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5 min

Survive, Stabilise, and Sustain

The current Coronavirus pandemic has affected the world in ways never experienced before in our lifetime. And, while things may currently feel scary, overwhelming, and apocalyptic, the good news is that some day the distancing and isolation will end and “normal” life will resume.

However, one thing to prepare for as a business leader (and citizen of humanity), is that while we will undoubtedly recover from this scary time, in all likelihood, “normal” will be different. We will re-emerge to a world that is different than the one we retreated from, and one of the most helpful things you can do for your organisation is to understand how to both survive these difficult times, and know what to expect when they are over.

Here are some tips for making sure you survive, stabilise, and sustain as the COVID-19 epidemic runs its course.

Determine the best way for your business to operate right now

The fact of the matter is, one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to surviving the pandemic. Every business is in its own unique position of handling the challenge, based on the services they provide, the audience they cater to, their financial situation, and many, many more factors.

If you’re a business leader, you should determine the best course of action for your business in terms of surviving right now. Take a good look at your financial situation and your capacity to operate and serve and decide which of these fits best for you:

Simply survive

Your company may just be in complete survival mode right now. If you’ve had to lay off or furlough workers, close down operations, disrupt supply chains, and more just to stay afloat, you should be focused on simply surviving right now. The decisions you make at this time should centre around being sure you can remain a company throughout the course of the pandemic.

Adjust and adapt

If you have the resources to keep operating during this time but you need to make some changes, be ready to be flexible and adapt. Consider how you may shift your operating model to still provide a good customer experience (i.e. can you serve all your customers and clients from afar, remotely?) You may be able to determine a way to hold on to some continuity during the pandemic so you are the same organisation but simply look different when the time for isolation is over.

Operate on opportunity

There’s a chance you lead a business that might actually see—and be able to serve—an unmet need that is opening up right now. If your organisation can fill some role or provide some service that is desperately needed in these pandemic times (or post-pandemic times), shift to fill that need. You may have to transform the way you to do business, but you can look at this time as a chance to seize an unexpected business opportunities that may allow you to thrive now and post-pandemic.

Support the people you need to support you

One of the most important things you can do to ensure you survive the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure all the people on your team are taken care of the best way possible. This doesn’t just mean employees. It means every stakeholder and customer and figure that helps ensure your business remains a business.

Here are some tips for helping to support all of the people on your team so that you can not only have the help you need but also a strong group of supporters who will be there to get you through and stand by your side when all of this is over.

Your employees and staff

You couldn’t have a business without the people who run and operate it. So, make sure you show your team the appreciation they deserve, and remember that this moment is a crisis of humanity: first and foremost, you should show that you care about them as people. First off, make sure your staff’s logistical, and financial needs are attended to as best you can.

Pay them as much as you can, and make sure you set them up to keep working comfortably and safely if you can (remotely, safely distanced if you’re an essential business, etc.). Show that you care about your team members as people, and you’ll earn more respect and loyalty from them—which will result in a stronger, tighter team when all of this is over.

Your community of stakeholders

Your stakeholders (customers, investors, users, clients, etc.) are also essential if you want to operate as a thriving business. You should make sure that you communicate and care for them during the pandemic, to show that you value, appreciate, and acknowledge their support. There are several simple ways you can do that. First, change your messaging to communicate helpful, positive, encouraging information that will help people get through this time. For example, companies like Panera Bread are releasing a series of ads from delivery drivers encouraging people to remain—and eat—at home.

Lyft is pushing a program that provides free rides to those who need them for medical purposes. Think about what messages your stakeholders need to hear from you right now, and encourage them that way—they’ll appreciate the help, and you’ll build trust from people you want to remain your allies when business operations resume full-function. For more interesting and successful marketing responses during the pandemic, check out this roundup from AdAge (it may help you come up with some of your own messaging ideas!)

Yourself

As the leader of a business you might put yourself last in terms of the “care” you need to survive and stabilise, but if you really want to get through the pandemic, it’s important to make sure you are taking proper care of yourself so you can lead effectively.

It may seem counterintuitive when there’s so much to figure out, but take some intentional time to rest while everyone is quarantined. Exercise, nourish your body properly, sleep, and even get mental healthcare support if you feel like it could help you better manage your anxiety, grief, and stress over your business situation.

Finally, be sure to take some time to focus on things other than your business. Spend time with family and friends (even if remotely, on Zoom!), take up a new, long lost hobby, or read non-business related books.

By giving your brain a break, you’ll be refreshed and renewed each time you go back to tackle the challenge of how you’re going to get your business through this challenging time, and you may just stumble upon a new idea that you wouldn’t have thought of if you’d remained stuck in the mire of your own stress and worry.

Always remember: the pandemic is going to end, and though your normal may look like a “new” normal, you WILL get to have a normal again!