Finally, there is so…
Times are very different right now from anything anyone in modern times has ever experienced. But does that mean we all have to panic?
In fact, if you look at it from a less involved point of view, you may be able to see the opportunities. Change if nothing else focuses your mind on what matters, personally and to your business.
Strategic plans run quite easily in the calm water of the normal day-to-day business. However, they often show their cracks when the world is turned on its head by a media blowing things out of proportion. What should have been a steady, buying two weeks extra supplies over the last month, was turned into an absolute fiasco by the media inducing fear into everyone. That there would be nothing left in the Shops if you did not act now and buy 4 years’ worth stuff tomorrow. But media is the sensationalizing monster it has always been.
Do we need to respond in the same overzealous manner in business, again the answer is, No!
No planning in the world is going to cover every eventuality, trust me I know, I have written numerous Contingency, Succession, Disaster Recovery & Emergency Operation plans in my time. I am a dab hand at thinking up the worse and most unlikely catastrophes and how to cope, pull through and most importantly keep the wheels turning and focus on the company goals.
Where people most often lose focus, is in a time of distress. With the risks of ill health to all and the possible serious consequences to our loved ones, it is hard to stay focused. With that and the change that has to happen to combat further infections, it affects not just work life, but your home life.
That is distracting and upsetting, to say the least. However, this is the point in life you can choose to sink or swim. No matter how much you have in the bank, whether your customers aren’t behaving in their normal way or even what the Strategic Plan says, or doesn’t. Now is the time to focus harder.
A “Sales Pipeline” has always been the go-to phrase for potential future income, but if you look at that bit of my sentence, you will notice the keyword in my description of it, “Future!” The future is unknown! When you step back, you will see that you have always had to manage with the future and the unknown.
Change and development come as a natural response to trying to figure out what is next and how best to make something of it. So, Breathe deeply for a second, note to yourself, how many times have you had to face adversity and succeeded already. This is just another one of those times!
I will not cop out here and say every business is different. Because there is one common factor in all businesses, People! You need them and they need you. Your biggest resource in business is people, your staff, clients, suppliers, even your family. Nobody wants to lose everything. Therefore, compromise will always ensue.
Hiding away from communicating with people is what will cause the most damage to your business. If people do not have confidence in you, they have no confidence in your business. It is one of the reasons the Captain stays ‘till the last man, on a sinking ship. A calm head, with clear instruction, alleviates panic, allows the order to prevail over chaos, saving as many as is possible in the time available!
Company Staff, Clients, and Suppliers are just the same, you will lose them if you do not communicate clearly your intentions, your requirements, and your expectations.
Now you see why it is vitally important to create a plan. “You” need to know what to say and do, so others can act upon it.
First, you want to go through any existing plan and slim down the focus of it. Do not throw it out. It has the essence of your company goals. Re-work it with your new obstacles in play.
Homeworking for those who can, a medium like WhatsApp is free, to create remote workgroups, keeping people in the loop with your requirements of them and ensuring they have a direct route to you for their questions, ideas, and feedback on their progress.
Implement flexible hours, where possible, to allow families to stagger their timetables and cover child care, etc.
Clear instruction on why Hygiene and larger personal space is important to staff that you cannot operate without.
Schedule a staggered three-minute break every two hours for people to perform those hygiene tasks. Done regularly this is enough to make the difference.
I cannot possibly type every circumstance in business and industry, but be assured if you can see a problem there is virtually always a solution. Talk things over with people, whilst listening to their ideas and suggestions. You may only have to operate this way for a few months, so don’t knit pick just yet, make a change, gain momentum and then hone it to perfection, once your life is not quite so full of problems.
Tell your staff what you are thinking of doing, get their feedback and encourage them to all pull in the same positive direction.
Ask the tuff questions. Can you have or extend your credit period? Is there a way to span repayments? Is there something you can do in return that will ease their current problems? Other than financially if you are up against it. If you create Open Talks now, then if times get any harder you both know you are willing to negotiate and work to the common goals.
Let them know you have a plan, what steps you have taken to minimize disruption. Reassure them you know how they feel in relation to their problems. Remember, you are their Supplier and you may very well be asked the same difficult questions you have had to ask yours. Be reasonable and rational. You cannot get blood from a stone.
And remember that Pipeline I mentioned earlier, keep generating leads, keep looking to the future, know there is going to be one and its’ not that far from now. What people are not doing today they will return to soon. How some organizations do things might change, but inevitably, they will all still need the products and services they did before. You need to be the one that went through it with them. Not the one that was forgotten avoided or not heard from during in it.
Chat with, Phone, E-mail, Write and Webcam everyone in relation to your business and share in its’ ups and downs, give each other hope of future prospects.
FLOW, are not going anywhere, we have plans in place, we have made a change. We have done and are doing, exactly what I said you should, communicating!
Now I do not want this to be an advert for our services because I think that belittles the help that this message is here to offer, so I won’t put the spiel in.
But know we are open for business as normal. More importantly, we are here to offer any advice you may need in relation to Direct Mail & Fulfilment, what is working in marketing and what is not during the difficult months. Even if you would like to chat about some of our solutions and plans, we are available as always.
I hope you find your path too. We will be here to help if you would like it!
Stay safe and well.