Are we nearly there yet?

Every parent will be familiar with those words. They are usually yelled plaintively from the back seat  15 minutes into our journey. As we move from level 4 to level 3 of dealing with Covid-19, some will be rushing out the door wanting to restart their lives and their businesses, desperate to get back to ‘normal’. And that’s understandable. Others may be more cautious. They may not want to rush out yet; they may prefer a more tentative step outside the door.

Whichever way we choose, our lives and our businesses may have changed forever. Predictions are that it will take around 12 months to create a vaccine, in the interim how do we keep ourselves safe; how do we earn a living and as a business how do we stay solvent? It’s my hope that as we spent those long days in lock-down, we used the time productively to think about our ‘what next’, career wise; business wise and/or even family wise.

In my last article (What’s it all about Alfie?) I suggested that:

  • Employees take the time to think through whether you now prefer to work from home and how you can realistically do that?
  • Business owners could think about setting their operation up so more people can work from home where possible. There are massive savings for businesses to do that – less office space to rent; less company cars required perhaps?

In that newsletter I also highlighted the emotional reactions we would go through as the lock-down hit us (Denial; Resistance and blame; Exploration and finally Acceptance and action). In this newsletter I want to share a model with you that I’ve used over the years when helping clients ‘rethink’ their businesses. It was a model created in the 1970s by psychologists trying to help people give up smoking:

  1. Pre-contemplation (not ready to change)
  2. Contemplation (well if I have to change what will that take?)
  3. Preparation (getting ready)
  4. Action (doing what needs to be done)
  5. Maintenance (Making sure we don’t slip back into old habits)

When the virus hit, and it hit so suddenly, we were all caught in the ‘not ready to change’ phase, because we didn’t know we would have to change. Sadly a lot of businesses will still be stuck in that phase even despite 4 weeks of lock-down. They simply will not believe that things may never go back to normal. These are the businesses at greatest risk of failure.

Hopefully the majority of businesses will have moved swiftly to the ‘contemplation’ stage. Like the little 3D print company that contacted Kapiti College with an idea for printing masks, now 140 printers are churning out much needed masks for front line medical staff.  Or like the website Grab One who swiftly moved from promoting restaurants and beauty products to marketing hands free soap, face masks, first aid kits and cleaning products. Smart one.

Closer to home, a lovely neighbour is a sign writer; he calls on clients; discovers what they want; creates their signs and then delivers them: physically. He has NO online presence. When chatting over the fence now that he had no business and no income, I suggested he create some Facebook ads with photos of his work inviting people to contact him and discuss their needs. He had never thought about running his business that way.  By the very next day he had some Facebook ads running. It may not be the way he wants to run his business long term, but in the interim, it will feed his family.

So my message today is ADAPT and above all else GET YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE.  

We can’t go back to normal. There won’t be a normal for a long time or if ever again. Think through what you can do rather than what you can’t do. Redesign your business to better suit uncertain times because for sure, there will be more uncertain times. And don’t lose sight of the fact that if things don’t work out at level 3 we may have to return to level 4. Are you prepared for that? Will your business survive if that happens?

I’m here if you want to brainstorm ideas – call me on 0272 465 585.
I’m a very captive audience at the moment.

Final thought …

‘It’s not so much that we are afraid of change or so in love with the old ways. It’s the place in between we fear – it’s like the space between trapezes.’ Maralyn Ferguson

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