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!)
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!