Businesses are being hit hard as the nation attempts to battle against COVID-19.
Returns have halted for non-essential businesses that have done the right thing and closed their doors. Businesses that are able to continue operating remotely are losing clients, customers or subscribers left and right, contracts are being paused and services are being canceled without notice.
Communicate in Real Time:
Immediate communication is paramount as breaking news causes rapid shifts. Be on the lookout for updates that directly affect your business and your consumers’ access to it. Communication with your audience should be near-instantaneous if certain news interrupts your ability to conduct business, so be proactive with prepared messaging.
Have communication drafted and readily available to deploy at the drop of a hat. It is a lot easier to make a few edits than trying to draft an entire email when you are in reactive mode. Take the time now to organize contact info, create boilerplate messaging and communication guidelines for your team.
Avoid Vague Statements:
Constantly address any evident predicaments, no matter how difficult it might be, even if you do not have any concrete answers. Transparency is the key here, so void vague statements like, “We are working diligently to find a solution”. Spell out the specific steps your team is taking and what preparations are under way.
Create Structure and Procedures:
Organize contacts, communication schedules and contingency plans and prepare pre-packaged messaging. Start by creating a list of all stakeholders you need to communicate with during this time. Then segment your stakeholders into separate lists for customers, partners, employees, consumers, vendors, trade organizations, supply chains, etc. Next, utilize simple communication tools to streamline and organize your efforts.
There is no doubt about the tremendous amount of economic uncertainty ahead, and it is natural to want to cut corners anywhere and everywhere you can. There is, however, a difference between initiating fiscal responsibility and prematurely slashing expenses, particularly by cutting ties with contractors and services providers. These people are your tribe, and to survive this type of crisis, you are going to need a tribe that is willing to take on the battle with you.
Before deciding to pause or cancel services, have an open and honest conversation with your partners about how to mitigate current challenges together. Doing so communicates that you value the relationship and that you want to do everything you can to get through hard times together. You never know the resources they might have or unexpected skill sets they possess that could help keep your business afloat.
Stay Focused on Positive Solutions:
Shift focus from what you cannot do to what you can do. Instill a healthy mental practice of training your brain to immediately think of the possibilities as opposed to worst-case scenarios. Panic thoughts like, “I do not know how we are going to be able to stay in business” will not create the type of strategic and creative thinking that is needed right now.
Start by listing all the ways you can give value or be of assistance given your current capabilities and expertise.