You’re likely set up to work from home. Now what? Here are 5 ways to keep your business moving forward.
We are all busy making sure our families, teams and communities are as safe as can be. As leaders, though, we also should be looking at our businesses and thinking about what’s next. We know it feels pretty uncertain out there right now. But here are a few ways you can keep moving forward.
We’ve seen some great posts about how to switch to work from home, what financial considerations you need to be taking and some on how to keep moving forward with your business. Here are some top tips but before we get into them remember first and foremost with all the adjustments, changing information and stress – be kind, be patient and compassionate with each other.
1. Take some “me” time.
Everything we are hearing indicates this will be a marathon, not a sprint. Our families and teams will continue to need our support in the coming weeks (and perhaps, months). So, don’t forget to invest in your own resilience. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, go easy on the alcohol, eat well. As we work long hours, breaks and physical exercise will be even more critical. Try to get outside for some fresh air – my late evening walks have become my favourite part of my day. This isn’t selfish; we need to fuel ourselves so we can meet this challenge head on with clear heads.
We don’t know today how long this will last, or how long it will take to return to some semblance of “normal”. Assess your burn rate and how much runway you have – and then be willing to step up and identify options that allow you to extend your runway. Build some contingency into your thinking. Think about your options in different scenarios, based on different rates of economic recovery. Just as we are seeing with public health officials, err on the side of acting early. We’ll all be called on to make tough decisions – but our team, investors, and customers need us to step up and make them, so we live to fight another day.
3. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more.
This is the time for you to LEAD. Everyone’s eyes are you on, and you are setting the tone. So be calm, be clear, be honest. Be inclusive in your communications efforts – include your team, customers, partners, investors. Be very clear with your team on what the key priorities are – what must be done NOW, vs. what can wait and is no longer a priority.
It’s best if it’s you, but if you can’t do it (because you’re focusing on another critical issue), then appoint someone on your team (with gravitas) to really OWN communications. They’ll focus on getting a consistent message out on a regular basis, across all your channels.
4. Yep, keep selling. But differently.
You may find everyone has gone quiet, internally focused on their own teams, customers and business. Or, you may find that your customers and prospects need you more than ever. Some of your prospects may still be in a position to make decisions and buy from you now. They may even be willing to help you out and accelerate their decision to support you.
“Remember – your prospects may also be ill, anxious, or dealing with an extraordinary situation of their own. Don’t pressure them – but do ask for their business, ask them to take a chance on you.”
To start, reach out to your customers, and your prospects to check in on how they are doing – from a place of empathy, not trying to press them to move forward. Be open, and ask them how you can best help them right now. (Vince and the team at Stellaralgo did a great job of this, this week – THAT’S how it’s done.)
With that insight, you’ll be able to “scrub” your pipeline. What opportunities are likely to close despite what is going on? Which are likely to be stalled? Which will fall off entirely? Be honest about the likelihood for each, as you’ll need that insight to have an accurate assessment of your burn rate and runway.
Reassess your strategy and business model – are they still workable (at least in the near term)? Has this crisis changed what market or segment is the best one for you to focus on right now? Has it changed which ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) you can target now? Do they need something different from you? Is the value you deliver the same? Does your pricing still fit?
Last, watch your tone. Please don’t be that company that seems to be trying to monetize this crisis, to benefit on the tragedy. If you have solutions that can help, then by all means offer them. Do this from a place of empathy, and service, and watch both tone and language. DO: be Zoom offering free access to K to 12 schools all while use and sales of their product soars. DON’T: be that seller on Amazon selling hand sanitizer for $50 a pop (plus shipping, argh).
5. Shore Up
Take this time to get ready for what will happen “after.”
Clean up your CRM data. Evaluate your campaigns, and think about new ones you can execute later. Revisit and refresh your sales process. Create some great content, or build those sales tools that you never had time for. Learn something new. Assess your stack. Book video meetings with folks that never have the time (but now may, if they are WFH, or in isolation).
We can make time and space for different ways of thinking about our markets, customers and businesses. Our calendars may be a bit more open. Take advantage!
If you’re keen to learn more about how you can keep selling (differently) in these challenging times, tune into the webinar that Startup Calgary and 321 Growth Academy are hosting next week.