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Key considerations as you reopen your business
As of Monday, Massachusetts has announced a reopening timeline, joining most other states in preparing to restart its economy. We’ve discussed in previous posts how COVID-19 has presented opportunities for entrepreneurs to get clear on what’s working, what talent they need, and how to embrace change. Now that you're able to reopen your business, it’s important to keep moving the ball forward. The positive changes you’ve made in your company have kept you alive this long, but you’ll need to keep evolving.
We recommend you reopen your business in three phases: recover, restore, and revitalize:
After 2+ months of crisis planning, most of our clients are done with or nearing the end of their immediate recovery efforts. They’ve made the difficult decisions, rightsized their businesses, and recalibrated their short-term efforts to stay alive. (If your business is still in crisis planning mode, please check out our COVID-19 Response Playbook).
Right now, it seems that most of the country will be fully reopened in the next month or two (we pray that the new status quo is a sustainable proposition). The economy will probably recover slowly over the next 18 months.
If you are opening your doors to customers, bringing employees back into the office, or restarting business operations, you need to take the reality of a not-quite-post-COVID world into account. Restoring your company isn’t the same as turning back the clock.
Key issues include:
If you had to lay off or furlough team members, now might be the time to bring them back on. You want to ensure, however, that every rehire makes sense in the context of your new organization. If you use EOS®, create an updated Accountability Chart™ to help you rebuild your team strategically.
You might also want to start adding expenses back in, particularly costs around lead generation and marketing. Be ruthless and question every line item. What do you really need? Can you leverage virtual technology to replace pricier in-person expenses?
If you plan on returning to a physical office space or work site, you’ll need to incorporate new protocols and regulations to keep employees and customers safe. Keep an eye on government guidance as well as best practices, and recognize that maintaining safety might affect both people and expenses.
You may need to adjust or reevaluate the company position on things like providing hand sanitizer or masks, sick leave policies, and continued work from home. There is still a lot of fear around COVID-19, and it’s important to be sensitive to the concerns of employees and customers when you create your plan for restoration.
Revitalizing your business is fundamentally about holding yourself to high standards while acknowledging the scale of your current challenges. In other words: plan for the best, prepare for the worst” (if this is similar to one of your company’s core values, you are probably knocking it out of the park right now).
A crucial part of building the next iteration of your business is pausing long enough to look back at what you’ve done so far during the COVID-19 crisis. What worked? What didn't?
Here are a few questions to get you started:
--How was our overall response to the coronavirus outbreak? --What specific actions did we take to ensure our survival? --How did our service offerings hold up? Do we need to alter them? --Were we well-prepared to handle crisis? --How did our core values hold up? --What could we do better next time? What can we do better right now? --Did the pandemic create any unique opportunities that we should take advantage of?
That last question brings us to the topic of pivots. Evaluate any short-term pivots you made to survive from week to week: is it time to move on, or is there long-term opportunity? Are there any other long-term pivots to consider that make sense for the “new normal” you anticipate in your sector? Think about tweaked offerings, new services, and untapped customer bases.
Everyone should consider what they can move online and how they can serve customers digitally. Ditto for the way employees work and how offices are structured—maybe, like one of our clients, you’ve found that you can eliminate your physical office and go fully remote.
It’s realistic to anticipate a tough Q2 and an 18-month road to recovery. It’s also smart to be discerning about financial decisions and a little less free with how you spend your money. And it’s inevitable that the emotional turmoil of the COVID-19 crisis will have an impact on individual employees, if not the company overall.
That said, none of the above should become an excuse to drop the ball on new initiatives, set tepid revenue targets, or permit employee or company performance to suffer. Entrepreneurs should be pushing themselves to innovate and leverage the current opportunities.
For many business owners, the last couple of months have given them the chance to work ON their business more than IN their business. Maintain that commitment as your company recovers, restores and revitalizes. If you do, your business will be stronger, more resilient, and ready to adapt to the challenges and opportunities the future holds.
If you need help with any of the steps outlined here, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll set you up with a free IDS™ (Identify/Discuss/Solve) session with one of our EOS Implementers®.