Lessons for Business Owners during Coronavirus
by Tim Healy
Coronavirus has dealt small businesses everywhere a gut punch like they have never felt before. States have called for all non-essential businesses to shut down, with no clear timeline in place of when things will reopen. This is easier said than done, as many non-essential businesses are also a part of the supply chain to essential businesses. Surviving as a business owner is more difficult than ever before, but coronavirus has brought with it many lessons for business owners around the world.
The lesson we can all learn is timeless: the importance of relationships.
There isn’t a single successful business in existence today that doesn’t rely on relationships. Whether you are suddenly facing downtime in business or not, now is the time to look at all your relationships. This starts with your relationships with clients, but has to also include employees and vendors. Which of these relationships is most important? It’s impossible to say for sure, because you can’t have one without the other. Therefore, we must treat all equally important.
As Mike Rowe said on an episode of The Profit Express, “If plumbers and electricians call out sick, I would give us three days before you have a basic Armageddon situation. You can see what happens when the lights go out for a few days.”
All of YOUR relationships in life and business are important. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to realize just how important.
While the first reaction for small business owners is to make sure their clients are being taken care of, what about relationships with employees and vendors?
Getting Creative with Social Distancing
Being connected without being physically there has been a challenge for all ages. Fortunately, we live in a world with more technological capabilities than ever before. Social media has given us countless ways to accomplish social distancing without losing connection.
One of my clients, who is a financial advisor, had a virtual happy hour with a trusted advisor and two prospects. Zoom, FaceTime, and other video chat services allow you to keep your relationships going, even at a distance.
Preserving Relationships and Helping Others
Most of us have extra time on our hands these days. Use this time to your advantage, and let your relationships hear from you – even if it has been a while. A quick text, email, or call can go a long way.
Now would be a great time to do a Google Review for a vendor as a way for thanking them for their service and helping their brand. You can even send them a hand written note just checking in with them.
Facing the Future
According to NBC News, the unemployment rate has been projected to exceed the rate suffered during the Great Depression.
There is no good way around that. Whether you have been forced to let employees go or you still have staff working for you, just being genuinely concerned about their well-being is critical. If you haven’t thanked them in a while for their service, now would be a great time. Hearing a thank you goes a long, long way, especially during a difficult time.
Remember it has been all of the hard work of your employees and vendors that has allowed you to enjoy the success you enjoy.
I can’t help but think that the one hugely positive take away from something so horrible is realizing how important ALL of our relationships really are.
My one hope for small business owners is that even after we get back to normal, we never take for granted the importance of relationships. At the end of the day, they are all we’ve got!