It is more clear than ever - businesses must rebuild their business no matter their size or status, while operating in the pandemic economic environment. Unfortunately, we have seen many businesses frozen during this time of challenge, in mindset, decision making, operations, and growth, but continue to work with hundreds - if not thousands of businesses - to pivot in all of these ways as part of an effort to save the business and/or the entrepreneur (or leader). I encourage you to register for Westchester RISES Workshops to gain insights into your business.
So, how do businesses move forward, while being stuck with either depleting or stagnate customer revenues, cash flow(s), and at times an unmotivated team? In short, our advice is to take action, keep moving, try testing new things, and talk to mentors and colleagues to share insights on operations and strategy. Even the smallest shift in mindset, operations, and another element of a business can spark new energy with a team and customers and even generate new avenues of engagement and revenue with customers and partners.
Quick Mindset Tip: James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, highlights in his chapter “The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits” that changing the heading of a 747 plane by only 3.5% is the difference in traveling to either New York City or Washington, D.C., showcasing how even a small change at takeoff from Los Angeles Airport makes a great impact on our direction (while being barely noticeable to us in the moment). As a business owner or leader, imagine shifting your mindset or one company process even 3.5% to make a world of difference in your operations, strategy and/or growth. This will be deeply impactful for your team, partners, and customers.
Now more than ever, you as a business owner cannot do it alone. Yes, you are carrying the flag as the decision maker, but the pandemic economic environment demands that you serve more and more as an influencer with your team.
01 Build and manage relationships now
It starts today. Right now. On a daily basis. Building and managing better relationships will ensure solid footing come troubling times in the future.
Don’t forget about yourself. In listening to thousands of businesses since May, it is confirmed time and again that personal and family stress is the greatest strain on businesses owners today. Building and managing a better you is taking a step towards better leadership and decision making for your team.
Seek to understand your team in any way possible. Listening to and engaging everyone across your organization will lead to greater insights, better operations, and more agility when faced with transition.
Your clients and partners are, of course, key relationships in your ecosystem and for your business growth and expansion. Especially during this time of highs tress, work with your team to implement even stronger, more empathetic ways to respond to their needs and ensure their safety.
02 Empower teammates and clients to think creatively
There is no option - you need to function despite the mounting challenges. Understanding the need for more transparency during this time requires, yet again, a new level of comfort for you and your team, even if you are hesitant and/or do not see yourself in this position presently.
Be comfortable working together with your team, partners, and clients to identify pain points. This will enable you to focus more on developing and building solutions to be responsive to your customers together. And remember, even the slightest, smallest, tiniest shift in mindset and operations will lead to more impactful results, even though it may be unnoticeable at first.
As Bob Glazer, CEO of ENT & Allergy Associates, said in the Westchester RISES workshop on Engaging Your Team in Challenging Economy, the pandemic has caused teams to rethink growth and expansion plans, forcing everyone to double down on developing creative ways that ensure a strong financial and operational position in the market.
03 Communicate values and standards consistently
Everyone needs to be, and needs to want to be, on the same team. Of course, sidetracks and mishaps will happen, but committing to staying synced and together throughout this time, is in fact, a foundational business - and for that matter, personal - reality today and moving forward.
As a Westchester RISES strategist advised one small, multi-generational, family-owned business in Mount Vernon this past week, commit to employees, contractors, partners, and clients all as one team. Remember, everyone is on roller skates on a cruise ship in a storm nowadays. Shifting your mindset as the leader to viewing everyone in your ecosystem as members of your team will empower you to test and iterate on new processes and create greater cross-communication in effective ways for your business. This is the new baseline standard for your business.