For the COVID-19 business crisis, we're now at the stage of the Business Continuity Process where the boulder of survival goes from being pushed uphill to being pushed along level ground as we return normal. Now is when we pick up momentum with our boulder, and use that momentum to help us clear a path to brighter futures.
By now, the tide of the pandemic is easing out. Here in the US, hospitalizations and fatalities from Coronavirus are in a consistent decline for over 6 weeks, far exceeding the common 2-week incubation period previously observed in the March/April timeframe for these lagging indicators to follow the leading indicator of positive cases.
How do you as a small business utilize this great news to build positive momentum? How do you make that pandemic boulder and asset to your growth, instead of a burden? Let's look at a few ways to build momentum through the end of 2020.
Schedule time in September to review your Business Continuity Plans
Now is the perfect time to do a throrough review of your Business Continuity Plans. The impact and pain of the shutdowns is still fresh, but the business environment is now calmed down enough that you have the bandwidth available to incorporate new learnings and updates where needed.
If you found yourself without a Business Continuity Plan back in February and are loath to repeat that experience, now is the time to prepare a Business Continuity Plan for your unique business. Write it on your calendar and reach out for guidance in preparing such plans. You survived the pandemic, now take the time to gather the tools and skills you need so that you'll be confident in the knowledge that you're prepared for the next crisis, no matter what it is.
Besides preparing your business for the future, a thorough review of your existing BC plan, or the creation of a new BC plan, will provide ample opportunities for process improvements for your business. The pandemic provided every business with the chance to see what processes are critical to your ability to thrive, and what processes are just icing on the cake, aka, overhead expenses. The efficiencies discovered during the BCP review/creation will pay dividends now and for the future,
Tailor your products and/or services towards connecting people.
As the economy opens up, society as a whole will be eager to reconnect with family, friends, and peers in ways that have been difficult, if not impossible, for the last 6 months. As a business decision maker, tailoring your products and/or services towards helping enable such connections gives you an immediate audience hungry for the products and services you provide.
The economy is built on people helping people, and now is a great opportunity to get out there and help your customers, clients, and community. We're all hungry to help, with enormous reserves of pent up energy ready to make good things happen.
Expand your sources of information, even including sources you normally don't utilize.
One of the main traps businesses and leaders fall into is that of the echo chamber. Our psyches love to be recognized and applauded, but this can lead to our seeking approval and reinforcement to make us feel better, vs seeking information and data to help us help others to get better.
The best way to avoid the echo chamber, as countless psychological research has shown, is to push yourself to be uncomfortable and stretch your mind, and the easiest way to do that is to seek out information from new sources.
In my career in Business Continuity and Project Management, I've observed countless times when key decision makers and stakeholders were caught by surprise, despite being extremely intelligent and wonderful problem solvers. And every time it has been because their sources of information for decision making would gradually self-reduce, as they relied more and more on the sources of information that reinforced their existing line of thinking.
Ignore global and national news for at least one day each week.
This is a build on the previous step. This could be the most difficult step, but it also has the most potential to supercharge 4Q2020 for your business. During your once weekly sabbatical of global and national news, focus on your local community and what is happening there. These are the people who have the biggest impact on your daily life, and who are also most eager to return to normal and interact with their fellow community members.
This is an opportunity to strengthen neglected relationships, and to build new relationships with people who now realize how important local social connections are to their own community.
These are 4 basic, yet powerful, steps that any business can take to be ready for the rest of 2020 and beyond. The opportunities available to business ready to run shove that boulder of momentum down the road will be massive. The hill is flattening, we can all see it leveling out, so let's all step forward and keep the momentum growing. The path forward won't be straight, but together we can navigate the turns ahead, ensuring we continue to build resilient communities, one business at a time.