I have been reflecting on what’s going on in the world right now. It may feel like the sky is falling. These are challenging and uncertain times: Yes, COVID-19 is serious. Yes, it will get worse before it gets better.
Until recently our economy was thriving and now, we are living in a world of uncertainty. What will happen to us? To our businesses? To our jobs? To the well-being of our loved ones?
Every Challenge Creates an Opportunity
I am convinced that the biggest threat right now is our own mindset. If you maintain a positive attitude, every challenge creates an opportunity, if you look for it! Isaac Newton made many of his discoveries in the 1600’s Great Plague of London during a 17th-century version of social distancing (200 hundred years before bacteria was even discovered). Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a quarantine. In fact, the word “quarantine” comes from the Italian quarantina or “forty days”. While the virus is new, the world has faced these types of challenges before.
So, the question is: How can you prepare your business to survive this downturn and come out stronger on the other side? How can you secure your job, your income, and financial stability? Let’s talk about that!
What’s Happening to Business?
I recently spoke with folks from one of the world’s leading consulting and research firms and there is a clear trend forming. Because of social distancing and government restrictions, most businesses are already operating remotely. In the next couple of months, we will see a monumental shift in everyone conducting business online.
This is nothing new. We’ve already seen the shift to online/mobile with Millenials and Gen Z but that has been more of a generational preference. Many (especially conservative) companies have been slow to adapt to it. Just a couple of months ago I heard from a CEO of a large commodities firm: online doesn’t matter to us, our business is all based on relationships, it’s all face-to-face.
Well, this just changed overnight, and that same company is now asking us for help setting up e-commerce because, for now, there is no more face to face. Having a strong online presence and with the ability to transact and conduct business online is no longer optional. This is what’s called forced user adoption.
The New Norm: Support Your Customers Online
Whether you are B2B or B2C, online may be the only way you will be interacting with your customers for a while. And once the virus passes and things get back to normal, which they will, your customers are most likely to expect the same level of online services from you going forward. So the future is already happening.
Acting now to adapt to this new norm is how you get your business ready! This is how you protect your income and your job!
Action Steps to Prepare Your Business and Website
No matter how bad this situation gets, look for the positives and focus on the opportunities in front of you. Begin by making sure that you and your team have a continuity plan to work remotely for the next several months and shift all your business activities online. Make certain that your infrastructure is ready for it. Test and audit your website now! Ensure your website is set up to service your customers online and service them well. Do that now and you’ll come out of this crisis a stronger company with you personally leading the way.
There’s no doubt that these are challenging times. At the same time, this is exactly the moment we all need to stand up, maintain a positive attitude, focus on the opportunities, and demonstrate true leadership.
Stay healthy and user-centric!