The COVID-19 pandemic has created so much fear, uncertainty and doubt for everyone, including the business community. In some ways, business leaders are shouldering multiple burdens in these times. They are caring for themselves and their families, the continuation of their business, the well-being of their employees, and the concerns of their customers.
Anxieties are flying at them from all directions. They’re worried about whether their employees are safe and healthy. They’re wondering what new procedures and requirements will come from local governments in order to reopen. They’re looking at ways they can bring business back to pre-COVID-19 levels.
But the key to overcoming these fears and anxieties is simple: planning. A clear, well-thought-out path forward is vital for business success. It overcomes uncertainty in the short term and also creates a new, more confident environment.
Here are four question for business leaders to ask themselves as the economy reopens.
1) Will My Employees be Safe?
The health and safety of your employees should be your first priority above all other concerns. Without your team, you literally cannot do business. Go above and beyond on safety, including, but not limited to, personal protective equipment, barriers and shields, sanitation, enhanced protocols and contact-free transactions.
And don’t forget that it’s not just your employees’ physical health that should concern you. It’s also their emotional and mental health. This has been a traumatic experience for everyone. They are probably still worried for themselves and their families. Make sure you’re looking after the whole person.
2) Are My Customers Safe?
Before you reopen, make sure you’ve gone over the top on customer safety, too. The safeguards for employees will help protect customers, but add anything you can to make customers feel safe and confident doing business with you. Remember that your customers, as much as they crave normalcy, have also endured trauma during this time. Nurture their sense of safety, or they may pass you by.
3) How Will My Business Change?
One of the biggest traps a business leader can fall into is assuming everything will be the same when you reopen. It won’t be. In your planning phase, look at all possibilities for how your business will change, not just internally but in the minds of your customers. How can you communicate and operate better and more effectively? Look for any potential challenges and opportunities.
4) What Are the New Opportunities?
Your customers have new wants, needs and preferences in the wake of COVID-19. Take a look at shifting trends in your market space and identify any areas where you can offer new or enhanced products and services. How can your business embrace and thrive in the new normal?
The business outlook for COVID-19 does not have to be bleak. If a business is agile and flexible, and if leadership plans ahead, it’s possible to grow your business in this environment, creating a stable workplace and safe space for customers.