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While many unknowns remain about the Coronavirus and the full impact-it will have on anyone’s business, one thing is clear: there is no shortage of people rallying, no shortage of businesses pushing through and no shortage of planning.
With that in mind, many business leaders and experts are sharing their insights to help those who need guidance right now. Women in Business – Leading the Way best selling author Pamela Stambaugh was recently interviewed and shared her candid responses to 6 questions that every business owner and entrepreneur need to ask about how the Coronavirus is going to impact their business.
If my economy takes a serious hit, how will it impact my customers or clients?
The serious hit is beyond business survival, which is threatening for you as well as the customers/clients. COVID-19 – or any crisis – is a time when people often let their emotions run their decision making. That will be true for your employees as well as your customers or clients. In these times, it seems counterintuitive, but generosity will be its own reward and will have you seen and experienced as a champion of what is important to them, not just what is important to you.
Understanding this impact on my customers or clients, and its affect how, when, and what they buy from me?
There is no way to predict that! In the case of COVID-19, the impact for me was to provide value at no cost. And now – several weeks later – the flow of business is starting to show up again, as emotions calm and people come back to their way of typically making decisions and have had time to assess their new normal. As a behavior change master, I know this is a long process for some, more than it is for others because different people have different comfort levels with risk. Having your own business suggests your acceptance of variability is higher than perhaps your customers/clients. Take a look at your response — are you maintaining logical processes, or are you in a panic? Panic does not help anything, and in fact, it adds to the mess.
How can I take steps today to best position my company to best and most profitably serve my customers as these shifts are happening?
Be relationship-oriented! NEVER take a client for granted! Continue to serve, continue to ask what’s needed, continue to be a good listener more than you are a talker.
Structurally, that’s more difficult. Much like seasonality can have effects on business, and companies adjust for that by having products that sell in different seasons — ice cream and hot chocolate, for instance, you may want to look at your offerings and think about what is essential and what is optional and be sure you’re providing some of each.
“What steps can I take today to mitigate the risks to my company born out of Coronavirus?”
That is a question of insurance, it’s a question of emergency preparedness, and we did not have any way to foresee a pandemic. Preserve cash, have savings, be ready for the unexpected would be the things to do looking forward. Get a line of credit when you don’t need it so that when you need it, it’s there for you. Those are suggestions for NEXT time because if you don’t have those measures already in place, then you’re likely to either go out of business or merge with another company, which is an option to consider. Ask yourself, “What are my options?” Ask others, “What are my options?” It takes a village to move through this world. Right now, just because we’re six feet apart or on Zoom doesn’t mean we aren’t still related.
“What big opportunities exist for me and my company born out of this situation?”
It is the opportunity to challenge your previous assumptions, to consider your options carefully, to go slowly and check in with others. You may need to pivot, and you certainly will want to re-think and re-tool!
Let’s fast forward to an optimistic scenario. It’s March 2021. The economy has recovered. What do you hope will have changed to make it a better economy for Women in Business?
Women will have found their voice. They will have found their inner strength. They will have endured and improved their health, their thinking, opened themselves to realize that all points of view are valuable for consideration.
Learn More about Pamela Stambaugh, President, and Founder of Accountability Pays
Website URL: www.accountabilitypays.com
Tera Jenkins is a Best Selling Author, host of Business Innovators Radio and contributor to Small Business Trendsetters and Business Innovators Magazine covering Influencers, Innovators and Trendsetters in Business, Health, Finance, and Personal Development.