The top 4 things EVERY business owner should be doing
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the landscape of most all business operations. If you wish to survive as a business owner, we urge you to heed the advice of influential sage Sun Tzu in The Art of War: “adapt endlessly”. This calls for reshaping methods of communication to stay connected with employees and clients. Here are the top 4 things you should be doing right now to adapt those connections:
1. Embrace Virtual: If this was foreign to you prior to the pandemic, we’d bet that you’ve now been forced to speak into your computer screen. We’d also bet that you’ve found it’s quite effective. The rest of the world agrees and no matter what quarantine sanctions are lifted it’s not going anywhere.
Be patient with yourself, your employees and your clients and take the time to master the virtual meeting experience. Offer this as an option to your clients instead of a phone call and help walk them through it. Experts say that at least 70% of communication is non-verbal – we can’t afford to lose this! Embrace the new “face to face”, it’s in effect a huge positive.
2. Be Human: In the midst of constant emails re: “Changes Due to COVID”, it’s nice to be reminded that we’re all navigating personal and family changes at the same time. Go beyond the operation updates and talk about what it’s like to be homeschooling kids during quarantine, being stuck inside without access to the gym, or losing your routine and neglecting self-care.
Quarantine isn’t pretty and we need to be real about that. A simple outreach asking your clients and employees “how are you and your family?” is a welcomed change-up. Even a phone call might be a pleasant surprise after the magnitude of texts and email chains. You might even go as far as sharing tips on how to cope with some of our shared struggles – social media is a great place to engage the masses and keep it real.
3. Be a Resource: The news cycle on COVID-19 is something like we’ve never seen. It’s overwhelming and everyone is searching for reliable intel on the constant changes. As a business owner, your clients and employees naturally look to you as an authority. Take pride in that responsibility and make an effort to steer them to the facts. If possible, offer educational webinars on the pandemic changes that will impact them directly. Bring in experts to speak on your behalf. This is an opportunity to make your employees and clients feel cared for.
It would even be helpful to create an online space with trusted links and updates on the virus, to keep everyone informed with unbiased info and available resources. A great example of this in action is this COVID-19 Resource Page created by The Moose Consulting. If you’re already consuming all the latest news and how it’s impacting your industry, you might as well silence the static and deliver the facts to those who are already looking to you for answers.
4. Stay Social: We as humans are social beings in nature. A virus can’t change that innate yearning for social stimulation. What the virus has changed is how “social” now looks in our daily lives. People are actually having more in-depth conversations and hours spent on virtual “hangouts” than ever before. This is certainly a silver lining inside a gloomy experience, and we need to extend it to employees and clients!
Host a weekly social hour with your team and meet on video. No work, all play. Encourage everyone to share the best part of their week and give quarantine survival tips. When the daily office interaction is removed, we need to fill the void outside of conference calls and remember that we can actually laugh with the people we work with. Does anybody remember laughter?…cue Led Zeppelin and living room concert sing-alongs.