been like recently. Perhaps you’ll find you haven’t been communicating enough. It’s one of the few things you have total control over, and it can have a huge impact on your business. It will not only show your customers that you care, it can raise morale for your team. And if it’s not as good as it could be, it’s an easy thing to fix. Develop a communications strategy. Start typing.
Are our values still intact?
Just because you now only see customers and employees in a very small box on your laptop, it’s not an excuse to throw your values book out the window. Now, more than ever, you need to go back to your values, and ask – is my business still living up to them? Are they inspiring my clients, and those who work for me? Is it relevant to how my business is operating? It’s worth thinking about.
Is my team happy?
No-one can guarantee a great day at work, every day. But what you can do is ensure that there are no simmering issues that will one day explode. In an office environment, it’s easy to sense the vibes. But what about when your staff are scattered across the county, or country? Is your top talent considering a move? Do your employees feel you have a grip on the current situation? Do you speak to them on a regular basis? With Covid-19 it’s important to regularly take your temperature. Make sure you also take the temperature of your team.
What about that person in the mirror?
As a business owner there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders right now. Are you looking after yourself? Has lockdown impacted on you positively or negatively? Are there things you were forced to stop that worked well for you? What have you found out about yourself when you look deeply? What do you want to do less of or more of? What you do want the next chapter of your working life to look like? You could do a lot worse than spend half an hour answering these questions.
Covid-19 has impacted all of us. Some of the outcomes are beyond our control. But how your business comes through in large part depends on you and how you react. Taking time to reflect is not time wasted. It’s an essential part of being an owner.